Category Archives: teaching

Hello world, school, teaching, games ()

12:52 AM on a schoolday that starts at 10:30 AM is probably not the best time to write an S-Files, but what the heck. I haven't been writing. Stories have backed up, and the resulting chaos in my mind appears to have edged out important details like the names of people I'm supposed to know and the details of where I'm supposed to be.

Time to defrag.

I am all the more unusually loquacious because I have just finished writing a lab exercise for the introductory computer science course for which I am a teaching assistant. My pitiful effort at making "Hello, World!" fun and exciting can be found at http://courses.ateneo.edu/cs21a/lab1.html , with no guarantee that it'll actually even be used in today's CS session. I'm banking on the fact that Dr. Sarmenta probably hasn't prepared materials as detailed as this, as I haven't seen anything like it from, well, any of my CS teachers. I'm _hoping_ that he'll let me deliver the class, which is a far-out possibility but still worth considering. I also hope I'll be awake enough to do so with wit and style.

I love the project submission system I wrote last semester. After editing the postgresql start script so that the postmaster would accept TCP connections, I simply had to set up the database and run a script that obligingly extracted and included all the students in the student data files that the department forwarded to me. All 222 students of CS21A in 9 sections have been set up. How nice.

Teaching. Hmm. I had dinner with Mario Carreon (an old friend from high school competitions) the other night. He teaches at UP and is considering moving to the industry because of the pay. We talked about teaching, mainly, and in the course of our conversation I found myself declaring that yes, this is it - I cannot imagine myself in any other profession except teaching. Especially college level introductory computer science. That's it.

Naturally teaching doesn't stand on its own - I must be teaching _something_, and teaching also offers ample time for research. Enter wearable computing. I'll be getting my gear on the 23rd, if all goes well. Expect lots of files going on and on about how cool it all is.

Speaking of cool, I also find myself getting interested by game development. Eric, Diane and a few of my other friends are getting together and starting a game company. As the insane computer science student that I am (and hope never to stop being), I have decided that the challenge of breaking into a new field (at least one I'd never been in before) and learning enough to not only understand what Eric talks about when he enthusiastically describes his latest engine but also to offer suggestions and whip up a demo on my Linux box is somewhat comparable to the feat of... well, _something._ I'm crazy enough to think that it's possible, and it should give me something new to learn.

To that end I have been playing around with small OpenGL programs here on my Linux laptop. Not that my hardware can easily handle the demands of 3d graphics programming, but I manage to squeak by with Emacs, gcc, a Makefile and lots of Googling. I have to confess that what excites me about games is not the funky graphical effects but rather the gameplay and the character and setting development - witness the sudden explosion of Inform text adventures in my ~/notebook/games directory.

Nonetheless, I will climb Mount Everest just because it's there. <impish grin>

School?

Oh, school's been fun. My teachers are nice.

I yawn, and I must sleep.

Head TAs?

Doc Sarmenta story. I arrived at F228 a little too early for my 3:00 CS21A class, and I ran into Dr. Sarmenta packing up. Some students asked him if they could consult with him, but as he'll be fairly busy due to Faculty Day, I volunteered to meet them instead. Got introduced as Sacha Chua, one of the head TAs around here. I replied, "We have head TAs?" Dr. Sarmenta continued, "She does most of the stuff." :D

Volunteered to conduct CS21B tutorials at 10:00 AM tomorrow, F230.

Doc V story. Had thorny discrete mathematics problem that I needed help with. Doc V stumped. :) Actually, talked about problem with Eric over dinner, and he had a nifty insight that greatly simplified the problem.

Doc Sarmenta story. Presented thesis proposal. Earned "That's very exciting" comment. :)

Gino story. Gloated about the fact that my thesis is humanitarian, useful, involves Linux, and doesn't have a GUI. Wooohooo! :D