How to do the reading

To get the most out of reading, take specific note of anything that particularly interests you. Following that spark is okay. I’d rather you find one thing that is legitimately interesting and have you look it up and go down a rabbit hole than take copious notes on how to make some deliverable that you’ll just have to look up again anyway.

Think about the connections between what you’re reading now and what we’ve read or discussed previously and what you know from your own life experience or other classes. It can be useful to do this using a compass metaphor:

  • North: What larger ideas does this connect to? Where does this come from? What is this an example of?
  • West: What follows on from this? What’s a logical outcome? What reinforces it?
  • South: What can this lead to? What are specific examples of this?
  • East: What competes with this? What is it missing? What competes with it?

These move you up and down the ladder of abstraction in an accessible way and encourage you to entertain and work with an idea without focusing on whether you like it or not.


Linking Your Thinking with Nick Milo. (2022, May 22). Vicky Zhao & Fei-Ling Tseng: The Compass of Zettelkasten Thinking: Associative Thinking Made Easy.

Ko, A. J. (2023). Informatics Teaching Guide

Students have a hard time transferring knowledge from one context to another. If we want them to do this, we have to teach it very deliberately.

Sierra, K. (2021). IAC 2021 Closing Keynote .

“Dark knowledge” is knowledge that’s impossible to talk about or teach. We only know that some people have it in certain areas. It’s why some basketball players seem to have eyes in the back of their head. To develop your own, you need to allow your brain to do what it does best: Seek out novelty, based on whatever seems interesting, and make connections in the background.