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14 Nov 2010, 16:40
Daniel de Kok (38 posts)

A quick question: where would you put exercises? At the end of sections or at the end of a chapter?

I like having exercises at the end of a section, because then they immediately follow up on the material. Obviously, the downside is that the reader may get sidetracked and waste too much time easily.

14 Nov 2010, 17:06
Susannah Davidson Pfalzer (114 posts)

Hi Daniel,

I would vote for both! The best place for a whole “exercises” section is at the end of the chapter. But you can interweave small exercises throughout the chapter as part of your text, which will be very helpful for readers.

14 Nov 2010, 18:05
Travis Swicegood (117 posts)

I vote for both too.

Learning to code or a new tool or anything is a contact sport. You can read all the theory you want, but until you pick up an editor with, start using the commands, or sit down and put your fingers on the keys of a keyboard you haven’t really got anything down. Keeping a flow through the book of a examples that build on each other is great and having the occasional “You can also do this…” type thing to give people something to do is what I aim for.

You’ve given me an idea though for including “if you want to take it further” or “homework” sections at the end of each chapters which takes something that was learned and gives the reader an extra challenge if they want to tackle something else. Don’t know if it would work for the book I’m working on, but it might.


14 Nov 2010, 18:17
Daniel de Kok (38 posts)

Susannah: Thank you! Short exercises between sections, and long end-of-chapter exercises would give best of both worlds.

Travis: Indeed, something like ‘related projects’ would be great for enthusiastic readers.

14 Nov 2010, 19:12
Bob Cochran (170 posts)

I would vote for both, too. I often look for examples because if I can’t type it and see how it works for myself then I don’t understand it. More involved exercises at the end of the chapter help a lot. Some times, having a “starter” code set that the reader can build on is quite helpful. Like provide an example database that can be downloaded, then construct exercises that involve using the database. Have an Appendix with the solutions and discussion for how those solutions are achieved.

Another suggestion: a companion book of exercises. Other books do it (can’t name any off the top of my head!), you can too.

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