www.digitalmars.com         C & C++   DMDScript  

digitalmars.D - What Scala?

reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
There's been a lot of talk about Scala when various new aspects of D 
have been discussed. I stumbled upon a video where exactly those things 
are talked about.

http://blog.jaoo.dk/2009/03/09/an-introduction-to-the-scala-programming-language-by-bill-venners/

"Bill Venners, co-author of the Scala book, gave a nice introduction to 
the Scala programming Language at JAOO last year. "

Actually, he gives a nice introduction to the concepts /we/ have been 
discussing. And no other crap. :-)
Apr 01 2009
parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 There's been a lot of talk about Scala when various new aspects of D 
 have been discussed. I stumbled upon a video where exactly those things 
 are talked about.
 
 http://blog.jaoo.dk/2009/03/09/an-introduction-to-the-scala-programming-langu
ge-by-bill-venners/ 
 
 
 "Bill Venners, co-author of the Scala book, gave a nice introduction to 
 the Scala programming Language at JAOO last year. "
 
 Actually, he gives a nice introduction to the concepts /we/ have been 
 discussing. And no other crap. :-)

Bill is a nice guy (I met him), but I don't quite like this talk. Gosh, he spends like *forever* on the if statement... at some point he asks people whether they've seen the ?: operator... does JAOO stand for Conference of Brain Damage Survivors? And if I see the O(n)-space factorial example once more, I'm going to throw my shoes at the speaker. Use a loop and get a life. Also, is that a bug in the Java code at 12:17? I'm seeing a statement line: BigInt.ONE; that I think is just an object, so the statement has no effect. Right? If so, well, that's quite bad. Andrei
Apr 01 2009
next sibling parent reply Bill Baxter <wbaxter gmail.com> writes:
On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 11:38 AM, Andrei Alexandrescu
<SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 There's been a lot of talk about Scala when various new aspects of D have
 been discussed. I stumbled upon a video where exactly those things are
 talked about.


 http://blog.jaoo.dk/2009/03/09/an-introduction-to-the-scala-programming-language-by-bill-venners/

 "Bill Venners, co-author of the Scala book, gave a nice introduction to
 the Scala programming Language at JAOO last year. "

 Actually, he gives a nice introduction to the concepts /we/ have been
 discussing. And no other crap. :-)

Bill is a nice guy (I met him), but I don't quite like this talk. Gosh, he spends like *forever* on the if statement... at some point he asks people whether they've seen the ?: operator... does JAOO stand for Conference of Brain Damage Survivors?

The information density is quite low. I'm regretting having spent 15 minutes on it... Spot checking the rest, it doesn't appear there's much more there beyond what you could get from a 5-minute intro to Scala on a web page somewhere.
 And if I see the O(n)-space factorial example once more, I'm going to
 throw my shoes at the speaker. Use a loop and get a life.

 Also, is that a bug in the Java code at 12:17? I'm seeing a statement line:

 BigInt.ONE;

 that I think is just an object, so the statement has no effect. Right? If
 so, well, that's quite bad.

I think the code on top is also Scala, just written in a Java-esque style. --bb
Apr 01 2009
next sibling parent Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Bill Baxter wrote:
 On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 11:38 AM, Andrei Alexandrescu
 <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Also, is that a bug in the Java code at 12:17? I'm seeing a statement line:

 BigInt.ONE;

 that I think is just an object, so the statement has no effect. Right? If
 so, well, that's quite bad.

I think the code on top is also Scala, just written in a Java-esque style.

Thanks, that makes sense. Andrei
Apr 01 2009
prev sibling parent Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Bill Baxter wrote:
 On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 11:38 AM, Andrei Alexandrescu
 <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 There's been a lot of talk about Scala when various new aspects of D have
 been discussed. I stumbled upon a video where exactly those things are
 talked about.


 http://blog.jaoo.dk/2009/03/09/an-introduction-to-the-scala-programming-language-by-bill-venners/

 "Bill Venners, co-author of the Scala book, gave a nice introduction to
 the Scala programming Language at JAOO last year. "

 Actually, he gives a nice introduction to the concepts /we/ have been
 discussing. And no other crap. :-)

he spends like *forever* on the if statement... at some point he asks people whether they've seen the ?: operator... does JAOO stand for Conference of Brain Damage Survivors?

The information density is quite low. I'm regretting having spent 15 minutes on it... Spot checking the rest, it doesn't appear there's much more there beyond what you could get from a 5-minute intro to Scala on a web page somewhere.

Heh, forgot to mention, I wasn't thinking of you with this post. ;-) One thing that looked nice was the use of var/val instead of final vs. the default. Short and neat, and easy to remember.
 And if I see the O(n)-space factorial example once more, I'm going to
 throw my shoes at the speaker. Use a loop and get a life.

 Also, is that a bug in the Java code at 12:17? I'm seeing a statement line:

 BigInt.ONE;

 that I think is just an object, so the statement has no effect. Right? If
 so, well, that's quite bad.

I think the code on top is also Scala, just written in a Java-esque style. --bb

Apr 02 2009
prev sibling parent reply "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
 Gosh,
 he spends like *forever* on the if statement... at some point he asks
 people whether they've seen the ?: operator... does JAOO stand for
 Conference of Brain Damage Survivors?

Sounds like most of the CS classes I had in college.
Apr 01 2009
parent reply bearophile <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> writes:
Nick Sabalausky:
Sounds like most of the CS classes I had in college.<

You have to form a little group with few other of the students most interested in those classes (or you can even act alone), and ask the teacher to change the style or way, explaining him/her to slow down or speed up topics. Most teachers if asked kindly are willing to change their speed, especially if there's enough time to slow down. Bye, bearophile
Apr 01 2009
parent reply "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"bearophile" <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> wrote in message 
news:gr1l57$vu5$1 digitalmars.com...
 Nick Sabalausky:
Sounds like most of the CS classes I had in college.<

You have to form a little group with few other of the students most interested in those classes (or you can even act alone), and ask the teacher to change the style or way, explaining him/her to slow down or speed up topics. Most teachers if asked kindly are willing to change their speed, especially if there's enough time to slow down.

Heh, it's much too late for that. Been out of college for awhile now ;) Besides, it probably wouldn't have worked anyway. Most of my classmates had practically zero experience outside of class, so they probably did need that (and don't get me started on the complete ineptitude of the CS *grad* students I met. Hell, even some of the cs phd profs didn't know what the hell they were doing, I have stories about all of that...), whereas I've been coding practically since I learned to read. If there's one thing my school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in focusing on the low-to-mid-range students. The advanced ones are only there to shell out tuition money and act as cheap tutors. They would be far better off saving their time and money by not even going, but they almost *have* to go anyway just because the rest of society (and HR drones in particular) are brainwashed into thinking that there's a direct correlation between academics and competence (if anything, it's slightly inverse - one of the smartest people I know had so much trouble with school he ended up a high school dropout).
Apr 02 2009
next sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 If there's one thing my 
 school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in 
 focusing on the low-to-mid-range students.

That wasn't my college experience at all (Caltech). I was a low-to-mid-range student there, and the profs were always ready to help me, but I would get the impression they thought the material they were teaching was basic and they wanted more advanced students to they could teach the fun stuff instead.
 The advanced ones are only there 
 to shell out tuition money and act as cheap tutors.

That role was filled by grad students.
 They would be far better 
 off saving their time and money by not even going, but they almost *have* to 
 go anyway just because the rest of society (and HR drones in particular) are 
 brainwashed into thinking that there's a direct correlation between 
 academics and competence (if anything, it's slightly inverse - one of the 
 smartest people I know had so much trouble with school he ended up a high 
 school dropout). 

My 4 years at Caltech were transformative to me, particularly in my problem solving skills. Certainly, you can be very successful without a university degree, but there can be a lot of value in a degree. It kinda also depends on how one goes about getting that degree. If one picked courses solely for the purpose of getting the degree, well, probably it won't be of much value in the end. I picked courses on the basis of thinking they'd be fundamental to the kind of career I wanted. The degree itself was not of much interest to me. It's forgotten in the bottom of a moldy box somewhere :-)
Apr 02 2009
next sibling parent reply dsimcha <dsimcha yahoo.com> writes:
== Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 If there's one thing my
 school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in
 focusing on the low-to-mid-range students.

low-to-mid-range student there

...Which kind of proves the point that the way knowledge/learning in college is measured is pretty flawed in that it doesn't predict who will be successful afterword. I just finished undergrad a couple years ago and I feel that the kinds of multiple choice exams you get in huge lecture-based classes are good at testing rote memorization and superficial understanding and the ability to get inside the professor's head, where as what's important is the ability to take your knowledge and apply it to something useful or use it to create more knowledge.
Apr 02 2009
next sibling parent reply "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"dsimcha" <dsimcha yahoo.com> wrote in message 
news:gr31s9$2enc$1 digitalmars.com...
 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 If there's one thing my
 school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in
 focusing on the low-to-mid-range students.

low-to-mid-range student there

...Which kind of proves the point that the way knowledge/learning in college is measured is pretty flawed in that it doesn't predict who will be successful afterword. I just finished undergrad a couple years ago and I feel that the kinds of multiple choice exams you get in huge lecture-based classes are good at testing rote memorization and superficial understanding and the ability to get inside the professor's head, where as what's important is the ability to take your knowledge and apply it to something useful or use it to create more knowledge.

Exactly. I remember this one class I had (wasn't cs though) where I tended to do poorly on the essay portions of the exams. At one point I decided to answer one of the essay questions by quoting the prof's lecture nearly verbatim, and got a perfect score. Way to reward plagiarism and discourage independent thought. That was the final straw that killed off any last shred of interest I may have had in getting a decent grade.
Apr 02 2009
parent Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Exactly. I remember this one class I had (wasn't cs though) where I tended 
 to do poorly on the essay portions of the exams. At one point I decided to 
 answer one of the essay questions by quoting the prof's lecture nearly 
 verbatim, and got a perfect score.  Way to reward plagiarism and discourage 
 independent thought. That was the final straw that killed off any last shred 
 of interest I may have had in getting a decent grade. 

I had exactly one quote-the-perfessor exam. I have nothing but contempt for that professor for that (among other) reasons.
Apr 02 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
dsimcha wrote:
 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 If there's one thing my
 school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in
 focusing on the low-to-mid-range students.

low-to-mid-range student there

...Which kind of proves the point that the way knowledge/learning in college is measured is pretty flawed in that it doesn't predict who will be successful afterword. I just finished undergrad a couple years ago and I feel that the kinds of multiple choice exams you get in huge lecture-based classes are good at testing rote memorization and superficial understanding and the ability to get inside the professor's head, where as what's important is the ability to take your knowledge and apply it to something useful or use it to create more knowledge.

Yes, one gets the impression that those who do well in exams simply store the stuff in another way in their head. Feels like they've developed methods to store it for easy retrieval and rote memorization, instead of ever trying to internalize the essence of it. (Sure, some kids can manage both, but I wasn't one of them.) But then, 20 years afterward, ask the three starry eyed ones, what the price will be if there is first a 10% price hike and then you get a 10% rebate. Since they can't remember the formula by heart anymore, they're at a loss with this one. But what does it matter, they've got good secure jobs, a nice family and a car as good as their neighbor. OTOH, to make things really happen, we need the other kind of guys. Those of us who want to understand. They're the ones who advance the state of the art, and without that, we'd still be traveling on steam trains. I just wish there were more schools and pedagogic knowledge (and good teachers, of course) to make things interesting and fun for us others. But without that, many students get by with so-so grades, having invested only 10% of their effort into it. I know I did. What a waste.
Apr 02 2009
next sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 dsimcha wrote:
 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 If there's one thing my
 school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in
 focusing on the low-to-mid-range students.

low-to-mid-range student there

...Which kind of proves the point that the way knowledge/learning in college is measured is pretty flawed in that it doesn't predict who will be successful afterword. I just finished undergrad a couple years ago and I feel that the kinds of multiple choice exams you get in huge lecture-based classes are good at testing rote memorization and superficial understanding and the ability to get inside the professor's head, where as what's important is the ability to take your knowledge and apply it to something useful or use it to create more knowledge.

Yes, one gets the impression that those who do well in exams simply store the stuff in another way in their head. Feels like they've developed methods to store it for easy retrieval and rote memorization, instead of ever trying to internalize the essence of it. (Sure, some kids can manage both, but I wasn't one of them.) But then, 20 years afterward, ask the three starry eyed ones, what the price will be if there is first a 10% price hike and then you get a 10% rebate. Since they can't remember the formula by heart anymore, they're at a loss with this one. But what does it matter, they've got good secure jobs, a nice family and a car as good as their neighbor. OTOH, to make things really happen, we need the other kind of guys. Those of us who want to understand. They're the ones who advance the state of the art, and without that, we'd still be traveling on steam trains. I just wish there were more schools and pedagogic knowledge (and good teachers, of course) to make things interesting and fun for us others. But without that, many students get by with so-so grades, having invested only 10% of their effort into it. I know I did. What a waste.

I don't buy 10% of this, after another 10% rebate. I'm not sure you meant it that way, but it looks quite narcissistic. Not only the kind of people who operate like you push humankind towards progress. We all know stories of lousy-student rise to genius. John Backus, Thomas Alva Edison, Einstein... You know why? Because they're spectacular stories. There have been plenty of geniuses who also happened to be good students, but nobody cares for that detail because it's expected and therefore uninformative. And if anyone is pissed about the quality of higher education in the US, they'll have to move to Mars. US has the best in the world. Andrei
Apr 02 2009
next sibling parent Max Samukha <samukha voliacable.com.removethis> writes:
On Thu, 02 Apr 2009 14:32:20 -0700, Andrei Alexandrescu
<SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> wrote:

Georg Wrede wrote:
 dsimcha wrote:
 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 If there's one thing my
 school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in
 focusing on the low-to-mid-range students.

low-to-mid-range student there

...Which kind of proves the point that the way knowledge/learning in college is measured is pretty flawed in that it doesn't predict who will be successful afterword. I just finished undergrad a couple years ago and I feel that the kinds of multiple choice exams you get in huge lecture-based classes are good at testing rote memorization and superficial understanding and the ability to get inside the professor's head, where as what's important is the ability to take your knowledge and apply it to something useful or use it to create more knowledge.

Yes, one gets the impression that those who do well in exams simply store the stuff in another way in their head. Feels like they've developed methods to store it for easy retrieval and rote memorization, instead of ever trying to internalize the essence of it. (Sure, some kids can manage both, but I wasn't one of them.) But then, 20 years afterward, ask the three starry eyed ones, what the price will be if there is first a 10% price hike and then you get a 10% rebate. Since they can't remember the formula by heart anymore, they're at a loss with this one. But what does it matter, they've got good secure jobs, a nice family and a car as good as their neighbor. OTOH, to make things really happen, we need the other kind of guys. Those of us who want to understand. They're the ones who advance the state of the art, and without that, we'd still be traveling on steam trains. I just wish there were more schools and pedagogic knowledge (and good teachers, of course) to make things interesting and fun for us others. But without that, many students get by with so-so grades, having invested only 10% of their effort into it. I know I did. What a waste.

I don't buy 10% of this, after another 10% rebate. I'm not sure you meant it that way, but it looks quite narcissistic. Not only the kind of people who operate like you push humankind towards progress. We all know stories of lousy-student rise to genius. John Backus, Thomas Alva Edison, Einstein... You know why? Because they're spectacular stories. There have been plenty of geniuses who also happened to be good students, but nobody cares for that detail because it's expected and therefore uninformative. And if anyone is pissed about the quality of higher education in the US, they'll have to move to Mars. US has the best in the world. Andrei

My cat said that might be true.
Apr 01 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
== Quote from Andrei Alexandrescu (SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org)'s article
 We all know stories of lousy-student rise to genius. John Backus, Thomas
 Alva Edison, Einstein... You know why? Because they're spectacular
 stories. There have been plenty of geniuses who also happened to be good
 students, but nobody cares for that detail because it's expected and
 therefore uninformative.

And some of the stories are just that: stories. Here's a quote from Michael Shara, a curator at the New York Museum of Natural History's exhibit dedicated to Einstein: "This myth that Einstein was a mediocre student is definitely not true," says Shara. "He was highly inquisitive; asked questions all the time. And we have his report card. You see that he was an excellent student straight A's, of course, in physics and trigonometry and geometry. But then people also believe that Lemmings commit mass suicide periodically to control overpopulation, so it seems that people are more interested in false but compelling stories than true but boring ones :-)
Apr 02 2009
parent Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 And some of the stories are just that: stories.  Here's a quote from Michael
Shara,
 a curator at the New York Museum of Natural History's exhibit dedicated to
 Einstein:
 
     "This myth that Einstein was a mediocre student is definitely not true,"
says
     Shara. "He was highly inquisitive; asked questions all the time. And we
have his
     report card. You see that he was an excellent student  straight A's, of
course,
     in physics and trigonometry and geometry.

I saw part of a bio of Einstein on TV. His life was a lot more interesting than I'd suspected.
Apr 02 2009
prev sibling parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Andrei Alexandrescu wrote:
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 dsimcha wrote:
 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 If there's one thing my
 school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in
 focusing on the low-to-mid-range students.

low-to-mid-range student there

...Which kind of proves the point that the way knowledge/learning in college is measured is pretty flawed in that it doesn't predict who will be successful afterword. I just finished undergrad a couple years ago and I feel that the kinds of multiple choice exams you get in huge lecture-based classes are good at testing rote memorization and superficial understanding and the ability to get inside the professor's head, where as what's important is the ability to take your knowledge and apply it to something useful or use it to create more knowledge.

Yes, one gets the impression that those who do well in exams simply store the stuff in another way in their head. Feels like they've developed methods to store it for easy retrieval and rote memorization, instead of ever trying to internalize the essence of it. (Sure, some kids can manage both, but I wasn't one of them.) But then, 20 years afterward, ask the three starry eyed ones, what the price will be if there is first a 10% price hike and then you get a 10% rebate. Since they can't remember the formula by heart anymore, they're at a loss with this one. But what does it matter, they've got good secure jobs, a nice family and a car as good as their neighbor. OTOH, to make things really happen, we need the other kind of guys. Those of us who want to understand. They're the ones who advance the state of the art, and without that, we'd still be traveling on steam trains. I just wish there were more schools and pedagogic knowledge (and good teachers, of course) to make things interesting and fun for us others. But without that, many students get by with so-so grades, having invested only 10% of their effort into it. I know I did. What a waste.

I don't buy 10% of this, after another 10% rebate. I'm not sure you meant it that way, but it looks quite narcissistic. Not only the kind of people who operate like you push humankind towards progress. We all know stories of lousy-student rise to genius. John Backus, Thomas Alva Edison, Einstein... You know why? Because they're spectacular stories. There have been plenty of geniuses who also happened to be good students, but nobody cares for that detail because it's expected and therefore uninformative. And if anyone is pissed about the quality of higher education in the US, they'll have to move to Mars. US has the best in the world.

I was talking about lower education. Finland may top the world today in lower education quality, but it sure wasn't like that where I went to school (45 years ago). But I agree, higher education in the US is the top, no question.
Apr 02 2009
parent reply "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"Georg Wrede" <georg.wrede iki.fi> wrote in message 
news:gr3f91$92a$1 digitalmars.com...
 But I agree, higher education in the US is the top, no question.

If that's the case it just goes to show how terrible "education" is worldwide.
Apr 02 2009
parent Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 "Georg Wrede" <georg.wrede iki.fi> wrote in message 
 news:gr3f91$92a$1 digitalmars.com...
 But I agree, higher education in the US is the top, no question.

If that's the case it just goes to show how terrible "education" is worldwide.

There may also be a few perspective illusions involved. I think most people all over the world would agree that universities like Stanford, MIT, Harvard, etc. are absolutely among the best in the world. (Of course, in many countries there are a couple of excellent universities, too. But the point is, there are quite a number of them in the US.) Most universities fall in the middle category, in the majority of countries. But, there are also a huge number of not-so-good universities in the US, while most of the universities in, say, the Nordic countries fall within a narrow range near each other. And, depending on what one has seen personally, of course, the views may vary. It would actually be quite interesting to have some listings, like countries listed by the worst 10% of universities, the best 10%, the best average, etc. Or to see a list of universities by academic citations, or the same divided by turnover or student count. Or some metric on alumni success. (But since few of us genuinely have much freedom in choosing worldwide the university for our kids, it'd probably only depress us...) Like, there are quite a few countries that do not have a single university with a Nobel laureate on the faculty.
Apr 02 2009
prev sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Georg Wrede wrote:
 OTOH, to make things really happen, we need the other kind of guys. 
 Those of us who want to understand. They're the ones who advance the 
 state of the art, and without that, we'd still be traveling on steam 
 trains. I just wish there were more schools and pedagogic knowledge (and 
 good teachers, of course) to make things interesting and fun for us 
 others. But without that, many students get by with so-so grades, having 
 invested only 10% of their effort into it. I know I did. What a waste.

I'm not sure I agree with the idea that a professor should make the material entertaining. Sometimes I get frustrated with Nova and all its eye-candy, and want to yell at them to get to the meat. I see many efforts to remove the work from learning difficult concepts. I think they're all failures. You actually have to work to learn things, and work takes effort and sweat. No pain, no gain. If you need entertainment and inspiration, go watch Star Trek <g>.
Apr 02 2009
parent Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Georg Wrede wrote:
 OTOH, to make things really happen, we need the other kind of guys. 
 Those of us who want to understand. They're the ones who advance the 
 state of the art, and without that, we'd still be traveling on steam 
 trains. I just wish there were more schools and pedagogic knowledge 
 (and good teachers, of course) to make things interesting and fun for 
 us others. But without that, many students get by with so-so grades, 
 having invested only 10% of their effort into it. I know I did. What a 
 waste.

I'm not sure I agree with the idea that a professor should make the material entertaining. Sometimes I get frustrated with Nova and all its eye-candy, and want to yell at them to get to the meat.

I was talking about pre-university. That's where the interest in math, chemistry and physics should come from. I was lucky to spend my childhood in rural/suburban settings, where machinery, home building, snow plowing, etc. gave me the opportunity to begin to understand physics already before school, just by observing. (Kids from really urban settings are at a disadvantage here. But then they go study law, political science, medicine, and I guess that's good for them. These things are important, too.)
 I see many efforts to remove the work from learning difficult concepts. 
 I think they're all failures. You actually have to work to learn things, 
 and work takes effort and sweat. No pain, no gain.

By the time one gets into university, one should already have both the passion, and the routine of regularly doing one's homework. Oh, and the amazing thing, reading your school books even past the page of the day!! Learning these things when already at the university is time away from the real meat, while the other students blaze on towards the really interesting stuff -- where you'll never even get because you become a drop-out. (Tried it.)
 If you need entertainment and inspiration, go watch Star Trek <g>.

Good thing I got kids, gives a perfect excuse to watch SciFi.
Apr 04 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
== Quote from dsimcha (dsimcha yahoo.com)'s article
 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 If there's one thing my
 school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in
 focusing on the low-to-mid-range students.

low-to-mid-range student there

measured is pretty flawed in that it doesn't predict who will be successful afterword. I just finished undergrad a couple years ago and I feel that the kinds of multiple choice exams you get in huge lecture-based classes are good at testing rote memorization and superficial understanding and the ability to get inside the professor's head, where as what's important is the ability to take your knowledge and apply it to something useful or use it to create more knowledge.

I definitely would try to avoid universities where multiple-choice tests are the norm (oddly, I've heard that UC Berkeley falls into this category, and as a result it's also apparently a haven for cheaters). I went back to finish my undergrad degree recently and despite being at a large state school the classes were all a reasonable size and the grades derived from a combination of homework and actual problem-solving quizzes and exams. Now a prospective employer may not know or care what format your classes followed, but I'd personally put more stock in a degree that was obtained from as few multiple-choice tests as possible.
Apr 02 2009
next sibling parent reply bearophile <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> writes:
Sean Kelly:
 and the grades derived from a combination of homework and actual
problem-solving quizzes and exams.<

In my university (biology, computer science) most grades come from: - How well you do practical tests and exercises done in laboratory (usually programming exercises in computer science, and written documents in biology labs), even in math classes. - One, two or even three written tests along the way along each of the 1 semester courses, where you have to explain and write down things, write code on paper, etc. (surely not multi-choice quizzes). - And finally nearly all courses have one final oral examination (sometimes even two, because the lab assistant may ask some questions too), that is usually the harder thing, each student has to discuss with one or two teachers for 20-40 minutes (once I have seen a 70 minutes long oral examination for a botany-related course). Usually oral examination is the things that has more effect on the final result of the exam. So cheating isn't much useful, you just make the teacher trust you even less. And teachers tell to each other what students are more likely to try to cheat. Only 5-7 of the first classes are filled with 50-200 students, all the following courses are filled with 10-40 students. Bye, bearophile
Apr 02 2009
parent reply grauzone <none example.net> writes:
 In my university (biology, computer science) most grades come from:

- How much you pay your Professor At least that's what I heard about Italian universities.
Apr 02 2009
parent reply bearophile <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> writes:
grauzone:

 To add:
 - How much you pay your Professor
 At least that's what I heard about Italian universities.

Yes, in the some universities of the south (and probably some in the center) this happens now and then. But it's much less common in natural sciences (because you have to know what you have studied in past courses to understand the following ones). And it's almost unheard of in my university. And about 60-70% of the teachers are good enough. Students of the south that want a good university sometimes go to the center or north. Then there are things like CEPU that help students face exams, and despite being legal they produce nothing good, just more ignorant people. Bye, bearophile
Apr 02 2009
parent Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
bearophile wrote:
 grauzone:
 
 To add: - How much you pay your Professor At least that's what I
 heard about Italian universities.

Yes, in the some universities of the south (and probably some in the center) this happens now and then. But it's much less common in natural sciences (because you have to know what you have studied in past courses to understand the following ones). And it's almost unheard of in my university. And about 60-70% of the teachers are good enough. Students of the south that want a good university sometimes go to the center or north. Then there are things like CEPU that help students face exams, and despite being legal they produce nothing good, just more ignorant people.

That has to do with the overall corruption in the region so the information content is low. Going to a crappy school in an overall corrupt region kind of sets up the stage nicely :o). If anything, the university will be a local moral maximum. I went to university in a corrupt country and at a corrupt historical time. However, professors had integrity. Our class of 30 bought a bottle of whiskey for one who was known to need some greasing, but that was all. I learned there about Banach spaces and by golly if I'd forgotten all about them I couldn't have proved a quintessential theorem in my dissertation 19 years later. Andrei
Apr 02 2009
prev sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 I definitely would try to avoid universities where multiple-choice tests are
the norm
 (oddly, I've heard that UC Berkeley falls into this category, and as a result
it's also
 apparently a haven for cheaters).  I went back to finish my undergrad degree
recently
 and despite being at a large state school the classes were all a reasonable
size and
 the grades derived from a combination of homework and actual problem-solving
 quizzes and exams.  Now a prospective employer may not know or care what format
 your classes followed, but I'd personally put more stock in a degree that was
obtained
 from as few multiple-choice tests as possible.

As I said before, as a matter of school policy, Caltech did not allow multiple choice exams. It also, as a matter of policy, did not allow homework to be part of the grade (unless the homework was the whole point of the course, like a lab course). The homework could only be used as a bias in case the grade was on the edge or there was some special circumstance. In other words, the grades were based on the midterm and final. This naturally made finals week very, very stressful. On the other hand, if you never went to class, never did any homework, never saw the professor, swooped in and aced the final, you got an A. There were some that did this <g>. I was in awe.
Apr 02 2009
parent reply Don <nospam nospam.com> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 I definitely would try to avoid universities where multiple-choice 
 tests are the norm
 (oddly, I've heard that UC Berkeley falls into this category, and as a 
 result it's also
 apparently a haven for cheaters).  I went back to finish my undergrad 
 degree recently
 and despite being at a large state school the classes were all a 
 reasonable size and
 the grades derived from a combination of homework and actual 
 problem-solving
 quizzes and exams.  Now a prospective employer may not know or care 
 what format
 your classes followed, but I'd personally put more stock in a degree 
 that was obtained
 from as few multiple-choice tests as possible.

As I said before, as a matter of school policy, Caltech did not allow multiple choice exams. It also, as a matter of policy, did not allow homework to be part of the grade (unless the homework was the whole point of the course, like a lab course). The homework could only be used as a bias in case the grade was on the edge or there was some special circumstance. In other words, the grades were based on the midterm and final. This naturally made finals week very, very stressful. On the other hand, if you never went to class, never did any homework, never saw the professor, swooped in and aced the final, you got an A. There were some that did this <g>. I was in awe.

I managed that for one CompSci subject. It was called "System Structures". I have no idea what the subject was about, since I hadn't attended a single lecture; but I came first in the exam. At the same time, I got 12% for one intermediate exam in Organic Chemistry, which I'd been very diligent in -- I was dreadful at rote memorisation.
Apr 03 2009
next sibling parent Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Don wrote:
 At the same time, I got 12% for one intermediate exam in Organic 
 Chemistry, which I'd been very diligent in -- I was dreadful at rote 
 memorisation.

I hated chemistry and did correspondingly badly in it.
Apr 03 2009
prev sibling parent dsimcha <dsimcha yahoo.com> writes:
== Quote from Don (nospam nospam.com)'s article
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Sean Kelly wrote:
 I definitely would try to avoid universities where multiple-choice
 tests are the norm
 (oddly, I've heard that UC Berkeley falls into this category, and as a
 result it's also
 apparently a haven for cheaters).  I went back to finish my undergrad
 degree recently
 and despite being at a large state school the classes were all a
 reasonable size and
 the grades derived from a combination of homework and actual
 problem-solving
 quizzes and exams.  Now a prospective employer may not know or care
 what format
 your classes followed, but I'd personally put more stock in a degree
 that was obtained
 from as few multiple-choice tests as possible.

As I said before, as a matter of school policy, Caltech did not allow multiple choice exams. It also, as a matter of policy, did not allow homework to be part of the grade (unless the homework was the whole point of the course, like a lab course). The homework could only be used as a bias in case the grade was on the edge or there was some special circumstance. In other words, the grades were based on the midterm and final. This naturally made finals week very, very stressful. On the other hand, if you never went to class, never did any homework, never saw the professor, swooped in and aced the final, you got an A. There were some that did this <g>. I was in awe.

Structures". I have no idea what the subject was about, since I hadn't attended a single lecture; but I came first in the exam. At the same time, I got 12% for one intermediate exam in Organic Chemistry, which I'd been very diligent in -- I was dreadful at rote memorisation.

Yeah, my initial most about multiple choice exams, etc. should have mentioned that I was primarily referring to my experience in Organic Chemistry and only a few other classes. I went to Rutgers, and most of the experience was good, but a few of the large lecture classes, especially the ones with mostly multiple choice exams, definitely weren't. Heck, even the non-multiple choice questions in orgo were primarily about regurgitation and rote memorization.
Apr 03 2009
prev sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
dsimcha wrote:
 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 If there's one thing my
 school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in
 focusing on the low-to-mid-range students.

low-to-mid-range student there

...Which kind of proves the point that the way knowledge/learning in college is measured is pretty flawed in that it doesn't predict who will be successful afterword. I just finished undergrad a couple years ago and I feel that the kinds of multiple choice exams you get in huge lecture-based classes are good at testing rote memorization and superficial understanding and the ability to get inside the professor's head, where as what's important is the ability to take your knowledge and apply it to something useful or use it to create more knowledge.

Multiple choice exams were against the rules at Caltech (even though we did have a few huge lecture-based classes). I'll still hold forth, however, that you're going to get out of it what you are willing to put into it. If you're only going to target getting a degree, I wouldn't hire you. If you are in college to get the most out of the experience (and there are huge opportunities for that in college), your results will be far better. 90% of the classes I took I selected because they interested me and I thought they were important. I made sure I understood front to back every single homework problem, and every exam problem I got wrong. I also paid for most of it out of a part time and summer job, and I'm sure that paying the tuition bills influenced my attitude as well <g>. I wanted my money's worth. Another factor was the attitude that Caltech had towards its students. It treated them like adults. I had never experienced that before. Caltech does not proctor exams, does not have curfews, does not attempt to control what goes on in the dorms, professors are not allowed to take attendance, etc. Most of the students quickly responded to that and behaved like responsible adults. And then we had great events like Carl Sagan coming to dinner at our dorm, guest lectures from folks like Richard Feynmann, and the people running the JPL probes, etc. If all you got out of all that was a degree, too bad, so sad <g>.
Apr 02 2009
next sibling parent reply "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"Walter Bright" <newshound1 digitalmars.com> wrote in message 
news:gr452t$1h3s$1 digitalmars.com...
 90% of the classes I took I selected because they interested me and I 
 thought they were important. I made sure I understood front to back every 
 single homework problem, and every exam problem I got wrong. I also paid 
 for most of it out of a part time and summer job, and I'm sure that paying 
 the tuition bills influenced my attitude as well <g>. I wanted my money's 
 worth.

In all of the schools I've looked at, 90% of the classes were already chosen for you. The only choices you typically have are when you take a particular class (as in, during what semester, etc), a small handful of electives and a few "course A or course B and then either C or D", etc. Not really much of an issue of choice for the most part.
 Another factor was the attitude that Caltech had towards its students. It 
 treated them like adults. I had never experienced that before.

Compared to being a high school student, just about anything is far, far less patronizing. (Not that that excuses colleges that treat their students like meat.)
 Caltech does not proctor exams, does not have curfews, does not attempt to 
 control what goes on in the dorms, professors are not allowed to take 
 attendance, etc. Most of the students quickly responded to that and 
 behaved like responsible adults.

I've never heard of curfews at a college. For a school that actually charges the students tuition, that would just simply be absurd. "Here, I'll give you thousands of dollars so you can enforce a curfew on me", Yea right. I can't imagine that ever flying. And I'd count anyone who has bought into such a thing as having a clear mental deficiency. Also, I've seen very, very little of dorm activity being controlled. Typically any restrictions are just fire hazard issues and other such sensible things. I've heard that Ohio State University "officially" has some restriction about opposite-gender overnight guests that doesn't really get enforced, but that's Ohio State, it barely counts as a real college anyway. It's more like a combination football-franchise-slash-babysitter-for-developmentally-stunted-twenty-year-olds.
 And then we had great events like Carl Sagan coming to dinner at our dorm, 
 guest lectures from folks like Richard Feynmann, and the people running 
 the JPL probes, etc. If all you got out of all that was a degree, too bad, 
 so sad <g>.

Well, when it comes to college, what you're paying for are the classes and the degree (and, of course, books/room/board). So I'm certainly going to measure it's worth with that in mind. Having a dinner with Carl Segan, as great as he was, is hardly worth $100,000, unless you're filthy stinking rich.
Apr 02 2009
next sibling parent reply Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Well, when it comes to college, what you're paying for are the classes and 
 the degree (and, of course, books/room/board). So I'm certainly going to 
 measure it's worth with that in mind. Having a dinner with Carl Segan, as 
 great as he was, is hardly worth $100,000, unless you're filthy stinking 
 rich. 

You could view it as paying for classes and a degree, and some colleges certainly operate it that way. I look at it as more of paying for the environment, much like I'd pay entry to a nice buffet filled with delicious treats to choose from <g>.
Apr 03 2009
next sibling parent Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Well, when it comes to college, what you're paying for are the classes 
 and the degree (and, of course, books/room/board). So I'm certainly 
 going to measure it's worth with that in mind. Having a dinner with 
 Carl Segan, as great as he was, is hardly worth $100,000, unless 
 you're filthy stinking rich. 

You could view it as paying for classes and a degree, and some colleges certainly operate it that way. I look at it as more of paying for the environment, much like I'd pay entry to a nice buffet filled with delicious treats to choose from <g>.

Yes. If you know why you're going, that's what you'd do. Those who go because Daddy sez, they just want the classes and the degree. Preferably without even the classes. :-)
Apr 04 2009
prev sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Well, when it comes to college, what you're paying for are the classes 
 and the degree (and, of course, books/room/board). So I'm certainly 
 going to measure it's worth with that in mind. Having a dinner with 
 Carl Segan, as great as he was, is hardly worth $100,000, unless 
 you're filthy stinking rich. 

You could view it as paying for classes and a degree, and some colleges certainly operate it that way. I look at it as more of paying for the environment, much like I'd pay entry to a nice buffet filled with delicious treats to choose from <g>.

I think you really are paying for the degree--the environment is just a perk, assuming you're lucky enough to be at a school that has such an environment. The first university I attended (I went to three altogether) was a highly regarded school, particularly for their engineering program. One evening I was at a party and brought up some marginally intellectual topic in conversation. Someone standing nearby turned to me and said "dude shut up, we're not in class." That sadly typified the environment at that particular university. Perhaps not surprisingly, I transferred away not long after. The second university was closer to home, smaller, and had a more study-oriented environment overall. But it was also less challenging, and didn't offer a single evening class. I got a job in R&D while looking for a job one summer and after a semester or two of juggling a full-time job and day classes with an hour commute between the two I couldn't take it any more and dropped out. It was a decent school overall, but certainly didn't have the kind of environment you're talking about. Finally, I decided to go back to school and finish my degree maybe six years ago, and basically had to start from scratch. I went to a local community college to cover the distributional requirements and then transferred to a state university. A large segment of the students commuted and many of them worked, which may help explain why most of them seemed there for the degree rather than the education. But many of the professors were excellent and as I was some 15 years older than most of the students I didn't really care about the student environment anyway--I spent most of my time talking to the teachers instead. I'm not sure if my experiences are typical, but I can say with confidence that I've never been in an environment like you've described. If I had I probably would have enjoyed school a lot more, and may not have taken 18 years to finish my undergrad degree :-) I'm still thinking about going back for my masters and possibly a phd, but certainly not because of any fond memories I have of my time in college.
Apr 04 2009
parent superdan <super dan.org> writes:
Sean Kelly Wrote:

 Walter Bright wrote:
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 Well, when it comes to college, what you're paying for are the classes 
 and the degree (and, of course, books/room/board). So I'm certainly 
 going to measure it's worth with that in mind. Having a dinner with 
 Carl Segan, as great as he was, is hardly worth $100,000, unless 
 you're filthy stinking rich. 

You could view it as paying for classes and a degree, and some colleges certainly operate it that way. I look at it as more of paying for the environment, much like I'd pay entry to a nice buffet filled with delicious treats to choose from <g>.

I think you really are paying for the degree--the environment is just a perk, assuming you're lucky enough to be at a school that has such an environment. The first university I attended (I went to three altogether) was a highly regarded school, particularly for their engineering program. One evening I was at a party and brought up some marginally intellectual topic in conversation. Someone standing nearby turned to me and said "dude shut up, we're not in class." That sadly typified the environment at that particular university. Perhaps not surprisingly, I transferred away not long after. The second university was closer to home, smaller, and had a more study-oriented environment overall. But it was also less challenging, and didn't offer a single evening class. I got a job in R&D while looking for a job one summer and after a semester or two of juggling a full-time job and day classes with an hour commute between the two I couldn't take it any more and dropped out. It was a decent school overall, but certainly didn't have the kind of environment you're talking about. Finally, I decided to go back to school and finish my degree maybe six years ago, and basically had to start from scratch. I went to a local community college to cover the distributional requirements and then transferred to a state university. A large segment of the students commuted and many of them worked, which may help explain why most of them seemed there for the degree rather than the education. But many of the professors were excellent and as I was some 15 years older than most of the students I didn't really care about the student environment anyway--I spent most of my time talking to the teachers instead. I'm not sure if my experiences are typical, but I can say with confidence that I've never been in an environment like you've described. If I had I probably would have enjoyed school a lot more, and may not have taken 18 years to finish my undergrad degree :-) I'm still thinking about going back for my masters and possibly a phd, but certainly not because of any fond memories I have of my time in college.

sup dawgz. good thread. my 2c follow. secondary education here sucks goat balls. dee told me in japan kids take exams since they was in da womb. my hardest exam in highschool was to break the nose of a moron before he broke mine. in us they let you take it too easy and assert yer shit and all dat shit. we have debate fucking class but no serious math n shit. my fist is debate. teach me fucking hard science thats wut school is 4. and if yer poor forget goin' to a decent college. teacher motherfucking comm college in east baltimore knew less pascal than me. and i fucking hate pascal.
Apr 04 2009
prev sibling parent Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 
 In all of the schools I've looked at, 90% of the classes were already chosen 
 for you. The only choices you typically have are when you take a particular 
 class (as in, during what semester, etc), a small handful of electives and a 
 few "course A or course B and then either C or D", etc. Not really much of 
 an issue of choice for the most part.

This was definitely the case in my engineering program my first time in school. The major had so many requirements that they wedged in full courses for half credit to get under the per-semester course limit.
Apr 03 2009
prev sibling next sibling parent reply Sean Kelly <sean invisibleduck.org> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 
 Multiple choice exams were against the rules at Caltech (even though we 
 did have a few huge lecture-based classes).
 
 I'll still hold forth, however, that you're going to get out of it what 
 you are willing to put into it. If you're only going to target getting a 
 degree, I wouldn't hire you. If you are in college to get the most out 
 of the experience (and there are huge opportunities for that in 
 college), your results will be far better.

Definitely. I never understood people who were trying for a degree or job for money or other reasons instead of because they were interested in the work. If you've got to do it every day then you should enjoy it. I've never met someone who was good in their field if they didn't enjoy the work either.
 90% of the classes I took I selected because they interested me and I 
 thought they were important. I made sure I understood front to back 
 every single homework problem, and every exam problem I got wrong. I 
 also paid for most of it out of a part time and summer job, and I'm sure 
 that paying the tuition bills influenced my attitude as well <g>. I 
 wanted my money's worth.

I'd just like to chime in here that you shouldn't go to college until you're ready go all the way through. I dropped out after three years the first time (landed a career by accident and couldn't manage doing both), and having that school record when I returned a decade later actually hurt me instead of helped me. When I went back to school I didn't have the luxury of taking what I wanted because I had a full-time job as well, and while I managed to find some cool courses anyway, I still wish I'd been able to take a few that simply weren't offered at a good time. The biggest struggle the second time around were the courses I had to take for distributional requirements that I had absolutely no interest in whatsoever. Leisure Studies being one such, for example (it was the only course offered online that fit a requirement I had to meet).
Apr 03 2009
parent Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Sean Kelly wrote:
 Walter Bright wrote:
 Multiple choice exams were against the rules at Caltech (even though 
 we did have a few huge lecture-based classes).

 I'll still hold forth, however, that you're going to get out of it 
 what you are willing to put into it. If you're only going to target 
 getting a degree, I wouldn't hire you. If you are in college to get 
 the most out of the experience (and there are huge opportunities for 
 that in college), your results will be far better.

Definitely. I never understood people who were trying for a degree or job for money or other reasons instead of because they were interested in the work. If you've got to do it every day then you should enjoy it. I've never met someone who was good in their field if they didn't enjoy the work either.
 90% of the classes I took I selected because they interested me and I 
 thought they were important. I made sure I understood front to back 
 every single homework problem, and every exam problem I got wrong. I 
 also paid for most of it out of a part time and summer job, and I'm 
 sure that paying the tuition bills influenced my attitude as well <g>. 
 I wanted my money's worth.

I'd just like to chime in here that you shouldn't go to college until you're ready go all the way through. I dropped out after three years the first time (landed a career by accident and couldn't manage doing both), and having that school record when I returned a decade later actually hurt me instead of helped me. When I went back to school I didn't have the luxury of taking what I wanted because I had a full-time job as well, and while I managed to find some cool courses anyway, I still wish I'd been able to take a few that simply weren't offered at a good time. The biggest struggle the second time around were the courses I had to take for distributional requirements that I had absolutely no interest in whatsoever. Leisure Studies being one such, for example (it was the only course offered online that fit a requirement I had to meet).

Got a similar life. After badly gone entrance exams, round here the universities have a joint entrance exam, and the better ones get to pick and choose. I never had learnt to seriously work for exams, so I fared lousy, so my only choice was to go to a crappy "rural" university. They didn't even have a single computer in 1977, although I had already written my first FORTRAN programs 8 years earlier. (At home, with no computer to run them on. :-( ) The first semester was math and engineering drawing. The math was lectured mostly by some 2nd year students, who I think didn't understand the math themselves! The drawing was ink on translucent paper. My hands weren't steady enough, and all the professor ever cared about were that lines meet literally perfectly and that the numbers and text had to look printed. I hated every bit of it. And instead of on-campus dorms, we lived in large buildings in the middle of woods, with no life around, ten miles from town. After the first year I quit. Then ten years and a a career in telemarketing (where I initially got because you didn't need a CV!), I sold my firm and decided to get a university degree, no matter what. Sort of, just to get even with fate. So I went to study business at a minority university. And I didn't care one bit about the crap they were teaching, I only wanted a master's degree. By that time there were actually computers around. (The 286, if anybody today knows what that means.) And the university had a HP 3000 early model (with a totally disgusting OS and a text editor that made *vi* look like a Ferrari and Lexus combined). But hey, I got a job at the computer center, took every single class that even remotely was IT related, and got a degree. I guess I can say I got reasonably even with fate...
Apr 04 2009
prev sibling parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Walter Bright wrote:
 dsimcha wrote:
 == Quote from Walter Bright (newshound1 digitalmars.com)'s article
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 If there's one thing my
 school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in
 focusing on the low-to-mid-range students.

low-to-mid-range student there

...Which kind of proves the point that the way knowledge/learning in college is measured is pretty flawed in that it doesn't predict who will be successful afterword. I just finished undergrad a couple years ago and I feel that the kinds of multiple choice exams you get in huge lecture-based classes are good at testing rote memorization and superficial understanding and the ability to get inside the professor's head, where as what's important is the ability to take your knowledge and apply it to something useful or use it to create more knowledge.

Multiple choice exams were against the rules at Caltech (even though we did have a few huge lecture-based classes). I'll still hold forth, however, that you're going to get out of it what you are willing to put into it. If you're only going to target getting a degree, I wouldn't hire you. If you are in college to get the most out of the experience (and there are huge opportunities for that in college), your results will be far better. 90% of the classes I took I selected because they interested me and I thought they were important. I made sure I understood front to back every single homework problem, and every exam problem I got wrong. I also paid for most of it out of a part time and summer job, and I'm sure that paying the tuition bills influenced my attitude as well <g>. I wanted my money's worth.

Back here universities are free as in Beer. Students get a loan from the bank, guaranteed by the state. It used to work ok, but now an increasing number of students work both summer and semester, to finance their living. Helsinki is one expensive place to live in.
 Another factor was the attitude that Caltech had towards its students. 
 It treated them like adults. I had never experienced that before. 
 Caltech does not proctor exams, does not have curfews, does not attempt 
 to control what goes on in the dorms, professors are not allowed to take 
 attendance, etc. Most of the students quickly responded to that and 
 behaved like responsible adults.
 
 And then we had great events like Carl Sagan coming to dinner at our 
 dorm, guest lectures from folks like Richard Feynmann, and the people 
 running the JPL probes, etc. If all you got out of all that was a 
 degree, too bad, so sad <g>.

You make me cry. That's exactly the kind of place where I thought at 14 I'd be when in university. And I still wish. :-( As a child I read SciAm (from 12 on), and read about all this way cool stuff the folks at MIT and the other places do, and my goal was to go to America to study. Then some crap happened at home.
Apr 04 2009
parent "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"Georg Wrede" <georg.wrede iki.fi> wrote in message 
news:gr7p2o$2neh$1 digitalmars.com...

 As a child I read SciAm (from 12 on), and read about all this way cool 
 stuff the folks at MIT and the other places do, and my goal was to go to 
 America to study. Then some crap happened at home.

MIT is for rich kids.
Apr 06 2009
prev sibling parent reply "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"Walter Bright" <newshound1 digitalmars.com> wrote in message 
news:gr31gj$2du5$1 digitalmars.com...
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 They would be far better off saving their time and money by not even 
 going, but they almost *have* to go anyway just because the rest of 
 society (and HR drones in particular) are brainwashed into thinking that 
 there's a direct correlation between academics and competence (if 
 anything, it's slightly inverse - one of the smartest people I know had 
 so much trouble with school he ended up a high school dropout).

My 4 years at Caltech were transformative to me, particularly in my problem solving skills.

College was quite transformative for me as well, just in different way: It make me an enormous cynic ;) But maybe tech schools are different. The ones I went to were typical "traditional" ones.
Apr 02 2009
parent Walter Bright <newshound1 digitalmars.com> writes:
Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 College was quite transformative for me as well, just in different way: It 
 make me an enormous cynic ;)

I imagine there is the gamut of quality in universities and peoples' experiences. My going to Caltech was an accident of circumstance, one of the happy accidents in my life. The way Caltech operated suited my personality and style.
 But maybe tech schools are different. The ones I went to were typical 
 "traditional" ones. 

I have no experience with them.
Apr 02 2009
prev sibling parent reply Georg Wrede <georg.wrede iki.fi> writes:
Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 "bearophile" <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> wrote in message 
 news:gr1l57$vu5$1 digitalmars.com...
 Nick Sabalausky:
 Sounds like most of the CS classes I had in college.<

interested in those classes (or you can even act alone), and ask the teacher to change the style or way, explaining him/her to slow down or speed up topics. Most teachers if asked kindly are willing to change their speed, especially if there's enough time to slow down.

Heh, it's much too late for that. Been out of college for awhile now ;) Besides, it probably wouldn't have worked anyway. Most of my classmates had practically zero experience outside of class, so they probably did need that (and don't get me started on the complete ineptitude of the CS *grad* students I met. Hell, even some of the cs phd profs didn't know what the hell they were doing, I have stories about all of that...), whereas I've been coding practically since I learned to read. If there's one thing my school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in focusing on the low-to-mid-range students. The advanced ones are only there to shell out tuition money and act as cheap tutors. They would be far better off saving their time and money by not even going, but they almost *have* to go anyway just because the rest of society (and HR drones in particular) are brainwashed into thinking that there's a direct correlation between academics and competence (if anything, it's slightly inverse - one of the smartest people I know had so much trouble with school he ended up a high school dropout).

Sigh. Amen to that. :-( Been there, both as a university teacher, a student, and a job seeker. It's simply depressing. And I don't even want to get started on this.
Apr 02 2009
parent "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"Georg Wrede" <georg.wrede iki.fi> wrote in message 
news:gr31tc$2dsk$2 digitalmars.com...
 Nick Sabalausky wrote:
 "bearophile" <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> wrote in message 
 news:gr1l57$vu5$1 digitalmars.com...
 Nick Sabalausky:
 Sounds like most of the CS classes I had in college.<

interested in those classes (or you can even act alone), and ask the teacher to change the style or way, explaining him/her to slow down or speed up topics. Most teachers if asked kindly are willing to change their speed, especially if there's enough time to slow down.

Heh, it's much too late for that. Been out of college for awhile now ;) Besides, it probably wouldn't have worked anyway. Most of my classmates had practically zero experience outside of class, so they probably did need that (and don't get me started on the complete ineptitude of the CS *grad* students I met. Hell, even some of the cs phd profs didn't know what the hell they were doing, I have stories about all of that...), whereas I've been coding practically since I learned to read. If there's one thing my school experience taught me, it's that teachers are only interested in focusing on the low-to-mid-range students. The advanced ones are only there to shell out tuition money and act as cheap tutors. They would be far better off saving their time and money by not even going, but they almost *have* to go anyway just because the rest of society (and HR drones in particular) are brainwashed into thinking that there's a direct correlation between academics and competence (if anything, it's slightly inverse - one of the smartest people I know had so much trouble with school he ended up a high school dropout).

Sigh. Amen to that. :-( Been there, both as a university teacher, a student, and a job seeker. It's simply depressing. And I don't even want to get started on this.

I could probably fill a book with all of the various problems I observed with the "education" system. Maybe I should write one...But I'd probably just give myself a heart attack just thinking about all of it (and I have good blood pressure!).
Apr 02 2009