56 votes

Why is computer science hard?

The difficulty of CS (true or imagined) and the drop out rates are not the same thing. Let me start an answer, but it might take several iterations to get all my thoughts together on the two ideas. ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 36k
38 votes

Why is computer science hard?

First, I somewhat dispute the premise of the question. I don't necessarily believe that it is harder. I think there may be some other elements at play. Unlike many other college fields, students ...
Ben I.'s user avatar
  • 32.9k
23 votes

Why is computer science hard?

Here's an attempt at an answer, with some reflections, and then hopefully at the end a concise reply that we could deliver to an introductory student. For the purposes of this answer, I'll assume that ...
Daniel R. Collins's user avatar
17 votes

Why is computer science hard?

From my experiences (I studied about 15-20 years ago, and my cohort lost 50% of students within the first four semesters), the main reasons are these: Many students do not really know what CS is ...
AnoE's user avatar
  • 1,379
12 votes

What can the instructor do to overcome the Authenticity Bias in students?

Share their own struggles. Period. The instructor can start dispelling the myth by sharing his/her own story (replete with self-doubt, struggle, and frustration most likely) about studying computer ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 9,082
12 votes

Why is computer science hard?

Maybe some of those who "fail" should have been somewhere else rather than funneled into computer science. There needs to be a differentiation between those who want to study computer ...
JRE's user avatar
  • 241
10 votes

Finishing College with Employable Skills

The kinds of things suggested in your question and many similar things won't help them. Learning some other "tool" or "language" or "technique" at a beginners level will still leave them with just a ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 36k
9 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to study too many things in parallel?

Actually, what you want to do is commendable. And no, at the scale of things you talk about, I don't think you are likely to get yourself confused. In fact, you may have the opportunity to learn ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 36k
8 votes

How to overcome the TDD/BDD time fallacy

I believe that the reason why students tend to come out opposed to using TDD/BDD (testing) is because they've been assigned to use it when it isn't necessary. Testing a "Hello World" program is 100% a ...
thesecretmaster's user avatar
  • 4,795
8 votes

Why is computer science hard?

Looking back on my experience and education as a software engineer, I think the largest inherent contributors of difficulty in computer science are that it has exceptionally strict and unforgiving ...
Douglas's user avatar
  • 181
7 votes
Accepted

What can the instructor do to overcome the Authenticity Bias in students?

First, your classroom needs to be comfortable. No one's going to do well if they fear being called nerdy or some such nonsense. I myself have unfortunately been insulted along those lines, and though ...
auden's user avatar
  • 4,684
6 votes

How to overcome the TDD/BDD time fallacy

The whole point of TDD is to try and reduce the number of defects in software. If your students are confident enough to think that they won't benefit from automated testing, fine — but have some tests ...
Aurora0001's user avatar
  • 3,506
6 votes

How to overcome the TDD/BDD time fallacy

Give an assignment to write a function or class, and give stub code that includes tests. Initially all the tests fail. Let the students know that these and other similar tests will determine score ...
droid's user avatar
  • 161
6 votes

Why is computer science hard?

In addition to the many good answers on here, as a past student, TA and instructor in CS — most programming assignments and projects often take large amount of time, even if slimmed down to just ...
Erika's user avatar
  • 161
5 votes

How to overcome the TDD/BDD time fallacy

The point of TDD, like many of the other answers have been saying, isn't really to test the code and find bugs, but to codify your requirements. Having requirements that are codified is useful when ...
FirstLastname's user avatar
5 votes

Finishing College with Employable Skills

Look at their skills, look at their passion. It they have passion for something, then they will do much better. This passion can not be based on, I think there is money in this. If their passion is ...
ctrl-alt-delor's user avatar
5 votes

What can the instructor do to overcome the Authenticity Bias in students?

Give the grade not yet, when they don't pass. Don't give grades that they can compare with each other. Praise effort, strategy, progress “This is an interesting ...
ctrl-alt-delor's user avatar
5 votes

Why is computer science hard?

Computer science demands a set of qualities, some of which are somewhat antithetical. One is the attention to detail. Another is the creative ability to build strong abstractions that are both ...
ncmathsadist's user avatar
  • 2,319
4 votes

What can the instructor do to overcome the Authenticity Bias in students?

When I want a student to look something up or learn something new on their own, I find that they resist that task, often because they think what I'm asking them to do is challenging. I have found ...
CS Cheerleader's user avatar
4 votes

Usefullness of Study Guide

I have seen instructors call a wide range of documents "study guides". They have ranged from test "simulations" which are old tests with tweaked questions to a 1 page .txt print out with a bullet ...
red_squiggly_line's user avatar
4 votes

Usefullness of Study Guide

I do study guides because some students may need to list the information just once more to get it. What if they hadn't had that opportunity? They may have missed it. And, let's face it, do a lot of ...
Java Jive's user avatar
  • 2,349
4 votes

Usefullness of Study Guide

In many ways the best study guide is one that the students themselves write. This can be done incrementally throughout the course and is useful even in the absence of exams. There are two ways to go ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 36k
4 votes

Usefullness of Study Guide

Goal-oriented action Part of this really depends on your goals in administering the exam. If your goal is the traditional idea of creating a nice bell-curve to rank students, having a study guide ...
Ben I.'s user avatar
  • 32.9k
4 votes

Is it possible to study too many things in parallel?

First of all, kudos to you for wishing to enrich yourself! In addition to Buffy's fine answer, I might recommend an approach to self-studies that I once learned that ensures steady progress on ...
Ben I.'s user avatar
  • 32.9k
3 votes

How can we determine which students are a good fit for an educational program?

tl;dr Approximate the "real world" practice/environment as the assessment. Pre-setup To begin with, I'm going to presume that there is some form or pre-screening, and/or qualification process. I.e.: ...
Gypsy Spellweaver's user avatar
3 votes

How to answer questions about how I became interested in programming?

If you are doing a good job of teaching then your students probably think you are smarter than you really are. They may also think that you arrived magically at your current position without effort or ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 36k
3 votes
Accepted

Finishing College with Employable Skills

My opinion is that Essential Web is the way to go in this specific situation. 1. It is clearly employable. I'm inferring from the post that at least one of the motivations of the students in ...
RageCage's user avatar
  • 236
3 votes

Why is computer science hard?

Computer Science, as taught, is a combination of Mathematics and Computer Programming. Mathematics is the part that is the theory of computing, and programming is the art of applying it. I'll dub the ...
Yakk's user avatar
  • 321
2 votes

How to overcome the TDD/BDD time fallacy

The first mistake teachers usually make is not changing the point of view: Unittests should be recognizes as "verifies what my code does" and not as "verifies my code is right". Unittests are ...
Timothy Truckle's user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible