Yeah, this…

This conversation took place late last night on Slack:

Student: Bruce I see you the Sublime Text editor.

Bruce:
I have tried many of them out and prefer Sublime.

Student:
I want to be a professional web developer one day. I also have some questions about the assignment that’s due tomorrow.

Bruce:
A professional web developer wouldn’t start a project the day before it was due.

Student:
Only the good pros do.

Bruce:
It better be perfect then.

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Proud Clark College Instructor

I’m truly thankful for the professional network that I have worked hard to build and maintain, pay off not for me but for my students. What do I mean by this? I’m seeing graduates from programs at Clark College going to work for companies and organizations that started with some “matchmaking” and introductions from my network. There’s no greater feeling in the world than seeing a graduate enter the workforce. I’m truly blessed.

Video: College Student Worst Practices – Learning from the Mistakes of Others

More College Student Worst Practices

Continuing on from my list of “College Student Worst Practices” post:

Worst Practice No. 4:

Waiting until the day an assignment is due to ask the instructor for assistance. As soon as an assignment is announced or made available, read through it in its entirety at least once and maybe twice. Don’t simply do the assignment to hit the rubric marks as quite often there is more to the assignment than what appears in the rubric.

Worst Practice No. 5:

Expecting to learn everything you need to learn during class. Also, expecting to finish your work in class.

Worst Practice No. 6:

Not reading the syllabus. A course syllabus is a contract between the instructor and each and every student. It contains all of the things that a student will need to know about assignments, exams, late work policies, how a student’s grade will be determined, a statement about procedures and school policies for students with disabilities and much more. Neglecting to read it at the beginning of the class and every now and then is also not a good thing to do.

What does the syllabus really say? All of the things that you are going to ask tomorrow.

College Student Worst Practices – The First Three

Worst Practice No. 1:

From an email sent to students: “If you have read this far and want 3 extra credit points, send a message to me by Tuesday at noon.” 5 days later and only 2 people replied.

If your teacher/instructor ever offers you extra credit points for reading a weekly announcement email, respond to them as soon as you read the words “extra credit”.

Worst Practice No. 2:

Don’t wait until the assignment or exam due date to ask for an extension. It’s ok to ask for an extension (in my classes). Communicate early and often. It’s ok. I’m human and sometimes life happens and I get that.

Worst Practice No. 3:

If you are the smartest person in the classroom, and you know more than most people, don’t use that as the platform to challenge or prove that the instructor is dumber than you or that you are smarter than everyone else, use it as an opportunity to help others in the class that may be struggling.

Startup Weekend Vancouver, WA

Startup Weekends are open to all!

They are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs.

Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations. Participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks.

All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurials. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education. Whether you are looking for feedback on a idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekends are the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup.

When:  January 29 – January 31
Where: Clark College – Vancouver, Washington

Learn more about Startup Weekend >

A Different Kind of Final [Exam]

Computer Technology students get real-world experience by presenting to industry experts

On Thursday, June 11, students in Clark College instructor Bruce Elgort’s PHP and SQL programming class (CTEC 227) will face an audience. While that might be standard for a class in the performance arts, it’s less expected in a computer science course focused on complex web and application development questions. However, Elgort believes it is exactly the type of thing that will set them apart as they look for jobs.

“The most important thing is that these students are showing what they learned in solving the technical problems in front of them, but it is also important that they learn how to explain their approach and interact with clients and customers,” Elgort said.

More >

Priceless Feedback

What more can a college instructor ask for:

jk_python

Learning How to Code with Bruce: The Results

For the past year, I have been teaching a course at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington called “Intro to Programming and Problem Solving (CTEC 121)”. During this time 60 students have successfully completed the course. Here is the class description from the course catalog:

Fundamental concepts related to designing and writing computer programs and procedures. Topics covered include: problem-solving techniques, program design, coding, debugging, testing and documentation. The course stresses concepts common to all programming. Prerequisite: Eligibility for ENGL& 101 and a grade of “C” or better in MATH 095. CTEC 120 recommended.

Typically, 95% of the students who take this class have had no prior experience with programming. In fact, it may even be higher than this.

RECAP: Students in CTEC 121 have never ever written a single line of code.

One other important to thing to mention is that 80% of the students who enroll in this class are not enrolled in a development focussed degree program. Most are from networking, business and other disciplines. Fascinating eh? Read on…

For the Fall quarter I decided to not give a final exam but rather a final practical project. Students were required to build a full-fledged application using the Python programing language. The project requirements included:

  • Demonstrate use of all elements of the structure theorem (sequence, selection and repitition)
  • Use on or more Python libraries
  • Demonstrate the ability to read/write files
  • and many other requirements…

On Monday the class presented their projects to the class and frankly, the students and I were totally blown away by their projects. Remember, these students have only studied programming in the CTEC 121 class for 9 weeks prior to creating their final projects. I wish you all could have seen the students faces when they saw demonstrations presented by the others.

To give you an idea of the types of projects submitted here is a list of some of the apps students created:

  • An app that helps racing pit crews with calculating critical data needed for fueling, tire replacements and more
  • An app that uses the Wikipedia API to read and display random Wikipedia entries using JSON and REST services.
  • A math quiz app
  • A complete graphical version of the game Battleship
  • Several role playing games both text and based and graphics based
  • The game Othello done with the graphics.py Python library
  • A flash card creation and presentation app
  • Several awesome versions of Tic-Tac-Toe
  • An image processing app just like Instagram (complete with an MSI installer)
  • and many others

Congratulations to all of the CTEC 121 students on creating such awesome final projects. You made this instructor very proud.