Higher Education - How can we make it suck a little less?

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    hippofant wrote:
    As someone who has a liberal arts b.a. (double English and history) and is currently taking sophomore/junior-level CS courses for work-related reasons, the honest answer is that the difficulty of the coursework depends with the professor. Upper level history courses were generally the hardest I've experienced - the reading and writing load was brutal. English courses do tend to be easier, but I had some shockingly hard professors in that major. CS was the most unpredictable, as the projects can go very quickly or take forever.

    The CS courses have had the widest range of teacher quality. I've had some of the best classroom instruction I have ever seen in a CS course, but I've also seen amazingly hostile and indifferent professors.

    If there is one trait that unites the worst teachers, it's that they play to the people who came with a lot of skills - working professionals, bedroom programmers, etc. I had a professor in an introductory level class that assumed the entire class already knew how to program and assigned the equivalent of programming puzzles. You could tell that he was shocked when the class finally revolted.

    On this CS aside, CS education, in general, is a clusterfuck. High school CS students here do programming basically equivalent to first-year CS, or even harder depending on the school. One grade 12 student I was tutoring in computer science was working with data structures and algorithms that I'd guesstimate to be roughly equivalent to second-year CS. But admission to CS programs don't require any high school CS credits - partially because they're relatively new programs that aren't universally offered. The rates at which CS programs are offered in high school are rather low, particularly in the United States where they can be considered pathetic. For 2010 in Georgia, compared to the number of students who took AP Calculus, fewer than 10% took AP CS; this means that first-year CS is mired in introductory material, and has been for years even as the field itself becomes ever more complex. Furthermore, since computing and the actual SCIENCE of computers are merged together in public perception, this means that first-year CS has some of the lowest retention rates of all first-year programs.

    Many universities have responded to this by introducing graduated entries into CS programs, depending on your prior skill level, as well as introducing a plethora of "CS for scientists", "CS for mathematicians", "CS for economists" etc, courses. But ultimately, I believe the problem is structural. First-year CS is too broad a tent; tries to do too much with too little. What CS education really needs is a holistic overhaul and a long-term reframing of societal expectations.

    Me? I was bored out of my mind in first year CS. "You have a robot that can only turn right. You need it to turn left! How do you do it?"

    When I was in Computer Engineering, I was amazed the number of people who'd decided to do this for a living having never programmed once in their life before getting into the program.

    And yeah, CS education is all over the place. There's alot of people teaching it at the high school level who just ... shouldn't be. Because it's not always easy to find a real CS teacher. And then you get good ones, like my teacher in OAC who's first action was to chuck out the entire curriculum because "You'll never need this bullshit, I'm gonna teach you kids Java cause you'll need to know this".

  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    When I was in Computer Engineering, I was amazed the number of people who'd decided to do this for a living having never programmed once in their life before getting into the program.

    And yeah, CS education is all over the place. There's alot of people teaching it at the high school level who just ... shouldn't be. Because it's not always easy to find a real CS teacher. And then you get good ones, like my teacher in OAC who's first action was to chuck out the entire curriculum because "You'll never need this bullshit, I'm gonna teach you kids Java cause you'll need to know this".

    A lot of first-year CS programs here have moved away from Java to Scheme or Python. And I'm not so sure about that... from an employment standpoint, I think Java is much more useful, because it's so widely used in IT - particularly web-related stuff - and most people already have Java installed on their computers as opposed to Python. It's a fairly interesting debate, personally, particularly because programming languages are artificial constructs.

  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class Traitor Smoke-filled roomRegistered User regular
    I took Turbo Pascal in High School. I was very briefly a CS major, but then I learned I could do almost everything I wanted in VB (the lazy man's programming language), and simultaneously discovered that I like computers, and want to continue liking them.

  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    I took computer science all four years of highschool, starting with VB the first year to C++ the next 3, barely touching on Java. Though I did also take a few web development courses at the time (I went to a pretty good magnet highschool, especially for ~2000), where I was exposed to HTML, php, java, etc..

    I ended up not going into computer science in college though, instead into Mech. E. I hated the idea of sitting in front of a computer programming shit for the rest of my life... turns out I do a lot of programming even as an engineer. Damn CFD!

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  • PopeTiberiiPopeTiberii Registered User
    edited July 2011
    I ended up taking our high school's A+ Certification course, along with the graphic design and web development courses. I thought it was really neat at the time (2000 or so) that we could get the certification through the high school. For programming, though, we only had an Intro to C+ Programming course which was a joke. Of course, then I ended up going to a for-profit for graphic design and screwing myself out of the traditional college experience everyone talks about.

    Edit: Off-topic, but what the heck is up with my sigpic? I haven't played TF2 since March, but it says I've played 52 hours in the past two weeks.

    PopeTiberii on
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  • SavdecSavdec Registered User
    edited July 2011
    devCharles wrote:
    There's a really weird belief that keeps popping up in this thread that the people who major in liberal arts are lazy people. This is really, really not true. A liberal arts major in English or Philosophy or History CAN have just as rigorous an education as an engineering student. The caveat is that liberal arts student has to be willing to work hard and select for herself the most challenging and wide-ranging curriculum they can find, in addition to performing any extra-curricular activities. It's (sadly) really easy for someone to not challenge themselves and go through their education just go get by.

    I'd say there are lazy people in all majors, but it's substantially more difficult to be lazy in majors that straight up require more time. Can any degree program be as rigorous as engineering? Possibly. In terms of sheer quantity of time, I don't doubt it. I could see a liberal arts class require you to be able to have to just read and remember an absolute metric shitton. I just don't see why most liberal arts students would want to overly challenge themselves when the degree they get is the same as people who are going through the same major in a drunken haze, especially when the challenge of taking a wide range curriculum means they're taking classes they aren't exactly interested in, which seems to negate the whole reason of going into a potentially less lucrative field because you're looking to do something you want to enjoy.

    I guess I'm not interested in the lazy student who is just there to get the degree. The university would ideally make sure that the 'drunken haze' kids don't get by. We shouldn't have to even discuss them.

    Sorry. This came off as snappy, but the college has inherent worth beyond the hard sciences. This is not to say science isnt awesome; it is, in fact, fuckawesome. A degree is more than the piece of paper. The curriculum taught during said degree makes it more valuable, and is Why people give a shit where you go to school. It isn't all classist name dropping.

    Savdec on
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  • L|amaL|ama Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote:
    L|ama wrote:
    The person doing the explaining, generally. I could try and explain what I know about quantum mechanics to you in half an hour, but I would probably be pretty frustrated afterwards.
    When you are explaining something, an "acceptable" explanation ought not be one that you are happy with but was not understood by the other party. Your criterion devolves to "I don't like explaining things to people outside my field".

    That isn't a terribly effective way to approach communication.
    It's a good thing that isn't even close to what I said then, isn't it? If the other party makes it known that they didn't understand it, then I won't be satisfied. My criterion doesn't reduce to some ivory tower bullshit unless you interpret it in an incredibly goosey borderline insulting manner. Which is also not an effective way to approach communication.


    If you were trying to make a point about a way of thinking you disagree with, go ahead and say it instead of trying to push someone into saying they think that way. It's very, very annoying to do the other.
    I've even been to classes where professors vocally expressed the idea that people shouldn't think of writing their papers specifically for the professor, and more for a general audience. Or at least to think of it that way when writing.

    Pretty much every maths & physics lecturer has basically said "pretend I know nothing about this topic when writing explanations". It's good because a) if the student assumes the marker knows something and doesn't explain it, the student isn't showing whether they understand it or not and b) when you're not just being assessed, people who don't know what you're talking about are the ones you want to be able to communicate with anyway.

    My electromagnetism lecturer this semester has questions in the weekly assignments that are pretty much just "explain what this equation means and why it works" with strong emphasis on clarity and conciseness, every lab course I've had has emphasised that they don't give a shit about word count and just want you to explain things properly (except the one russian guy who marked purely based on formatting). The point I'm trying to make is that I don't think there's much of a difference between liberal arts and hard sciences when it comes to general aims for writing, or at least there shouldn't be.

  • XrddXrdd Registered User regular
    hippofant wrote:
    A lot of first-year CS programs here have moved away from Java to Scheme or Python. And I'm not so sure about that... from an employment standpoint, I think Java is much more useful, because it's so widely used in IT - particularly web-related stuff - and most people already have Java installed on their computers as opposed to Python. It's a fairly interesting debate, personally, particularly because programming languages are artificial constructs.

    You're not going to learn about functional programming with Java and both Scheme and to a lesser extent Python are much better teaching languages anyway.
    Also:
    saggio wrote:
    Repeat after me: higher education is not job training. Higher education is not job training. Higher education is not job training.

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    When I was in Computer Engineering, I was amazed the number of people who'd decided to do this for a living having never programmed once in their life before getting into the program.

    Isn't figuring out what you would like to do for a career part of college? I know my high school never offered actual programming courses.

  • iammattpleeveeiammattpleevee Registered User regular
    So here is my college situation and plan.

    I haven't started yet but I intend to in the fall. I had a really shitty gpa in high school so here is my plan.

    Got to the local community college, get a EMT/paramedic thing worked out so I can have a job through college and to fall back on while also raising my GPA.

    After that I would like to go out of state do organic chemistry, I'm not sure how good the market is for that though.


    I need your guys help to actually formulate that into some sort of plan and yeah make it so i can make this post again with more detail.

    I feel like i am horrible at communicating my thoughts on the interwebs.

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  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class Traitor Smoke-filled roomRegistered User regular
    I really wish that a Logic course was required. Maybe replace something else, I don't know (I need four PE classes to graduate). It seems like I encounter logic failures pretty constantly, even from college grads. I would love to take a class myself, but since I have all my electives already I have no excuse to do so. I've pretty much had to study it on my own.

  • acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Registered User regular
    a coworker of mine sometimes tells the story of one of his former roommates who was also a CS student who had never owned a personal computer and never for the whole degree program. He graduated from Computer Science without ever owning a computer. Clearly he had no issue with living in the computer labs or something.

    GT: Acidboogie PSNid: AcidLacedPenguiN
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    L|ama wrote:
    spool32 wrote:
    L|ama wrote:
    The person doing the explaining, generally. I could try and explain what I know about quantum mechanics to you in half an hour, but I would probably be pretty frustrated afterwards.
    When you are explaining something, an "acceptable" explanation ought not be one that you are happy with but was not understood by the other party. Your criterion devolves to "I don't like explaining things to people outside my field".

    That isn't a terribly effective way to approach communication.
    It's a good thing that isn't even close to what I said then, isn't it? If the other party makes it known that they didn't understand it, then I won't be satisfied. My criterion doesn't reduce to some ivory tower bullshit unless you interpret it in an incredibly goosey borderline insulting manner. Which is also not an effective way to approach communication.


    If you were trying to make a point about a way of thinking you disagree with, go ahead and say it instead of trying to push someone into saying they think that way. It's very, very annoying to do the other.

    Hah, we're definitely talking past each other here. When you said that acceptable communication meant acceptable to you, it was (in my mind) in the context of:
    VishNub wrote:
    Syrdon wrote:
    Demerdar wrote:
    This is true. You have to make those assumptions anyway, otherwise you would have to write a whole book on the subject in order to add in your 20 "new" pages of research.
    That's exactly the problem though. If you wanted to talk about that new research to a family member who isn't familiar with the subject you have your choice of being wrong (but close), effectively teaching them that book, speak gibberish, or being god's gift to communication.

    Most of the scientists/engineers I know have been doing what they do for long enough that they no longer realize that they've actually managed to pick a and c when they only meant to get a, because of how much background is needed to understand the subject. So they end up looking like they're incapable of communicating when they were simply forgetting how many years of intensive learning they had to go through.

    I agree entirely with this. Sometimes it's really not possible to put things in simple terms, especially while maintaining an acceptable level of accuracy. God's various gifts excepted, of course.

    These folks are saying that it's sometimes impossible to give an explanation that is acceptable to both you and the other party... I think. None of them answered my question. It certainly sounded like mutually exclusive choices were the only ones available in their conception, and I do disagree with that. I don't think you need to be God's gift to communication to get across a complex idea in accurate and understandable terms.

    Again, in the context of earlier comments that presented the options as being mutually exclusive, you picked "acceptable to me", which is why I answered as I did.


  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    So here is my college situation and plan.

    I haven't started yet but I intend to in the fall. I had a really shitty gpa in high school so here is my plan.

    Got to the local community college, get a EMT/paramedic thing worked out so I can have a job through college and to fall back on while also raising my GPA.

    After that I would like to go out of state do organic chemistry, I'm not sure how good the market is for that though.

    FUNDAMENTAL FLAW: You'd better be absolutely sure that any EMT certification you get will be honored by the other state's regulatory agency.

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    I'm really going to need you to back this up in some way. In what way do social standings exist in a modernized western country, that aren't purely economic divisions?

    The hell I'd know. I'm coming from it from an Eastern background and one who knows little if anything at all (or wants to) about how Western societies work or social standings.

    Ok? So where DO you live, China? India? North Korea? Do you make posts just to sound snarky?

  • Viscount IslandsViscount Islands [INSERT SoKo HERE] Registered User regular
    Skoal Cat wrote:
    sanstodo wrote:
    These threads are just infinitely depressing, especially as I will begin attending college this September. And I'm not heading into math or science either. I am heading in somewhat begrudgingly.


    Work hard, get good grades, and network well. You can't make your life perfect by doing well but you can throw up huge roadblocks if you fuck up, particularly if you plan on going to graduate school. I have to tell some students with low GPAs that graduate programs will likely filter out their applications.

    Use your time to find out what you love to do and then do it well. Read and write as much as you can. Explore various disciplines and talk to everyone. Sleep (seriously). Eat well. Get help when you need it. Read and write some more. Show up for things, just to see what they're like. Be curious and compassionate and kind.

    Lastly, read and write even more. Nothing, and I mean nothing, builds your cognitive ability and knowledge base more than reading and writing.

    You will never have as much time in your life as you will in college. I was able to do more than an average load of classes and be involved in several productions (theatre major) at the same time. I don't even have time for my own productions right now outside of work and my home life.

    note: I do work in the industry, so its not like I'm in a creative void, but seriously, no time here to explore my own shit.

    I like these posts, because Muse pretty much took the words out of my mouth.

    Also I'm an English major (dun dun)

    I'm considering a minor in Biology or even doing a Double Major though.

    I want to do with you
    What spring does with the cherry trees.
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Quid wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    When I was in Computer Engineering, I was amazed the number of people who'd decided to do this for a living having never programmed once in their life before getting into the program.

    Isn't figuring out what you would like to do for a career part of college? I know my high school never offered actual programming courses.

    I don't think advocating spending shitloads of money to find out if you even like something you've never done before is a smart idea. Especially with Programming which is extremely hit or miss with people.

    You don't have to know alot about a subject, but you should at least know SOMETHING about it.

  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    Quid wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    When I was in Computer Engineering, I was amazed the number of people who'd decided to do this for a living having never programmed once in their life before getting into the program.

    Isn't figuring out what you would like to do for a career part of college? I know my high school never offered actual programming courses.

    I don't think advocating spending shitloads of money to find out if you even like something you've never done before is a smart idea. Especially with Programming which is extremely hit or miss with people.

    You don't have to know alot about a subject, but you should at least know SOMETHING about it.

    How do you know what you want to do if you are not exposed to it first? It's kind of a catch-22. Most of the time you are exposed to new topics in school (mostly college, since highschools are more generalized to math, english, etc..). I know when I went in I had no idea what I wanted to do, I was good at math and whatnot so I decided to go into engineering. Turns out I really started liking it 2-3 years into the program. Sometimes you just have to dive into it, even if it is risky.

    You have to want to be in college though, and you'll find out pretty quickly if you do not want to be a programmer, or a writer, or an engineer. Hell, that's why the first two years or so of any degree program has a lot of general education classes that transfer between majors quite easily.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    Quid wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    When I was in Computer Engineering, I was amazed the number of people who'd decided to do this for a living having never programmed once in their life before getting into the program.

    Isn't figuring out what you would like to do for a career part of college? I know my high school never offered actual programming courses.

    I don't think advocating spending shitloads of money to find out if you even like something you've never done before is a smart idea. Especially with Programming which is extremely hit or miss with people.

    You don't have to know alot about a subject, but you should at least know SOMETHING about it.

    How do you know what you want to do if you are not exposed to it first? It's kind of a catch-22. Most of the time you are exposed to new topics in school (mostly college, since highschools are more generalized to math, english, etc..). I know when I went in I had no idea what I wanted to do, I was good at math and whatnot so I decided to go into engineering. Turns out I really started liking it 2-3 years into the program. Sometimes you just have to dive into it, even if it is risky.

    You have to want to be in college though, and you'll find out pretty quickly if you do not want to be a programmer, or a writer, or an engineer. Hell, that's why the first two years or so of any degree program has a lot of general education classes that transfer between majors quite easily.

    It's not a catch-22 at all because you don't need to go to school to be exposed to the very basics of something.

    If you go out of your way to apply and gain admittance to a program and drop a shitload of money on it, you can easily do the much lesser work of, say, looking the subject up on the internet first.

  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    Quid wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    When I was in Computer Engineering, I was amazed the number of people who'd decided to do this for a living having never programmed once in their life before getting into the program.

    Isn't figuring out what you would like to do for a career part of college? I know my high school never offered actual programming courses.

    I don't think advocating spending shitloads of money to find out if you even like something you've never done before is a smart idea. Especially with Programming which is extremely hit or miss with people.

    You don't have to know alot about a subject, but you should at least know SOMETHING about it.

    How do you know what you want to do if you are not exposed to it first? It's kind of a catch-22. Most of the time you are exposed to new topics in school (mostly college, since highschools are more generalized to math, english, etc..). I know when I went in I had no idea what I wanted to do, I was good at math and whatnot so I decided to go into engineering. Turns out I really started liking it 2-3 years into the program. Sometimes you just have to dive into it, even if it is risky.

    You have to want to be in college though, and you'll find out pretty quickly if you do not want to be a programmer, or a writer, or an engineer. Hell, that's why the first two years or so of any degree program has a lot of general education classes that transfer between majors quite easily.

    It's not a catch-22 at all because you don't need to go to school to be exposed to the very basics of something.

    If you go out of your way to apply and gain admittance to a program and drop a shitload of money on it, you can easily do the much lesser work of, say, looking the subject up on the internet first.

    I'm not seeing how looking up "computer programming" on wikipedia will give you an accurate description of what it is actually like to program. And who says that the major you declare going into college is the major you are going to graduate with? You're dropping money on a college education, whatever you end up graduating with. I can see your argument if you are attending a technical school or something, but most universities have a huge breadth of majors to choose from.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    Quid wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    When I was in Computer Engineering, I was amazed the number of people who'd decided to do this for a living having never programmed once in their life before getting into the program.

    Isn't figuring out what you would like to do for a career part of college? I know my high school never offered actual programming courses.

    I don't think advocating spending shitloads of money to find out if you even like something you've never done before is a smart idea. Especially with Programming which is extremely hit or miss with people.

    You don't have to know alot about a subject, but you should at least know SOMETHING about it.

    How do you know what you want to do if you are not exposed to it first? It's kind of a catch-22. Most of the time you are exposed to new topics in school (mostly college, since highschools are more generalized to math, english, etc..). I know when I went in I had no idea what I wanted to do, I was good at math and whatnot so I decided to go into engineering. Turns out I really started liking it 2-3 years into the program. Sometimes you just have to dive into it, even if it is risky.

    You have to want to be in college though, and you'll find out pretty quickly if you do not want to be a programmer, or a writer, or an engineer. Hell, that's why the first two years or so of any degree program has a lot of general education classes that transfer between majors quite easily.

    It's not a catch-22 at all because you don't need to go to school to be exposed to the very basics of something.

    If you go out of your way to apply and gain admittance to a program and drop a shitload of money on it, you can easily do the much lesser work of, say, looking the subject up on the internet first.

    I'm not seeing how looking up "computer programming" on wikipedia will give you an accurate description of what it is actually like to program.

    No, but looking up "Computer Programming" on Google will quickly lead to non-wikipedia sources that will.

    Seriously, this isn't even an obscure subject for the internet. It's like literally the easiest thing to learn about with an internet connection.
    And who says that the major you declare going into college is the major you are going to graduate with? You're dropping money on a college education, whatever you end up graduating with. I can see your argument if you are attending a technical school or something, but most universities have a huge breadth of majors to choose from.

    Yes, and the further from what you started with you go to, the more money you are wasting. Which was my point.

    I mean really, since when was dropping at the very least hundreds of dollars on something you don't even know anything about not a silly idea?

  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    I'm really going to need you to back this up in some way. In what way do social standings exist in a modernized western country, that aren't purely economic divisions?

    The hell I'd know. I'm coming from it from an Eastern background and one who knows little if anything at all (or wants to) about how Western societies work or social standings.

    So what do you have to add to the conversation that's primarily focused on a very Western issue, especially if you have no interest in how Western societies work. Y U SO INSULAR?

  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    Xrdd wrote:
    hippofant wrote:
    A lot of first-year CS programs here have moved away from Java to Scheme or Python. And I'm not so sure about that... from an employment standpoint, I think Java is much more useful, because it's so widely used in IT - particularly web-related stuff - and most people already have Java installed on their computers as opposed to Python. It's a fairly interesting debate, personally, particularly because programming languages are artificial constructs.

    You're not going to learn about functional programming with Java and both Scheme and to a lesser extent Python are much better teaching languages anyway.
    Also:
    saggio wrote:
    Repeat after me: higher education is not job training. Higher education is not job training. Higher education is not job training.

    Sure, but the question is, what's the goal of first-year computer science? A student in another program takes a first-year CS course and learns Scheme. How is that student now better off? (S)he has gained little practical knowledge.

    Similarly, it's one thing for saggio to assert that higher education is not job training, but where the hell else are you going to get programmers? My friend at a bank is working with a new programmer hire from a local college... who doesn't know how to write while loops. Srsly?

    My point is that university CS programs are trying to fill... well, at least three different roles... and they're struggling to deal with this lack of direction, as are the students within.

  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    Quid wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    When I was in Computer Engineering, I was amazed the number of people who'd decided to do this for a living having never programmed once in their life before getting into the program.

    Isn't figuring out what you would like to do for a career part of college? I know my high school never offered actual programming courses.

    I don't think advocating spending shitloads of money to find out if you even like something you've never done before is a smart idea. Especially with Programming which is extremely hit or miss with people.

    You don't have to know alot about a subject, but you should at least know SOMETHING about it.

    How do you know what you want to do if you are not exposed to it first? It's kind of a catch-22. Most of the time you are exposed to new topics in school (mostly college, since highschools are more generalized to math, english, etc..). I know when I went in I had no idea what I wanted to do, I was good at math and whatnot so I decided to go into engineering. Turns out I really started liking it 2-3 years into the program. Sometimes you just have to dive into it, even if it is risky.

    You have to want to be in college though, and you'll find out pretty quickly if you do not want to be a programmer, or a writer, or an engineer. Hell, that's why the first two years or so of any degree program has a lot of general education classes that transfer between majors quite easily.

    It's not a catch-22 at all because you don't need to go to school to be exposed to the very basics of something.

    If you go out of your way to apply and gain admittance to a program and drop a shitload of money on it, you can easily do the much lesser work of, say, looking the subject up on the internet first.

    I'm not seeing how looking up "computer programming" on wikipedia will give you an accurate description of what it is actually like to program.

    No, but looking up "Computer Programming" on Google will quickly lead to non-wikipedia sources that will.

    Seriously, this isn't even an obscure subject for the internet. It's like literally the easiest thing to learn about with an internet connection.
    And who says that the major you declare going into college is the major you are going to graduate with? You're dropping money on a college education, whatever you end up graduating with. I can see your argument if you are attending a technical school or something, but most universities have a huge breadth of majors to choose from.

    Yes, and the further from what you started with you go to, the more money you are wasting. Which was my point.

    I mean really, since when was dropping at the very least hundreds of dollars on something you don't even know anything about not a silly idea?

    Because reading about subjects on the internet will not give you any sense of what it is actually like to study them. I'm glad that you already knew what you wanted to do going into whatever program you are in, but it's really not that simple for a lot of people. You can switch majors after the first year (hell, even the second sometimes) and still graduate on time without "wasting" more money.

    y6GGs3o.gif
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Demerdar wrote:
    Because reading about subjects on the internet will not give you any sense of what it is actually like to study them.

    No, you are wrong. It won't give you a complete sense of what the subject is actually like, but it will give you some.

    This is like being an English major without ever having read a book.
    I'm glad that you already knew what you wanted to do going into whatever program you are in, but it's really not that simple for a lot of people. You can switch majors after the first year (hell, even the second sometimes) and still graduate on time without "wasting" more money.

    Depends on what switch you are talking about and on the university. It's often not as simple as you are trying to pretend.

    shryke on
  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    Could we... with the quote tree?

  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    No, you are wrong.

    Cool.

    y6GGs3o.gif
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    No, you are wrong.

    Cool.

    I see you've figured out how to post meaningless non-responses.

    Maybe read the whole post next time.

  • XrddXrdd Registered User regular
    hippofant wrote:
    Sure, but the question is, what's the goal of first-year computer science? A student in another program takes a first-year CS course and learns Scheme. How is that student now better off? (S)he has gained little practical knowledge.
    Well, I'd say that if they are incapable of picking up a different language from the one that they were taught in, they would have learned nothing of value either way. By the way, during my first semester of university here in Germany, both functional programming and object-oriented design was covered. My objection isn't even necessary to teaching Java, it's to picking your teaching tools solely based on what's currently popular.
    Similarly, it's one thing for saggio to assert that higher education is not job training, but where the hell else are you going to get programmers? My friend at a bank is working with a new programmer hire from a local college... who doesn't know how to write while loops. Srsly?
    So... he graduated from college, presumably with a degree of some sort in computer science, without a basic understanding of control structures? Yeah, I'd say that college has problems that go far beyond what languages they use.
    My point is that university CS programs are trying to fill... well, at least three different roles... and they're struggling to deal with this lack of direction, as are the students within.
    I'm not sure what those three roles would be, but I get the impression that you think that "code monkey mill" is one of them. I disagree with that.

  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Xrdd wrote:
    hippofant wrote:
    Sure, but the question is, what's the goal of first-year computer science? A student in another program takes a first-year CS course and learns Scheme. How is that student now better off? (S)he has gained little practical knowledge.
    Well, I'd say that if they are incapable of picking up a different language from the one that they were taught in, they would have learned nothing of value either way. By the way, during my first semester of university here in Germany, both functional programming and object-oriented design was covered. My objection isn't even necessary to teaching Java, it's to picking your teaching tools solely based on what's currently popular.
    Similarly, it's one thing for saggio to assert that higher education is not job training, but where the hell else are you going to get programmers? My friend at a bank is working with a new programmer hire from a local college... who doesn't know how to write while loops. Srsly?
    So... he graduated from college, presumably with a degree of some sort in computer science, without a basic understanding of control structures? Yeah, I'd say that college has problems that go far beyond what languages they use.
    My point is that university CS programs are trying to fill... well, at least three different roles... and they're struggling to deal with this lack of direction, as are the students within.
    I'm not sure what those three roles would be, but I get the impression that you think that "code monkey mill" is one of them. I disagree with that.

    You seem to be of the mind that I am prescribing that we teach Java. I am not. I am simply outlining the issue at hand for many CS faculties as I've ascertained myself in conversations with various first-year CS professors. They struggle with trying to strike a balance between providing practical, utilizable skills in first-year CS, preparing students for long-term computer science study (namely engaging students in theoretical computer science topics and providing them the background to do so), and trying to produce serviceable programmer types (namely teaching them programming skills, such as recursion, object-oriented design, pointers and references). Various meetings and discussions I've borne witness to have debated the choice of 1st-year programming language within this context.

    I don't even know what you're disagreeing with. The fact that university CS programs feel the need to try and serve, in some degree, as a code monkey mill? I don't know how you can deny that, quite frankly.

    hippofant on
  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    shryke wrote:
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    No, you are wrong.

    Cool.

    I see you've figured out how to post meaningless non-responses.

    Maybe read the whole post next time.

    I'm saying you can go to college without knowing exactly what you want to do, without spending any more money than the guy who went in to get a specific degree. Furthermore, I am also saying that reading about a subject on the internet is not going to tell you if you are going to be any good at it, or even enjoy it. You say it is a waste of money to even start college without having a firm idea of what you want to do out the gate, I'm saying otherwise. But thanks for being both condescending and insulting at making your points.

    Therefore:

    "Cool"

    y6GGs3o.gif
  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    shryke wrote:
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    No, you are wrong.

    Cool.

    I see you've figured out how to post meaningless non-responses.

    Maybe read the whole post next time.

    He quoted the most substantive part of your post.

  • VishNubVishNub Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote:
    VishNub wrote:
    Syrdon wrote:
    Demerdar wrote:
    This is true. You have to make those assumptions anyway, otherwise you would have to write a whole book on the subject in order to add in your 20 "new" pages of research.
    That's exactly the problem though. If you wanted to talk about that new research to a family member who isn't familiar with the subject you have your choice of being wrong (but close), effectively teaching them that book, speak gibberish, or being god's gift to communication.

    Most of the scientists/engineers I know have been doing what they do for long enough that they no longer realize that they've actually managed to pick a and c when they only meant to get a, because of how much background is needed to understand the subject. So they end up looking like they're incapable of communicating when they were simply forgetting how many years of intensive learning they had to go through.

    I agree entirely with this. Sometimes it's really not possible to put things in simple terms, especially while maintaining an acceptable level of accuracy. God's various gifts excepted, of course.

    These folks are saying that it's sometimes impossible to give an explanation that is acceptable to both you and the other party... I think. None of them answered my question. It certainly sounded like mutually exclusive choices were the only ones available in their conception, and I do disagree with that. I don't think you need to be God's gift to communication to get across a complex idea in accurate and understandable terms.

    Again, in the context of earlier comments that presented the options as being mutually exclusive, you picked "acceptable to me", which is why I answered as I did.

    Time frame and audience are important here too. I could explain about the regioselectivity of an inverse electron demand intramolecular Diels-Alder in two sentences to my boss. . It would take an awful lot longer to someone who's never taken chemistry. And that person would probably walk out on me before I finished.

    So, I guess I disagree. I think there are some topics which cannot be explained concisely, clearly, and accurately to a layperson. Especially if the goal is to impart a level of understanding which allows the listener to understand the nuance of the topic.

    Steam = VishnuOwnz
    Dota2 = Glitchmo
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    Demerdar wrote:
    shryke wrote:
    No, you are wrong.

    Cool.

    I see you've figured out how to post meaningless non-responses.

    Maybe read the whole post next time.

    I'm saying you can go to college without knowing exactly what you want to do, without spending any more money than the guy who went in to get a specific degree. Furthermore, I am also saying that reading about a subject on the internet is not going to tell you if you are going to be any good at it, or even enjoy it. You say it is a waste of money to even start college without having a firm idea of what you want to do out the gate, I'm saying otherwise. But thanks for being both condescending and insulting at making your points.

    Except I haven't said anything of the sort. Maybe you should refrain from pithy 1 word slective-quote posts if you keep misreading what I've been typing.

    I didn't say it's a waste of money to start university without a firm idea what you want to do, I said it's a waste of time/money/effort to start university going into a field of study you know nothing about. Reading on the internet won't tell you whether you like something or whether you might be good at it, but it will tell you what it is. Before dropping at the very least hundreds of dollars on classes, perhaps it behooves you to find out anything about the subject you are about to be taking as your major. Doing otherwise is like buying a house without even finding out where the house is. How is this controversial?

    I know some here love the "University is not job training" mantra, but whatever it is, University is a huge investment and you should treat it with some actual thought and planning.

    shryke on
  • XrddXrdd Registered User regular
    hippofant wrote:
    You seem to be of the mind that I am prescribing that we teach Java. I am not. I am simply outlining the issue at hand for many CS faculties as I've ascertained myself in conversations with various first-year CS professors. They struggle with trying to strike a balance between providing practical, utilizable skills in first-year CS, preparing students for long-term computer science study (namely engaging students in theoretical computer science topics and providing them the background to do so), and trying to produce serviceable programmer types (namely teaching them programming skills, such as recursion, object-oriented design, pointers and references). Various meetings and discussions I've borne witness to have debated the choice of 1st-year programming language within this context.

    I don't even know what you're disagreeing with. The fact that university CS programs feel the need to try and serve, in some degree, as a code monkey mill? I don't know how you can deny that, quite frankly.

    From the first post of yours that I responded to, I got the impression that you were in favor of basing language choice in first-year CS based on the current "popularity" of that language in the IT world. "We should be teaching Java because that is what a lot of programmers use", that sort of thing. I disagree that that should be a criterion at all. Apologies if I misunderstood what you were getting at, though (not a native English speaker).

    And no, universities should absolutely not attempt to serve as code monkey mills. I'm honestly not sure how you can suggest that they should.

  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    Xrdd wrote:
    hippofant wrote:
    You seem to be of the mind that I am prescribing that we teach Java. I am not. I am simply outlining the issue at hand for many CS faculties as I've ascertained myself in conversations with various first-year CS professors. They struggle with trying to strike a balance between providing practical, utilizable skills in first-year CS, preparing students for long-term computer science study (namely engaging students in theoretical computer science topics and providing them the background to do so), and trying to produce serviceable programmer types (namely teaching them programming skills, such as recursion, object-oriented design, pointers and references). Various meetings and discussions I've borne witness to have debated the choice of 1st-year programming language within this context.

    I don't even know what you're disagreeing with. The fact that university CS programs feel the need to try and serve, in some degree, as a code monkey mill? I don't know how you can deny that, quite frankly.

    From the first post of yours that I responded to, I got the impression that you were in favor of basing language choice in first-year CS based on the current "popularity" of that language in the IT world. "We should be teaching Java because that is what a lot of programmers use", that sort of thing. I disagree that that should be a criterion at all. Apologies if I misunderstood what you were getting at, though (not a native English speaker).

    And no, universities should absolutely not attempt to serve as code monkey mills. I'm honestly not sure how you can suggest that they should.

    I do think there are reasons to teach Java, instead of other languages. I also think there are reasons students would prefer to learn Java rather than other languages. That is far from saying that Java is the definitive choice.

    I'm not so much suggesting that they do so much as suggesting they feel pressured to do so. (Also, I speak not of code monkeys but programmers in general.) I think it's simply a result of the evolution of the computer science field - once upon a time, anybody who knew anything about computers came from an PSE computer science background. Once upon a time, computer professionals HAD to come from a CS university program. Even now, the expectation is that universities do so. Employers look for that university degree on resumes; high school students still enter computer science with that in mind; counselors and parents still suggest CS as an avenue to IT jobs; and there's simply nobody else to do it. It's an interesting problem, I think, and it's one of the reasons I'd prefer a more holistic restructuring of how CS education works in our society in general.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    I don't really see how you can come out of a CS program without the skills to be a code monkey. I mean, that's not your only skills, but the degree necessarily entails gaining those skills.

    The real code monkey factories, up here anyway, are the colleges (places that offer like 1-3 year certificates/somethingorothers in more job specific stuff). Those are the places that teach nothing but "how to code in Java" and no theory or anything.

    In my experience though, employers don't like those people and generally just straight up ask for a CS degree for development positions and the like because they can and because you are generally guaranteed to get the skills you want from those people.

  • XrddXrdd Registered User regular
    hippofant wrote:
    I do think there are reasons to teach Java, instead of other languages. I also think there are reasons students would prefer to learn Java rather than other languages. That is far from saying that Java is the definitive choice.
    But is the frequency with which it shows up in job requirements one of those reasons? Because that was my whole point, really. I'm not necessarily opposed to teaching in Java (although I do think that there are better choices), just to the reason I thought you gave for teaching Java.

    And since I have an exam tomorrow morning, I'm off to bed now. Wish me luck, random internet strangers.

  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Xrdd wrote:
    hippofant wrote:
    I do think there are reasons to teach Java, instead of other languages. I also think there are reasons students would prefer to learn Java rather than other languages. That is far from saying that Java is the definitive choice.
    But is the frequency with which it shows up in job requirements one of those reasons? Because that was my whole point, really. I'm not necessarily opposed to teaching in Java (although I do think that there are better choices), just to the reason I thought you gave for teaching Java.

    And since I have an exam tomorrow morning, I'm off to bed now. Wish me luck, random internet strangers.

    Are you suggesting then that the practicality of a particular bit of knowledge should not be a factor in determining whether it should be taught or not? We could just as well abolish engineering and medical degrees then, and teach everybody philosophy.

    at shryke: The point isn't so much that people come out of CS programs with the skills to be programmers (could we stop saying code monkeys, because it's a fairly ambiguous idiom?) but rather... is that the point of a CS program? And is a CS program the best way to produce programmers in the first place? Why does a programmer need Calculus 1 and 2? Why does a computer scientist need UML design concepts? And how do you fit everything into a four-year program, so that after spending a year teaching Java or Scheme or Lisp or Python, you don't throw C++ at students in 2nd year and tell them they have 2 weeks to figure it out on their own?

    hippofant on
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