Of course I realise there has been a trend in recent years to cram in as
larger numbers of  young students into university for long courses, and this
presents problems. Unfortuantely, the solution in many CS departments
appears to have been an intense fear of student failure. So everything is
geared to students being able to pick up marks from a variety of non
programming tasks as they go along. There is little enthusiasm for coaching,
guidance and practice of actual programming because that way marks can't be
quickly bagged up, and sighs of relief issued.

I can understand the nature of that response, given the trying conditions
prevalent in HE. It's just that I think the alternative response, of coach,
guide & practice, with one final assessment at the end of the year, would
not be the disaster that some think it owuld, if approached confidently and

----- Original Message ----- From: "Lindsay Marshall" <lindsay.marsh...@newcastle.ac.uk> To: "R Bartlett" <ra.bartl...@ntlworld.com>; "Frank Wales" <fr...@limov.com>; <Ppig-Discuss-List@open.ac.uk>
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 9:34 AM
Subject: RE: "Intuitiveness" of programming languages/paradigms

>Well this discussion all boils down to the role of education. THere are >two

You might only know of two, there

1) We'll take your money, but really you shouldn't be on this course - we
would like people who can already  program so that we don't have to teach

If you knew anything at all about University admissions policies and you would know that there are many forces at work. There is pressure to fill quotas which are imposed on you and to which you have very little input. If you don't fill the quotas your department and faculty get quite drastically penalised financially and most departments are already struggling. There is a finite pool of potential students and many competing institutions. You do your best to fill your course with people who as far as you can tell want to do the course and who meet the entry qualifications. The applicants are also under pressure to go to university and do something even when they don't really want to and often under pressure to do courses that various authority figures (parents, careers people) think are more "useful" than the ones they actually want to do. Computing is one of the default choices as I pointed out before. Ultimately this means that there is a certain proportion of people who should not be there for whatever reason.

From your comment I would assume that you think it unreasonable that people need to have a Maths qualification to enter a University Maths course and they should teach Maths from scratch. If not why should University Computing courses have to be different?

2) We'll take your money, and do the best we can with you.

I love this quaint idea that you have departments themselves get all the money from their students! However doing the best we can is certainly what we try to do (and quite a few people make themselves ill trying). Personally I don't think the students should be paying at all but that is another matter.

And one of this has anything to do with intuition anyway.


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