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.