January 1, 2004

Bulk view

Paper: Problem-based learning for foundation computer science courses


The foundation courses in computer science pose
particular challenges for teacher and learner alike. This paper
describes some of these challenges and how we have designed
problem-based learning (PBL) courses to address them. We discuss the
particular problems we were keen to overcome: the purely technical
focus of many courses; the problems of individual learning and the
need to establish foundations in a range of areas which are important
for computer science graduates. We then outline our course design,
showing how we have created problem-based learning courses.

The paper reports our evaluation of the approach. This has two parts:
assessment of a trial, with a three-year longitudinal follow-up of the
students; reports of student learning improve-ment after we had become
experienced in full implementation of PBL.

We conclude with a summary of our experience over three years of PBL
teaching and discuss some of the pragmatic issues around introducing
the radical change in teaching, maintaining staff support, and
continuing refinement of our PBL teaching. We also discuss some of our
approaches to the commonly acknowledged challenges of PBL

Hmmm. Problem-based learning is about working on large, real-world
problems, not just the toy exercises we do in class. Must check out
footnote 4. Teacher as facilitator – precisely! I like the focus on
problem-solving skills. Hey, they use Blue too. I so agree with these
objectives. I like how the students plan their study and choose the
exercises. I want to learn how to do research like this.

Footnote 4: D. Boud and G. Feletti. The Challenge of Problem Based
Learning. Kogan Page, 1991.


Considering part-time

Blast. My really long blog post disappeared after stuff crashed.

In brief:

I’m thinking of teaching part-time instead of full-time. I want to
collect and refine exercises in introductory computing, explore other
schools and other cultures, and chat with people from different walks
of life. I also want to take a handful of other classes and workshops
like writing, cooking, sewing, theater…

More detail sometime soon – tomorrow?

LDAP admin

Version: GnuPG v1.2.3 (GNU/Linux)


Reaction to OnLove

I was recently considering the idea of having a
“girlfriend” purely for emotional reasons. i prefer to name it
“emotional buffer”. My world (or our world) is constantly depressing
or increasingly depressing as we see it, jiving with our aging and it
has deeply affected my emotional responses. The girl-guy partnership
being another example of universal duality is such a good escape or
buffer. But recently I met this reading by sacha chua which awakened
me to what is reality (not matrix-fed). That I am terribly
pre-occupied with my personal life that if I ever I consider an
“outside” attachment, it must put as a second priority. Being sane is
a matter of defining what is “sane-ness” to me. So i define sane-ness
to be my personal happiness and gratification. No attachments. All me.
She is 20. I am 18. She wants to have a PhD at 25 or 26. I can do
better than that.

<laugh> Certainly wouldn’t think of getting into a relationship
only as a buffer; think the world is tons of fun and enjoy living very
much. Perhaps would like to be able to share stories with someone at
the end of the day or come up with clever load-balancing to take
advantage of respective strengths and weaknesses, but do not feel any
need to hide from the world. =) Personally enjoy friendships very
much. Also have realized that have no real time limit for PhD and in
fact may be able to bring more to it with more experience, but
definitely want to earn it before possibly being distracted by
personal life, as hear it is very difficult for women in particular if
they’ve already settled down.


On days

Only a few hours ago did fireworks light up the sky to celebrate the
beginning of a new year, yet now the night is still save for stray
firecrackers belatedly punctuating the calm. The rush of well-wishing
messages has abated. People have gone to sleep nursing hangovers and
dreams. Around the world the celebration starts again, but for here
and now it is over. Life returns to normal. I will have to remember to
write 2004 instead of 2003, but aside from that, not much has changed.
It is a day just like any other day.

Resolutions for 2004

  • Speak slower and lower.
  • Check requirements within 3 days.
  • Log all of my expenses in plain text in Emacs so that I get forced to develop a ledger mode.
  • Journal every day. 23:00 – 23:30 is my journaling time. Drop everything and write (unless have earlier substantial journal
  • Visit at least one new website related to computer science education every day.
  • Play at least one game of chess a week.
  • Chat with friends at least once a week in order to swap stories and get ideas.

Plans for 2004

  • Visit AU and NZ during the summer. Sit in classes, visit friends, meet professors.
  • Collect or compose at least 100 exercises, examples, and ideas for introductory computer science education.
  • Collect at least 30 CookOrDie recipes and stories into something publishable.
  • Apply for an MS or PhD program in computer science education or computer science.

Old computer

I’m having problems with the ADMTek Centaur-P. It’s a tulip card, but
for some reason it does not want to be ifconfig upped. Let me give
/etc/modules a shot. If that doesn’t work, I’ll swap in one of the
Realtek cards instead.

w00t, tulip-scyld works.