Adam Torgerson, HW2

1) Read the article: “In Defense of Cheating” by Don Norman, accessible
via: and comment
on the following issue:

do you agree or disagree with Norman’s position? Why?

I believe Norman's position is insightful, but
cannot be applied to all areas of learning. Some material is entirely
too technical to use this approach with. For example, in a math
course, no amount of discussion with others or copying other work will
provide you with an intimate understanding of the subject
matter. Example problems must be worked and theorems applied to real
situations before some subjects can be comprehended. On the other
hand, some subjects, such as the humanities, can benefit greatly from
this approach since in these subjects, as these concepts are more open
to discussion and unique viewpoints.

how does his view relate to your own experience in your school,
university, and working life (in case you have worked somewhere

His view can be supported through some of my
experiences, but again, it is not complete. Many times in an office
environment, he is exactly correct: you will be a member of your team
contributing what you can, where your experience fills the gap. In
these situations, it is better to know how to work with others,
especially how to use others to cover your weak points. And many
times, even if you do not immediately know the answer, you will have
ample time to look it up, or ask someone who does know the answer for
help. But there are also times, especially when working towards a
deadline, when you will not have enough time to look up what you do
not readily know, or those around you will be too busy to
help. Also, everyone can not just go to everyone else for help with
technicalities they do not understand. Someone, somewhere, needs to be
able to understand the subject and solve the problem. Often that means
knowing the intricacies of a system well enough to just think about
them, rather than pour over the relevant documentation

2) Visit one of the following websites and explore it as a medium for

I choose

3) Briefly discuss for your chosen website:

what did you find interesting about it?

The thing I found most interesting is the way it
proclaims to cater to kids, yet has a rather standard corporate
smelling look and feel. I don't think a child would have an easy time
using the website unless they were already familiar with sites like
these or had assistance from someone. There are confusing terms like
"Site Map", and on the kids' sign up page it says "Please read our
terms of use and privacy policy.", which are both fairly technical
documents I doubt any kid would understand. Lastly, their terms of use
dictate users provide Mamamedia with copyright priveleges to anything
they submit to the site, disallowing even posting the same thing on a
personal website. Why would a kid's website need to retain this kind
of control over the content their users provide them with?

in which way is it related to “collaboration”?

It is bringing kids together over the Internet. It
is collaborative in the message boards, chatting, jokes and
games, etc.

how does it compare with the Swiki used for our class?

The Swiki is much more flexible since anyone can
edit it. Mamamedia is largely static and any user submissions appear
to go through some kind of moderation process. That is somewhat
understandable though, since the site is targeted and kids and is open
to the greater Internet.

4) which is your favorite website / system in support of collaboration
(briefly justify your opinion)!

My favorite collaborative website is It is a place where Open Source projects
can receieve hosting for free, and includes several tools for
collaborative software development, such as forums, email lists,
version control software and web page hosting. By simply creating a
project account on Sourceforge, anyone is able to release their
project to the Open Source community, enabling other developers and
users to find it, and providing a wealth of services to many projects
which may have problems providing those services.In the spirit of Open
Source, the software which runs Sourceforge is itself Open Source,
allowing anyone who is interested to learn about the way it works and
make contributions of their own.

Another interesting feature of Sourceforge is the user profiles, which
if public can be searched by other users. So if you are a developer
with a certain skillset, you can post that on the site and other
projects' developers can access that data and contact you with
information about their project. Also, projects can post requests for
help or specific requirements or skillsets their team is looking
for. You may browse these requests, to see if one might interest
you. Since everything is Open Source and hosted locally on
Sourceforge, you can even browse the source code for a project
interactively, through the web.

5) have you ever read a book(s) / article(s) (or books) about
collaboration? if yes:

choose the most important one

The one that comes to mind is "The Cathedral
and the Bazaar", by Eric Steven Raymond.

provide title and one paragraph what you found interesting about it!

I find this essay interesting because it is one of
the first descriptions of a new software culture which was emerging at
the time it was written. It describes the Open Source development
process, and distinguishes it from more classic software development
processes. Liking traditional software development practices to a
Cathedral, since they are secretive and often more rigid in their
schedules and practices, he describes the Open Sources process as a
Bazaar, an open market in which people uniquely bring their skillset
and outlook. Eric argues that it is important to treat users of Open
Source software like developers, because often they will bring their
skillset to the project. One important way to get users is to release
the code early, and to release it often. This will allow others to
have access to the code and improve it or offer suggestions as the
development process continues, instead of waiting to redesign it with
better ideas in the next version. Of course with freely available
source code, anyone is welcome to study and contribute to an Open
Source project. Often others will bring a unique perpspective to the
project, possibly taking it in directions the original team had not
imagined or though possible. He also goes on to describe some of the
social aspects of the Open Source community and how the projects are