Software Study Journal

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tebbs-p40
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Software Study Journal

Postby tebbs-p40 » Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:21 am

I think it would be great to have a software study journal. Preach My Gospel recommends just a regular notebook to “record and organize your thoughts and impressions in a way that fits how you learn” (page x). How do most people learn/remember their impressions? I think people remember their impressions by date, topic, keyword, or scripture reference. Notebooks are not convenient for organizing the same information in multiple ways as is needed for the ideal study journal. I think that a lot of people don’t keep a study journal because (1) they don’t have an idea of how to start a good system or (2) they think that they will not have it in the future when they need it (I know I have lost some study journals). Developing a software study journal would overcome some of those concerns.

I envision a program that is organized like the study helps in the scriptures. Each topic would contain related topics, a description (like the bible dictionary entries), scripture references and scripture summaries. Also each reference would contain personal comments (like the Mathew 1:16e), cross references, and topics that it relates to. Additionally it would be great if members could browse to the topic by category (the bible dictionary only allows you to look up topics by name). In the 1960s the church developed the Seminary File Index and each student got a binder for filing information by category – I think this study journal could use the same system. Initially after installation the study journal would include all of the topics in the topical guide arranged by category, but would not include any references. The member would then add personal references and add, delete, reorganize topics as they desired.

By using this software extensively members could do like Elder Erying who “developed my own topical guide around what I thought the Lord wanted me to do. I have learned much through this process” (Ensign July 2005, 22). Members could also easily publish their own scripture commentaries if they included extensive comments on their references, or they could publish books similar to True to the Faith. Try to do that with a notebook.

What do you think of this idea? How could it be improved? Do you use a study Journal? If yes what is your system and what is the best system? What do you think stops people from having a study journal?

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Postby WelchTC » Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:17 am

This is the perfect kind of project that the community could start developing!

Tom

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Sat Jan 27, 2007 11:10 am

tebbs wrote:Also each reference would contain personal comments (like the Mathew 1:16e), cross references, and topics that it relates to.

Would this be off the OnLine Scripture API, user input and connections or both?

tebbs wrote:Additionally it would be great if members could browse to the topic by category (the bible dictionary only allows you to look up topics by name). In the 1960s the church developed the Seminary File Index and each student got a binder for filing information by category – I think this study journal could use the same system.

What are some type of categories? When I think of a catergories I think of a topic.

tebbs wrote:I envision a program that is organized like the study helps in the scriptures. Each topic would contain related topics, a description (like the bible dictionary entries), scripture references and scripture summaries.

....

Initially after installation the study journal would include all of the topics in the topical guide arranged by category, but would not include any references. The member would then add personal references and add, delete, reorganize topics as they desired.


I am assuming that the user would be able to also be able to create catergories and the such, but shouldn't they already have the references if we are giving them the defined topics, or just have the ability to import the Scripture References as an extra option?


tebbs wrote:Members could also easily publish their own scripture commentaries if they included extensive comments on their references, or they could publish books similar to True to the Faith. Try to do that with a notebook.

Where would they publish it too? Or would this be left to the user and the program just organizes their study?


tebbs wrote:What do you think stops people from having a study journal?


Really I think it is the time, but with the the scriptures being at the computer along with the journal I think that it might improve scripture study.

What you might want to do is set up a project at a free software developement collaberation site (like sourceforge.org) and then thos that want to help develop can join the project.
- David

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Postby tebbs-p40 » Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:32 pm

David - Thanks for your questions. I'll just address them in order.

1) I really don’t have experience with online API’s, so I imagined the study journal would stand alone on a PC and that users would upload their files to function with the online scriptures. I think that it would be great to see other people’s insights into the scriptures as I read them online. There obviously needs to be more thought into how this study journal and the online scriptures could be connected.

2) Under the category of character traits one could put the topics of attitude, charity, courage, gratitude, etc. Other categories may include church leadership, evils, covenant people, Godhead, Family relationships, Plan of Salvation, and priesthood. I’d love to see the topics that were mentioned in the 1960s seminary file index.

3) The reason for including the topics with no references was just so that new users could see an example of how the system is arranged and start adding to it. I guess it would probably be overkill to include all of the topics in the topical guide for that. Now I think it would probably be best to send the new software with a full example file for them to play with. I think it would be great to render the topical guide, bible dictionary and published scripture commentaries in the software’s format, but that is not necessary since the main purpose of a study journal is to record and retrieve personal insights. I think that having the ability to import, export and view multiple files is important for people sharing large chains. In one stake I was in all bishops and stake presidency developed a small topical guide for counseling with the scriptures and it would have been great to easily share that large file as it was developed.

4) By publish I really meant print it out and bind it, but printing also means that you could convert it to a pdf format. Printing is key for members to have something tangible that they have put a lot of effort into. I imagine that future missionaries could be better if they developed and printed their personal topical guide before they left. I also think that most people would prefer to reference a paper copy of their topical guide in similar teaching situations.

Do you think that people from a software development collaboration site would give this project attention since it is so limited as to what it does and who it serves? I looked at LDSOSS.org and it looks like they have a lot of other projects - do you think that there would be an LDS community that would make time for this? I want an LDS community to develop this so that the focus wouldn’t be compromised like by expanding the database so that it could work to cross-reference just any book.

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Postby cboyack-p40 » Sat Jan 27, 2007 11:39 pm

tebbs wrote:I imagined the study journal would stand alone on a PC and that users would upload their files to function with the online scriptures.


Any successful API is going to integrate mainly with a web service. Imagine a site like Flickr, where developers have used the open APIs to create numerous other tools and projects. A small minority are desktop apps, but the vast majority are web services and webapps.

I think any collaborative study journal is going to need to be web-based, allowing you to remotely save your data so you can access it when home, at work, on your laptop remotely, cell phone, etc. Users shouldn't be tied to a single computer. Sure, users can upload from a desktop client to the website, but having to do so manually will soon become tedious, leading the average user to want to simply save it locally and be done with it.

So to sum up, I think this would need to be a webapp to be successful.

My 2¢.

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Postby mkmurray » Sat Jan 27, 2007 11:43 pm

I think this is a great project idea and I would love to help in anyway I can.

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Postby tebbs-p40 » Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:28 am

cboyack wrote: I think any collaborative study journal is going to need to be web-based, allowing you to remotely save your data so you can access it when home, at work, on your laptop remotely, cell phone, etc.


I think your right - it would be great to be able to access it wherever. I wonder if the church would store everyone’s information though. I also think that to have it interact with the church's online resources would take a lot of collaboration with church headquarters. It is important to have the main features fully functional for computers that cannot connect to the web since there will always be a member who has difficulty connecting to the internet.

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:50 am

Thanks for the quick reply
tebbs wrote:1) I really don’t have experience with online API’s, so I imagined the study journal would stand alone on a PC and that users would upload their files to function with the online scriptures. I think that it would be great to see other people’s insights into the scriptures as I read them online. There obviously needs to be more thought into how this study journal and the online scriptures could be connected.

I believe the Scripture API once it comes on-line will just be a simple, send the page request that contains the query info, returns an XML formatted page with the information.

tebbs wrote:2) Under the category of character traits one could put the topics of attitude, charity, courage, gratitude, etc. Other categories may include church leadership, evils, covenant people, Godhead, Family relationships, Plan of Salvation, and priesthood. I’d love to see the topics that were mentioned in the 1960s seminary file index.

Great, I was thinking that we can also included a selection of pre-formatted category lists, since every major teacher has a different collection of them and then they could be imported.

tebbs wrote:3) The reason for including the topics with no references was just so that new users could see an example of how the system is arranged and start adding to it. I guess it would probably be overkill to include all of the topics in the topical guide for that. Now I think it would probably be best to send the new software with a full example file for them to play with. I think it would be great to render the topical guide, bible dictionary and published scripture commentaries in the software’s format, but that is not necessary since the main purpose of a study journal is to record and retrieve personal insights. I think that having the ability to import, export and view multiple files is important for people sharing large chains. In one stake I was in all bishops and stake presidency developed a small topical guide for counseling with the scriptures and it would have been great to easily share that large file as it was developed.

Just what I was thinking. Easy Import and Export of the topics, as empty (just the topic names) and full (with all the references that have been collected)

tebbs wrote:4) By publish I really meant print it out and bind it, but printing also means that you could convert it to a pdf format. Printing is key for members to have something tangible that they have put a lot of effort into. I imagine that future missionaries could be better if they developed and printed their personal topical guide before they left. I also think that most people would prefer to reference a paper copy of their topical guide in similar teaching situations.

Great, there are 3rd Party PDF printers so all that it would have to do is format it to be printed.

tebbs wrote:Do you think that people from a software development collaboration site would give this project attention since it is so limited as to what it does and who it serves? I looked at LDSOSS.org and it looks like they have a lot of other projects - do you think that there would be an LDS community that would make time for this? I want an LDS community to develop this so that the focus wouldn’t be compromised like by expanding the database so that it could work to cross-reference just any book.


Any open source community would make time for it, I wouldn't mind developing part of it, although I have only used SorceForge so I don't know much about LDSOSS.org. With SourceForge you control what changes are added to the project as the admin.
- David

tebbs-p40
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Database template

Postby tebbs-p40 » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:16 am

I’ve developed a Microsoft Access database rough draft to illustrate what I’m thinking. It is posted on the webpage:

http://webpub.byu.net/tebbsb/

I’m looking into places to host the project – right now I’m leaning toward hosting it with SourceForge. Let me know what you think I should do.

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Postby Odn-p40 » Sat Feb 10, 2007 11:51 am

Just found this thread and this software is already in development though I can't say much more than that. It should be released later this year with functionality I think everyone will be happy with. I'm not specifically trying to dissuade you from this project, but I think everything you're looking for will be there so you may want to choose to invest your time in another worthy project and wait for this to come out.

Oak


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