@isharacomix: My Dream: A MOOC that explores low-level hacking
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Barry Peddycord III
11 January 2013
@isharacomix: A low-level and historical MOOC
One of the most inspiring things I've seen in my life has been the Raspberry Pi. A low-cost, credit-card sized computer that can be used for anything from OS development to robotics. I got to go to a talk last night where a bunch of local hackers got together and showed us the cool things they've done with their Raspberry Pis. At a price of only $35, it would be awesome to see a MOOC that explores low-level computing.
Computers have become so powerful and abstract that many computer scientists can succeed in school without ever understanding what goes on under the hood. Special purpose computers have been replaced by general purpose and consumer hardware, and because there aren't really jobs for "6502 Assembly Programmers" anymore, you don't see students signing up for the classes in earnest.
The Change I would like to see?
I want to see a course that addresses these concepts - we introduce them just barely at State with our "Assembly and Software Tools" course, but I want students to explore old computing in more detail. Given the appeal of development on the web and cloud these days, lower level hackery isn't nearly as glamorous. Development on constrained devices made coders more like wizards, being able to squeeze out amazing things like games in less than 32KB of space. Not only is it interesting in its own right, it helps expose new programmers to the mindset of their predecessors.
What I'm going to do?
I've already made up my mind and decided that I want to make a MOOC on this topic. This is how I'm going to do my final project for several of the classes I'm taking this semester, developing resources and infrastructure to support this MOOC on my own, without the help of big powerhouses like Coursera. Even if it doesn't go worldwide, I just want to be able to expose it to my fellow students at State.