CS371p Fall 2020 Kevin Gao (Final Entry)

How well do you think the course conveyed those takeaways?

I think the course conveyed them particularly well. Dr. Downing drove home testing as something akin to seasoning a steak; you always do it a little more than you think you need. The section of the class that covered iterators definitely covered the idea to use demand the weakest possible iterator and provide the strongest. Designing adapters was an important part of the class as well. Reuse and symmetry were things that he stressed but was graciously accepting of when we as students missed the mark. As per usual, collaboration is at the heart of classes like these, and I definitely recognized its role in elevating the quality of my code and my well being in writing it. Refactoring goes past formatting with astyle, but removing chunks of code and rearranging it in ways that are more readable and debuggable. And lastly, beautiful code is definitely Downing’s mantra, as he tends to use the term as one of encouragement when a student gets an answer right.

Was there any other particular takeaway for you?

I definitely found value in the concept of code reuse and symmetry this semester. There were many cases that I felt that calling things I had written and designing different classes in a consistent manner helped me figure out the overall design with greater efficiency and accuracy.

How did you feel about two-stage quizzes and tests?

I thought either way it was fine. Doing two days of half individual and half collaborative felt about the same as a day of individual and a day of collaborative; it really only felt like a new coat of paint.

How did you feel about cold calling?

It is a spectacular way to keep the class engaged. The randomness of the calling keeps everyone alert, and at the same time, there is a sort of camaraderie between those who are being potentially called upon. It’s a great way for spectators to learn something, but also keeps everyone attentive.

How did you feel about office hours?

They were plentiful and I had more than enough access to TA’s and the professor in this class.

How did you feel about lab sessions?

I loved how late they were, even though it could be inconvenient for the hosts. 6–8 PM is a great time for people who have commitments in the morning and afternoon to get a bit of help

Give me your suggestions for improving the course.

On the topic of the test content, possibly make it so that the questions relate a bit more strictly to the topics covered in class and their implementation.

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