So I have a site over at http://andrew.harvey4.googlepages.com/ which I used to deliver my HSC notes to the public. Some time after I put it up I added Google’s Analytics bug to the page to track the number of visitors. Almost two years on from that I can now present the results of the experiment. I have found no reason to hide this data and its not a business here so I have nothing to hide. The site (which is really just one page) got (over the period 17 Feb 2008 to 21 Nov 2009) 9,614 visits, 12,918 pageviews and 6,605 visitors according to Google Analytics.
The most notable thing is that you see a spike on the day before the physics HSC exam (and then drops off as expected), there is also a gradual increase from Jul till whenever the exams are on.
As for traffic sources well search took time to increase and certainly has. In the beginning you wouldn’t find my site in the top 10 results of common queries but now I’m getting traffic from queries (and these are the top 5, but only make up 45% of all queries) like “andrew harvey”, “andrew harvey hsc”, “andrew harvey physics notes”, “andrew harvey chemisty”, and “andrew harvey physics”. The main traffic sources are 40% referer from community.boredofstudies.org, 30% direct, and 23% from Google. All referring sites actually made up 47% which was made up of this blog, various webmail services, various high school web sites, facebook.com…
96% of visitors were listed as coming from Australian IPs.
Unfortunately because I don’t run a site on a server I own (gosh I wish I could, but the cost is off putting), I don’t know the numbers of the PDF file downloads.
Here is a letter I wrote to the Board of Studies (email@example.com).
I’m not exactly sure who I should address this to, so I hope you can pass it along to the relevant person.
I am writing to ask that the Office of the Board of Studies considers licensing their syllabi and examination materials under an open content license (such as Creative Commons, GNU Free Documentation License or another open content license). Currently the Board’s course syllabi, HSC and SC examinations and Notes from the Marking Centre are licensed in a way that prevents redistribution and derivative works. The current status of the copyright licenses hiders students and teachers ability to use the syllabi and examination materials for study through sharing and collaboration of content.
For example it is to my understanding that students, teachers and anyone else cannot take all the syllabus “dot points” and annotate them with their own content, and republish this for the benefit of others. Similarly the current licence prevents use of syllabus extracts such as “dot points” for collaborative works using modern web tools (such as wiki’s).
Please note that I have published this letter on the internet (http://andrewharvey4.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/a-letter-to-the-board-of-studies-nsw). If you agree to any reply to this letter to be posted online (with credit of course), please let me know otherwise I will not publish any reply.
Thank you for you time,
(Past HSC student, Currently University Student)
I discovered this back in 2007 when I was preparing for my HSC exams.
Here is the question (from the exam paper here),
Firstly I think this question is beyond the scope of the syllabus. The only relevant dot point says,
- perspective (mechanical and measuring point)”
There is no reference to oblique drawing or oblique projection (this was the official answer).
Secondly, and more importantly the examiners say in their Notes from the Marking Centre, “This part was generally well answered; candidates had little trouble in identifying oblique and perspective projection.”
They claim that the first one is oblique projection, yet with just the information given its impossible to determine the projection used. For example the drawing given could be of a cube drawn in oblique projection or it could be of another object (shown below) in isometric projection, or some other object in some other projection. There are infinity different projections that it could have been drawn in.
The exam paper should have specified that the object in question is a cube.
This is old news but I’ve been meaning to write at least something about it.When I did my HSC back in 2007 I found that there were no comprehensive notes for my subjects that suited me. That’s no surprise to me, in fact I think most people would find that they to have not found a set of notes that already exists and suits them perfectly. So I wrote my own. I used as many different and variety of sources that I could find and I merged these together into a set of notes that I could understand and reread if I ever forgot.
Initially I released them as “all rights reserved”, with a disclaimer allowing reproduction for non-commercial use. Since then I’ve licensed them under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.
One thing I did when I was studying and writing my notes was to build upon the works of others. However this was difficult with the current copyright laws and the licensing of most of the material I used. So I had to change it enough to be new works that were not derivatives. Hopefully under this licensing of my notes I will save some others the trouble and allow them to take works that already exist such as my notes and change them or take extracts or add to them to produce and publish a set of study notes that suite their needs, without the need to be breaking the law and risk legal threats.
The license is one thing, but it’s still hard to add to my notes to make your own derivative version if I only supplied a PDF version. So to fix this problem I’ve released the source document (Microsoft Word, sorry but this is what I started it in) so that anyone can easily build upon my work.
Out of all the rights that the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) grants me, there are at least two that I think all copyright owners should not waiver (most of the time). Those being two moral rights from the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (part IX, division 2-3), the right of attribution of authorship, and the right not to have authorship of a work falsely attributed. I agree these should definitely be part of the act I’m glad they were recently added.
In the past week (more like a month now) or so I’ve had a few requests asking me how I got access to my exam scripts (i.e. my exam responses) and how they (having just completed their HSC) could access theirs. In light of this I thought I would explain why I think exam scripts should be accessible to the student.
About a year ago I made a request for my HSC examination scripts under the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW). The process for submitting a FOI request is documented by the Board here. I was granted copies of these documents[my exam scripts]. In the past people have requested things such as raw marks, I did request those too but that was denied for me. You should note that the Board may or may not grant access to these documents in the future.
Now to why I think students should have access to their scripts, which is mainly because it makes the whole process more transparent (even US President Obama is pressing this with his recent FOIA memo). There should be nothing to hide, students should be able to check what they wrote in the exam. They should be able to publish this along with how their response was marked so that it can be scrutinised and studied by future students. I’m not convinced that this is the best study approach in the long term but that is no excuse for disallowing access to scripts. It would also be great if students could also find out how their questions were marked on a question by question basis.
However I can see reasons why the Board would not want to release exam scripts. It is time and money consuming. Even if the process is automated it still costs money and some time. For this I would accept why the Board would charge a reasonable fee for giving you your scripts.
The Board of Studies is doing the right thing here, they did allow my FOI request so I cannot argue that they are hiding them. Kudos to them for this. I hope two things to happen now, more people become aware that they can get their scripts, and the Board continuing to allow these requests.
Only a couple of days ago the new Industrial Technology Syllabus to be implemented for the HSC in 2010 was released. It appears they finally weaved out a lot of the bugs making it much clearer and much less ambiguous. You wouldn’t think it would take them six years to do this, but turns out it did. The syllabus was not redone, rather just amended.
As for the changes… Well I guess the biggest change is the removal the Building and Construction, and Plastics Industries. I can understand the removal of Building and Construction as there is already a Construction VET course available, it’s always a shame to see a subject go so bad news for plastics enthusiasts, although it’s understandable when it gathers next to zero candidates each year.
The four sections of the course,
A. Industry study
B. Design and management
C. Workplace communication
D. Industry-specific content and production
have been changed to,
A. Industry Study
B. Design, Management and Communication
D. Industry Related Manufacturing Technology.
They have also separated a lot of the preliminary content from the HSC content. This makes a lot of sense previously it appeared that you were supposed to learn the exact same content in both years. Also they have listed “Students learn about” and “Students learn to” dot points for the Major Work.
The most interesting (to me at least) changes were to that of the Graphics Industries specific content (note that they are now called technologies (collectively as focus areas) rather than industries e.g. you would now say the focus area Graphics Technologies). I support many, if not all of these changes although you get the feeling that this is what the original syllabus writers meant to be in the syllabus but simply forgot about and only now noticed that it was missing. I say this because much of the content from the previous HSC exams was based on material and content that was absent from the syllabus but has now been placed in the 2010 one. The order and categorising of this material has been redone and is much cleaner and nicer now.
For instance we now have oblique drawings (with references to cabinet and cavalier) mentioned in the syllabus along with,
- A mention of architectural drawings including plans, elevations, sections, footing details, plumbing, electrical and roofing details, council requirements, site plans, set backs, shadow diagrams, landscape plans and colour palette and material selection. Previously they just said we need to know architectural styles and details without any elaboration.
- axonometric projection
- presentation techniques now include ‘fly-thoughs’ and prototypes
- and equipment includes, both computer software packages AND mechanical drafting equipment rather than just either, scanners, electronic storage mediums such as external hard drives and flash drives (although they could have mentioned the common practice of storing files centrally on a file server in one place for many people to access, which is the much more common practice in the workplace), display folders, appropriate sized paper and stationary.
The Multimedia Technologies section also is much better now. It now contains the study of different types of fonts, formatting features, page layout elements for publications, features of graphics such as file formats and resolution, methods of obtaining images, image manipulation and editing, audio features such as sampling rate, file formats, analogue vs. digital, video features like frame rate compression, editing, compositing, animation techniques both 2D and 3D with references to motion capture, virtual reality, along with the world wide web, intellectual property, and the list goes on and on… Don’t just go by my description here go read the syllabus document, you will be very pleased with the changes or should I say additions.
If I were doing my HSC again, I know for sure I would have a very hard time choosing between multimedia and graphics technologies. They used to be together as one industry back pre 1999, although I must admit it is too much for someone who has done neither before to master both as one 2U subject. I wish you could do both, but they can’t allow that because the industry study, design and communication parts would be too common.
As for the common sections (Industry Study, Design and Management and Communication) the improvements here were good too with much more detail. But it’s not just the fact that the document is more detailed, but these details are what you would expect. They are in the right direction and are things that should be included. The Design section reinforces that the major project is not just about production of something, but the design aspects that go into it. The only problem I currently have is where is this design meant to be applied. It should be in the most obvious place, but the way the syllabus refers to production makes this slightly unclear. Timber Products and Furniture Technologies would look at the design aspects of the timber products or furniture product that they were producing. But if you were doing Graphics Technologies, your product is a series of drawings and perhaps related media such as flythoughs, etc. Do you look at the design of these drawings, I would say not, rather you should apply design techniques to the thing you are drawing, whether that be a product, building or a mechanical system. I don’t think this has been cleared up.
I haven’t been up to date with all things related here, so I may have missed some things. But one thing is for sure that I congratulate the Board for their work on this, and I’m sure many HSC students will benefit immensely from this revised syllabus. The syllabus is in much better shape now. As for the content, well I could argue that the material from the stage 5 graphics technology syllabus is more advanced than that of the stage 6 syllabus, and this should not happen. But as long as the stage 5 course is not a prerequisite, and as long as you have less time to cover industry specific content from the stage 6 course than that of the stage 5 course, there is little that can be done.
(PS. As a self advertisment, my 2007 HSC Industrial Technology Graphics Industries Major Work in its entirety can be downloaded from my site here, http://andrew.harvey4.googlepages.com/)