Bits of CS

  • On the first day of the Intro to CS course, a written survey asked students a bunch of questions. The overall best answer, given to the question “Why are you here?”, was “Because it’s 12:30 on a Tuesday.”
  • I had a student who couldn’t run Java because calls to Math.sqrt and the like would not compile. A typical error was
    Error: The method sqrt(double) is undefined for the type Math

    How does such an error arise? I have no idea. Why did import java.lang.Math; added to the top of the program fix it? I also have no idea. But I am glad it worked!

  • Sara and I recently watched Source Code. I didn’t know anything but the title going in to the movie. While I was disappointed by the total lack of programming in the movie, it was pretty great overall. The logic makes sense locally, but doesn’t quite come together if you try to explain the whole thing at once. Sort of like a Klein Bottle of movies.
  • You know a project is successful when it starts spawning secondary sub-industries. This seems to have happened with CS Circles: there’s a guy on YouTube giving demos/walkthroughs of some of our exercises!

2 Responses to “Bits of CS”

  1. Although I think this is flattering, part of me really hates that this was created. I imagine that many people will just go to YouTube to find the answers rather than trying to solve the problems. This “search for the answer” approach to problem solving really bothers me.

    Having said that, if you ever do want to make a set of solutions, I do think that using YouTube is a good way to go, in that you can describe the thought process at least.

    • At least right now, there are only 5 videos so we are not in too much trouble.

      I do regret that we never ever give a nice sample solution at the end of any programs. Seeing the questions student ask, it seems many of them learn the nuts and bolts but not the process of simplifying their code.

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