last minute panic!

For the past few months, Wim and I have been steadily producing videos, articles and quizzes for our online Haskell course. We have also adapted the excellent tryhaskell platform, to run our interactive exercises.

Our ‘Functional Programming in Haskell‘ course is due to launch on Monday (19 Sep) and we are starting to panic!

  • we are still generating subtitles for our videos. Subtitling is outsourced, but when we get the .txt files back, they require judicious editing. “Haskell programming” turned into “high school programming” in one subtitle file 🙂
  • our tryhaskell interactive REPL is working ok on local machines, but we want to run it on an Amazon load-balanced server. Amazon web services are incredibly fiddly to set up! We struggled with this for a week.
  • our learning platform (FutureLearn) want all content to be hosted on https, so we need an official SSL certificate. This is quite hard to set up too – for a novice like me. I have to buy a domain name, configure DNS and mail forwarding, generate a private key, generate a certificate signing request and then send this to someone reputable to sign it. A big thank you to Mythic Beasts who helped me with all this wizardry.

MOOC video preview

The Glasgow Media Production team have been very busy for the past few weeks, recording our Haskell MOOC videos. Particular thanks to Andy Sim for his hard work.

You’ll have to wait until the FutureLearn course opens on 19th Sept to watch our videos – but here’s a sneak preview just to get you in the (mooc) mood. This is a snippet from our interview with Simon Peyton Jones (youtube), where we ask him about his second favourite programming language.




Signup page goes live

Our Haskell MOOC on FutureLearn will start September 19th. The course signup page went live yesterday – and already people are enrolling for this course. Please consider signing up too – we are very much looking forward to the learning and teaching experience.

If you want to tweet about the course, please use the hashtag #FLhaskell. Please also direct other people to the course – we intend to build a massive community of learners.

We had some interesting discussions with FutureLearn about the course logo over the weekend. We wanted to use a dragon image – riffing on the ‘here be dragons‘ theme of uncharted territory in medieval map. Wim had a nice photo of a Japanese dragon sculpture, but our design team at FutureLearn jazzed this up, adding a semi-transparent layer of lambdas and binary code on top.





Filming at TNMOC

A fantastic day filming on location at the National Museum of Computing. Thanks to all the staff and volunteers for their welcome. We shot some footage in front of the programming languages timeline (based on Eric Levenez’s chart) and then had fun looking at all the old machines. I found the first two machines I owned – an Amstrad CPC and an Acorn Archimedes. We also had a peek at the Colossus  and  EDSAC rebuild projects. Delighted to spend some time with Tony Sale‘s wife, Margaret. She is one of the trustees at TNMOC.

Now I need to wait patiently till next week to see how our filming has turned out!

Glasgow TechMeetup

For the past few months, I have been drumming up publicity for our Haskell MOOC. Every time I have given a research seminar, I have started my talk with a ‘commercial break’ to advertise our MOOC. Also, I have done several special seminars dedicated to describing our MOOC. I visited special interest groups like EdLambda and SPLS. Last night, I visited the Glasgow TechMeetup folks, ate lots of pizza and did some publicity about Haskell and our course.

I was surprised to discover that there was only one functional programmer (an Elixir hacker) present. However everyone else was keen to learn more about the functional style, and apply it to mainstream languages (JavaScript , Python, and C#). So – hopefully I persuaded some of them to sign up for our course when it goes live!

The organizers recorded a video of the talk. I’ll post a link when the video is online.

Celebrity visit

Simon Peyton Jones is speaking about the history of Haskell at Glasgow. He will give a seminar at Glasgow University on 17th June. We will record his lecture and use it as part of our FutureLearn MOOC learning materials. We are going to interview Simon as well, and ask him about Haskell development and philosophy. Can you suggest any interesting questions we might ask him?