Reviews of Computer Science 021 - The Imperative Paradigm: UNIX and C


Jeffrey Knerr
Tia Newhall

Jeffrey Knerr

Name: Omitted Year: Omitted Major: Math (tentative) Professor: Jeffrey Knerr Taken Fall 2000 Recommends?
sometimes

Format: lecture and examples that we tried to program during class.

Difficulty: lots of programs for homework. Sometimes they were really hard, sometimes there were just a lot. But the clinics were all really helpful. Definitely take advantage of them. We didn't spend any time learning Unix, this class was really just about C, so it definitely helps if you already know Unix like I did.

Reading: The reading was helpful, but not always necessary if you know a little about programming already. Mostly I used the textbook as a reference.

Recommend: I would definitely recommend this class, especially for people who have some knowledge of computers. But I might recommend taking it with a different teacher if possible. If not, Jeff isn't a bad teacher, and you can still learn something, just be sure to go to the clinics if you have trouble.

Jeff Knerr: He didn't seem to have a total grasp on C. He was always willing to help and answered e-mail about the homework problems promptly, but the student clinicians were sometimes clearer in their explanations. He didn't always seem able to understand exactly what my question was or to come up with another way of explaining a concept.



Tia Newhall

Name: Nori Heikkinen Year: 2003 Major: Music/Undecided Professor: Tia Newhall Taken Spring 2000 Recommends?
sometimes

This class was informative and useful, though sometimes I felt I could have gotten as much by just staying at home and reading the book and doing the homework. The class was run in a lecture format, with Tia just talking about the previous reading and reŽxplaining the concepts within. There were weekly homework assignments due by midnight on Sundays via an electronic handin program. You could get by fine with not doing the reading.

PROBLEM: some of the homework assignments were so large that you had to, and were encouraged to, work with a partner or two. If and when you did this, you spent almost as much time compiling and making compatible your various chunks of code as you would have writing it yourself, and you didn't necessarily fully grasp the ideas from bits that your partners had done.

SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM: We used libraries from the book during the whole semester, but during the last few weeks of class, Tia told us we could no longer use those, and we had to relearn all the standard C ways of doing things (as opposed to using book-shortcuts, as we had been all year). There's some method do the madness (covering up the more complicated code until we had the tools to understand it), but it made the last month really frustrating, having to essentially relearn how to program. I still can't get the user to type in a basic line of text without consulting my book. Stupid stupid.

Recommend? Um, yes, I'd recommend it (it's a requirement for all potential majors)--you'll learn a lot, and it's rewarding. Just do yourself a favor and try and learn the non-book-library ways of doing things from the beginning. Other than that, good class. I'd give it a B.



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