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by Bart Massey
A while back, a distinguished mathematics lecturer at Oxford tried a little experiment in teaching mathematics and logic to younger students. He published a series of puzzle problems in the form of a whimsical story titled _"A Tangled Tale":http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/29042_. He invited readers to pick a pseudonym and post their proposed solutions and comments as he went along.
The year was 1880. The forum was the magazine _The Monthly Packet_. The lecturer was the Rev. Charles Dodgson, better know by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll.
We will discuss Carroll's approach to learning, comparing it to those used on modern electronic fora such as IRC channels, discussion lists, wikis and web forums. I will propose several lessons the open tech community can learn from Carroll's example: the promise of the storytelling style, the power of pseudonymity, and the right way of handling wrong answers. I will also suggest several potential limitations to this approach.
21st–24th June 2011