|The Term That Ended Strangely or Tell Me Again What I'm Doing Here?
||[Oct. 7th, 2005|04:14 pm]
Phrembah (a potato-like mystery)
We had the last final for the quarter at CSF last night. It was C++ Programming. What a deal. The instructor had built the framework for a Yahtzee! program. Then he split the class into two "teams" to write the main subroutines. I hate that. My team, for instance, consisted of one girl with multiple firing synapses, three guys with maybe one working brain cell between them, and myself. The three other guys were completely inert. Even the one who agreed to do the typing would go off into the weeds, scrolling through irrelevant sections of the code. When you asked why he was doing that instead of typing in the code we had agreed to used, you got no response. He just completely ignored you. The other two did nothing at all. The girl, who was no slacker, had written a working Yahtzee! program on her own before class to make sure she understood all of the rules. She wanted to just cut and paste her code into our function and be done with it. The instructor said that wasn't allowed, but she wanted to do it anyway. I should have let her earlier than I did.
Before we split off into "teams," the class as a whole had flow-charted the program and had agreed on a strategy to use for each code chunk. At first, I insisted we stick to the agreed on design because that was the point of the exercise. She did not understand the new design and could not follow it. After we floundered for a couple of our three hours, I finally just said, "Lets use your code, then. This is going nowhere." Well, she used something besides MS Visual C++ at home, and even though she had written perfectly legal ANSI C++ code, it would not run under Visual C++. The instructor finally said that he had encountered the same problem. Visual C++ will not tolerate "for loops" in the case statements in a "switch" clause. So, we had to rewrite all of her stuff anyway. We did finally make our function work, but we never did get the whole program integrated.
The instructor felt guilty because he had missed three classes due to conflicts with his day job and the agreement going in was that anyone who showed up and participated in the final project would get an A on the project. If he sticks with that, it's fine with me. I just hate being tied to people who can't get there from here. In many cases I could carry them easily enough if they would let me, but they are so damn suspicious because they don't understand what I'm proposing. They would rather get stuck in a ditch that they understand than go down a road they are unsure of.
I guess I just don't have what it takes in the leadership department to get people to trust me to show them out of a dead end situation. The other part of it is that they are supposed to be participating and contributing themselves. They supposedly have just finished the same class I have and could do this themselves if they had to. By trying to include everyone and not hurt anyone's feelings, we end up with a schlock piece of code and I end up feeling like an arrogant dickhead. How nice.
I am dreading Database Design II for just that reason. The whole class is one big project. They go out and solicit work from actual companies and government agencies and then split the class into teams to work on each project. A Physics classmate, who has taken it already, told me that it was the class from hell. He said he got paired with somebody who never once showed up to meet with the "customer" and who never completed a single task he was given. When my classmate complained to the instructor, the instructor told him that the only way the slacker would fail the course was if they both failed. The "customer" would decide the grade based on the results and they would both get that grade--no matter what. So my classmate ended up doing the entire project himself. He earned both of them an A, but the whole concept gripes my cookies. As a student, you're paying for an instructor's time and attention and this instructor, whoever he was, just refused to participate.
Another reason it pisses me off is that if they let slackers like that out of their institution with a degree, it devalues my degree: "Yeah, we hired a CSF grad last year and he didn't know his ass from his elbow. He's in management now."
. . .
One strange thing I have observed is how each term at school seems to be a little microcosmic world of its own. It has its own cast of characters, its own problems, its own little dramas, and the season of the year tends to contribute a lot to the overall ambiance.
. . .
PowerBall is up over $200 million again. T's probably going to hit me up to go in with him on some tickets. $200 million seems to be his threshold of interest. I'd be happier than shit to win $5000 and have next semester paid for without going further into debt.