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54 votes

What controversies in computer science education exist today?

There is a big controversy about the purpose of "Computer Science" education specifically. This controversy has become hotter the the last few decades as CS has come to the fore as an ...
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  • 31.2k
54 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

This answer assumes that the course's goal is to teach programming (as opposed to teaching advanced algorithms or numerics etc. to which the programming would only be an end). In that case I'd hold: ...
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53 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

100% yes. In beginning courses, it's practically a cognitive requirement. Let me see if I can break down for you why it is so important. It comes down to what we can know that the student knows. ...
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51 votes
Accepted

Should test cases be made available to students for assessed assignments?

My best practice would be to provide students with test cases and require them to submit additional test cases with their code. Then run everyone's test cases against everyone's code. Let the students ...
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50 votes
Accepted

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Edit: This relatively high voted answer seems to be confusing to some, as it does not seem to give a clear answer. TL;DR: yes, doing tests on paper is usual at least in my university, at least many ...
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  • 1,379
47 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

Of course not, and I have trouble believing that anyone would truly entertain the other position in any serious way. The closest analog in another field would be if you were to present an essay in a ...
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  • 31.2k
44 votes

How can I convince my fellow CS teachers that reaching every student is a worthwhile goal?

Please don't... ...give the students who are ahead more of the same kind of work to do. Please. That's just boring. If they get it, they get it. ...make groups by mixing the students who are ahead ...
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  • 4,684
36 votes

What does a person with an undergraduate degree in CS still need to learn to be employable as a developer?

To know that you know nothing. Recent graduates can be afflicted by arrogance or low self worth. These are two sides of the same problem. It is important to know that you are at the beginning of a ...
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33 votes

How to teach Stack Overflow more efficiently?

I don't think the core issue is that some students are bad at using Stack Overflow -- I view that more as a symptom of a deeper root problem. When somebody doesn't seem to be able to productively ask ...
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  • 3,995
31 votes

What does a person with an undergraduate degree in CS still need to learn to be employable as a developer?

I suspect that the lions share of new CS grads seek jobs in what is actually software engineering, a related but different field. Things I see missing when I interview these people: An ability to ...
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  • 377
30 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

Following further with @Ben I.'s answer, I think the real problem is often not giving feedback about whether the program builds to the student in an inspectable and rapid manner, while also allowing ...
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  • 401
27 votes

What controversies in computer science education exist today?

I just did a quick scan of the SIGCSE-MEMBERS mailing list for the past year and nothing stands out. The language wars continue to smolder with some balkanization (Java, Python, C#, JavaScript, ...) ...
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  • 34.7k
25 votes

On studying Computer Science vs. Software Engineering to become a proficient coder

You can find a fair amount of information about accredited programs in the US here, including links to schools that have one or the other programs. In general, Software Engineering is more directed ...
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  • 34.7k
24 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Although most of the answers here seem to be in agreement that coding tests should be done on paper, I would like to offer a different opinion. Any test that includes coding would benefit the student, ...
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19 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Speaking as a former student and as a coder: yes. Perhaps there's an element of in-my-day geezerism here, but under the assumption that by "on a computer" you mean "in an IDE" I'll point out that ...
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18 votes

Should test cases be made available to students for assessed assignments?

I've always released a number of test cases for the purposes of clarity. I do have to double- and triple-check that my unpublished test cases are nevertheless unambiguously specified in the ...
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  • 31.2k
18 votes

What controversies in computer science education exist today?

One controversy within my department is whether it is a good idea to take time to both teach about and enforce the very basics of coding style. (Think indentation, variable naming, vertical spacing, ...
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  • 31.2k
18 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

I think giving a zero for a non-compiling program can be reasonable and expected behavior in many circumstances. It's pretty close to what I do now (more below). The Original Academia SE Question Note ...
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16 votes
Accepted

What does a person with an undergraduate degree in CS still need to learn to be employable as a developer?

Firstly, I think CS degrees vary widely in how "theoretical" they are. Some try to teach you about programming languages and even vendor-specific products that you are likely to encounter in the real ...
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16 votes

Is there a better way to validate student learning?

You seem to already realize that this is a subtle question. When I taught Mathematics early in my career, I also forbade students to work together. Later on, teaching Computer Science, I found myself ...
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  • 34.7k
16 votes

What controversies in computer science education exist today?

There is debate over how to respond to students' changing mental model of files and directories (as highlighted in a recent Verge article.) This doesn't solely affect computer science education, but ...
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  • 281
15 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

I enforced this exact policy ("doesn't compile = failure") For several years I was the assessor on a postgraduate course on C++ (Financial computing with C++) given at the mathematics ...
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  • 251
14 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

As a student who went through 4 years of undergraduate in computer science, writing all my exams on paper, I do think there are advantages to a paper exam. If you need an IDE to tell you the things ...
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  • 773
14 votes

What does a person with an undergraduate degree in CS still need to learn to be employable as a developer?

I once had the opportunity to sit down with a very high level Google engineer (who is also an alum of the institution at which I now teach.) I gave him an overview of our program, and then, since I ...
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  • 31.2k
13 votes

Good example of what isn't a system call?

The simple breakdown is: Anything that performs input/output involes a series of system calls. Anything that's purely computational doesn't involve system calls. Both of these statements have ...
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13 votes

What belongs in a low-math undergraduate AI elective besides ML?

I took both the AI and (basic) ML undergrad courses at Princeton and currently teach an AI elective at the HS level for some very bright students. I've seen some good online material from Berkeley (...
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13 votes

If a program does not compile, should it get a mark of zero?

As a blanket policy, I would say that automatically assigning a grade of zero for any submission that doesn't compile is completely unreasonable. Aside from the reasons that Ben I. has already listed, ...
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  • 231
12 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Maybe some complementary points to what as already been said (as a CS assistant professor, giving both theoretical and practical courses). Even for practical courses (those which involve coding), ...
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12 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Speaking as a former student, a coder & a teacher: yes. In addition to the points raised by G. Ann, I would add the following: Problems on tests are typically far simpler than full real world ...
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  • 414
12 votes

Should CS students be doing their tests on paper?

Speaking as a former student, a former competitive programmer, a real world programmer, yes. Forcing student to write code on paper is not pointless. It has following benefits: Giving you syntax ...
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