February 28, 2006 10:24 pm

Because It’s All I Can Think About

:note: The Benedictine Monks – “Puer Natus Est Nobis”

Reasons I can’t stand my friday class:

  1. It is a 200-level class taught like a 400-level class.
    I realize that on the first week’s notes it says that this is not intended to be an intro class and you should already have some programming experience. I foolishly figured that since I’ve taken classes in Python, PHP, Javascript, ASP, MySQL, and ActionScript, and got A’s (and some B’s) in all of them, that would qualify as having a bit of programming experience and that I’d be okay. Ah ha ha ha ha ha. How wrong I was.

  2. No consideration is made for people who do not wish to end up programming C++ for the rest of their lives.
    While I will concede that the majority of people in that class are either Visual Game Programming majors or Game Art and Design majors, that does not mean that everyone is VGP OR GAD. Hell, there’s a Graphic Design major in that class, because it’s a COMPUTER SCIENCE class, not a VGP or GAD class. It is not major-specific. No one, least of all our teacher, seems to recognize this. It means that there will be varying levels of not only programming skills but interest as well. You know, so if you give an assignment that will take upwards of 30 hours to even attempt to complete (you know, and still get a C), not everyone will have the drive to work for that many hours on it, because it is not something they expect to get hired for. Frankly, they just don’t care that much to put that much time into it. C++ is apparently somewhat applicable on the web, but that hasn’t been mentioned – it’d be nice to learn other uses rather than merely making small, useless games.

  3. The grading policy smacks of Office Space’s “flair” buttons.
    I have never felt more like Jennifer Aniston in my life than I did last week in class. Our assignment will be worth 12 points, 8 of which consist of meeting all the requirements and making a fully-functional game that compiles and runs. The other four involve going “above and beyond” the requirements. Except, you know, it’s required to get full credit.

    I’ve had other experiences with teachers who had this grading policy, but I can’t say I liked it any better. I understand the logic behind it (meeting the requirements – but not exceeding them – is average, and a C is average, therefore you get a C) but I think it’s stupid. It’s like the “flair” – WHY DO YOU NOT JUST MAKE IT REQUIRED? How am I supposed to guess what goes far enough above the requirements to get an A?

    And what about the fact that the assignments are so wildly advanced for someone who is just learning C++ that I can’t even fathom what could be harder than what was already assigned? I doubt I can even meet the requirements, let alone go “above and beyond” them to get an A.

  4. The fact that when I mentoned that last bit to the teacher, he told me I’d just have to live with getting a C.
    There were no offers of help, no “What are you stuck on?”, no “Why does this seem impossible to you?” Just, “You’ll just have to live with getting a C, then.” You do not just tell someone that. Especially someone neurotic like me who equates C’s with getting an F and I AM NOT JUST GOING TO GET A C.

  5. The fact that all work is required to pass the class.
    I can’t just skip an assignment and take the grade markdown. Any missing assignments constitute an automatic fail. You must turn them in, even though late work is worth nothing and you won’t get points for it.
  6. The fact that I’m terrified to ask anyone for help because of an addendum to the grading policy.
    This addendum states that if you are found to have similar code to someone else (indicating that you worked together), you will each get half the grade you would have originally gotten. So if the original grade would have been an 80%, you both fail because you end up getting only 40% on the project. This really encourages me to ask questions of my classmtes, no? “Hey, help me out, we might both fail! Ha! Isn’t that great?”

    Also, I feel stupid asking questions in class because all he VGP and GAD people seem to understand things so well, and I’d look like an idiot. I hate looking like an idiot. And I feel stupid asking the teacher because it seems like things I should already know, and I don’t want him to think I haven’t worked on this stuff at all, because I have. It’d be like being in a reading class and asking your teacher the order of the alphabet. It’s like, shoudn’t you know that by now? Regardless if this is the same situation, it comes off that way, and makes me feel really, really dumb if I don’t get something.

  7. The fact that I know I should talk to somebody about this, but that it’s so far along in the term that it won’t make any difference at all.
    We’re encouraged to bring up any problems in class with our Department Director, but I know that nothing is going to change after Week 08. It may still be worth my time to say something, but I can’t forsee it helping any.

  8. The fact that I have never felt stupider in my life than I have while taking this class.
    Does wonders for my mood, you know. And the good ol’ self-esteem.

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  • Melissa says:

    Damn, this all sounds so familiar… Now I must respond to these points of yours with my own similar-experience complaints!

    1. My biochem class was exactly like that. It was only a 200-level course, but the professor taught it as though it were graduate-level. Um…what? Sorry, but I don’t have my degree yet.

    3. Perhaps your teacher developed his grading policy off of SVC’s Biology program’s grading policy? Not receiving full credit unless you do “extra work” brings back terrible memories of my last biology classes. I never understood that. Like you said, C is average, therefore if you do a half-assed job, you receive a C, and if you do perfect, you receive an A. Isn’t that logical?

    4. “Live with getting a C” is exactly the philosophy of the bio department that I spoke of above, too.

    Ugh…I hate crap like that. You feel stuck and frustrated and you can’t even do anything to fix that. All I can say is don’t let that ass get the best of you. Do your best to not settle for a C. But even if you do end up with a poor grade, you know that it isn’t because you are stupid. It’s just because some classes are just practically IMPOSSIBLE like that. Eww. You have to wonder why some people began teaching when it’s so obvious that they CAN’T!

  • Renay says:

    I would still go to the director–especially about his reaction when you brought up your concerns. That’s not teaching at all. You can think about it not helping you (but it might, a stern e-mail from the director might do wonders) but it might help others in the future.

    That just sucks. I hate teachers that aren’t TEACHERS. Why even bother if you’re going to be a hardass?