Dr Tom Kerns


HomeGroups assignment


After writing and posting your bio, choosing a HomeGroup is your first assignment.

In your HomeGroup, to say it simply, your main job will just be to make sure everyone in your group makes it through the quarter.

HomeGroups, all self selected, will consist of five or six students who will stay together throughout the whole quarter, working together in any variety of ways you like: perhaps meeting in person at the library, maybe talking by phone, email, chat or using the classroom forum designated for your HomeGroup. You can use whatever mode of communicating or studying together works best for your group. Working together in your forum in the Angel classroom will probably be the best way to start. Later in the quarter, after you start to feel more familiar with each other, you may want to share email addresses or phone numbers, or may want to arrange to meet in person somewhere.

The other folks in your HomeGroup will become valuable resources for you as the quarter progresses. Your job will be to help each other understand the various concepts introduced as the quarter progresses, and to help each other understand how those concepts are applied in the homework assignments.

The concepts and principles you’ll be learning this quarter are all very simple. Or rather, each principle alone is very simple. The problem will be that there are a whole lot of these very simple principles. Individually, though, each concept is very simple, and most will be pretty obvious. So when a new principle is being introduced, if it doesn’t appear simple and obvious to you, then it just hasn’t been presented in a way that suits your particular way of understanding things. The book, the online materials and your prof (me) will try to present the ideas as clearly and simply as possible. Sometimes it may not feel very simple to you, but the reason for that is just that it hasn’t been presented in a way that suits your particular way of understanding things. So the job of the people in your HomeGroup will be to help each other understand the basic simple concepts we’ll be learning. One group member may be able to express the simple concept in a slightly different way that will then suddenly click for you, and you’ll think: “Wow, that’s so obvious. Why didn’t they just say it that simply.”

The answer is that they (the book, the online materials, the prof) did try to say it as simply as they could, but they expressed it in a way that seemed clear and direct and simple to them but didn’t click with your particular way of thinking or seeing things. So the job of HomeGroup members will be to help each other understand all those very simple concepts. One important way you can help each other is to just say the concepts to each other in ways that seem simple and direct to you. That can be very helpful.

If/then, either/or and universal/particular are just a few examples of some simple logical concepts we'll be learning.


So the first assignment is to get yourself into HomeGroups of six people each. There won’t be any more than six people per group. In the classroom you’ll find four HomeGroup folders, numbered one through four. You can choose whichever group you would like, and whomever you would like to work with. You might want to look through the biographies again and see if there are some folks you would like to work with.

The way you choose your group is to post a message in one of those groups saying “Hi, my name is Reginald Mortimer and I would like to be a member of this homegroup.” You’ll want to make sure there aren’t already six other people who have already gotten dibs on that group.

The deadline for posting biographies is Wednesday evening at 6pm. The deadline for selecting HomeGroups is Friday at 2:00pm. After that I will simply assign folks to HomeGroups, so if you’d like to do the choosing yourself – which is preferable – please make your choices before Friday at 2pm.