Mat came up with a great idea sometime ago, on how to aid the teaching of new eterna players. The other day, he shared it with me in chat. I liked it very much and together we have worked on presenting it.
Imagine that a puzzle could be edited by two people at once, just like a google doc. I think this could be a valuable teaching aid and tool. Two players in the same puzzle. A newbie puzzle solver together with a experienced Eterna puzzles solver.
The experienced players could show what they mean with things like boosting, blocking and stacking tricks to players who needed help.
It is harder to explain how to solve a puzzle with just words and numbers. Being in the actual puzzle with mouse and markings, would make it much more intuitive giving help and receiving it.
One would be able to point out problematic areas with a mouse icon so the new player could see what will need to be changed. The colored markings could be used to point out specific nucleotides that needs changing.
The puzzle should be of public view, so others could learn from it too. It will help spread knowledge and tricks very fast. Perhaps the puzzle could have a separate chat channel for just the puzzle instructor and the new player learning. It could also be a separate chat channel for the puzzle where all could comment on what would be a good move to get a solve. This should be for tutorials and other selected puzzles.
A new player could request help with an interactive puzzle and there should be a way to inform other new players that there is a teaching session open. Both could be done via a button in the chatbox near the screenshot icon. It could be as simply as having a link posted in chat or another way could be have the open teaching sessions listed like the players online now and accessed via that list. I think only players with scores above X should be able to open teaching sessions. If we are going to have players hosting teaching sessions they should be of a mid-high skill level.
It would be nice if both experienced player and the beginner player could change nucleotides, but only on selected puzzles, very low scoring ones and only the beginner changing nucleotides on tutorials. There should be a limit on the numbers of players helping, as to not create confusion. The players doing the teaching could have different mouse icons, to show who is doing what.
Thinking back to school, it helped when the teacher did examples. So the instructing player should be able to work in the puzzle. It would also be interesting having a teaching channel for the puzzlemaker, where the teaching player could modify the puzzle to demonstrate what happens under different circumstances.
This “in the puzzle training” idea could even be used for an “example only” lab. We could show players the layout and explain fundamentals.
This could be a very useful tool to teach whole classes too. It will be a huge help for future eterna players and school teachers bringing their classes in. And thus advance science.