week of Jan 18th

The article on Academic source code dust-up symptom of CS education ills really caught my eye. I’ve long been a critic of academia, mostly the testing of individual achievement. It’s really become a student’s focus of school, and it’s perhaps the part of school where you do the least learning.

The idea of learning in an open source environment is my white knight, and it’s why I’m taking OSD600. I have high hopes, and think the open source course at seneca should mirror the importance of the sys and prj courses.

Often have I mentioned my issues on academia to a prof in a casual discussion, only to hear “that’s just how it’s done”. It’s roots run deep. But on the other hand, is it school where we do our learning? or is it at home, on our own where we do our learning? A creative writing student at York university said to me “never let school get in the way of your education” and it’s soo true. School only shows us the door, it’s up to use to walk through it, and upon exiting, we must write a test on it. Tests have a valuable place, but the final grade portion should be from a large assignment, and a short interview with the prof about the assignment. Tests are best served as a personal marker for the student, the student exits the door, writes the test, and instead of failing or passing, the student can re enter the door, or enter the next door. That’s a start, anyway. Another student at OCAD said to me that they only write tests in their history class, and that anything that you learn by doing, or you create something, has no place for a test in memory. Programming is a highly creative skill, we learn by making mistakes, and fixing them, which happens to be a lot more fun than reading a boring textbook. OCAD’s solution to the lack of testing, is to interview and critique the student about their final works. If the student cheater and got someone else to create the work, it’ll show in the interview no doubt when the student has no clue how to talk about the work. This also gives OCAD the chance to bring in processional art critiques to help the student, making it a positive situatio, with rewards instead of punishments. Is cheating really a big a deal as it seems? Is testing and not sharing really the only options? Not at all. It’s safe to say testing and individual assignments are most valuable in the earlier semesters, and later semesters where the students that are still studying, have proven that they are there to learn. Then, roll out the group work, when my group members are more liekly to take it seriously, and at the very least, show up to class

It’s true, how in the article it says “it’s up to the students to take their learning seriously” what I think he means is it’s our job to make the change happen the way we want it to happen.

Finally, not everyone learns the same way, and it’s great to have options. Everything has it’s place, even horrible students and teachers, it’s all a learning experience.


4 Responses to “week of Jan 18th”

  1. Hi Peter,Thank you for the comment, it was a nice surprise. And I was glad to have you as a prof, twice! Finally, expect my blog writings to improve.Scott

  2. Scott, I really like what you're saying here. School really shouldn't be black and white in the sense that, "You've done these assignments up to the set of guidelines given, and now you will write a test. Regardless of how you did on the assignments, this test is the be-all end-all. If you had a bad day, in terms of mentality, then tough luck, this is the one day to prove yourself." Sometimes people have bad days, and sometimes there's a lot of brain fog that stops people from performing to the best of their abilities. Sometimes, students just aren't that great at writing tests or performing under pressure like that. Sometimes the ability of the student is not shown in the bounds of the classroom but in what they do outside of the classroom, and I think this open source class is a great way of being able to express that and finally, there is a class that makes a little more 'sense' in the world. Standard classrooms are so unindicative of what goes on in the real world, and it's well-known. When I was in co-op, discussing programming and what some professor said to a colleague, he simply said, 'well…has he ever programmed outside of the classroom…?', and he hadn't. How much do professors like that really have to offer, with no real-world experience. We don't all want to be bound to the school our entire lives…Anyway, this is turning into a blog of my own in your comments, so I shall go make a blog and continue my rant.Peace.

  3. Scott your article is great…At the end of the day numbers are numbers, they necessarily don't reflect on how well you can perform or the level of your understanding. What's important is how beyond you can go on about what is already taught to you and what you do with it…I did my co-op at TD Bank, working as an IT Analyst, Basically my role was to develop and design applications in .NET, as I progressed it was a totally new learning experience compared to what I had learned in my INT422 course…I was surprised as to how much I could do, to what I had already done in that class…. I had the freedom to experiment and use various approaches to complete the tasks assigned rather then using one specific way I was taught of doing something.

  4. Teachers teaching people to teach people to teach. Also, I heard the current strike is not just about money, but also to change the structure of how things are done. More power to the prof's on how things are done, like the lectures, for example, must be done. Even though come classes might benefit more from just labs. Or getting rid of final exams 🙂

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