Two Weeks Already?

Tagged as Personal

Written on 2009-09-02 21:17:28

This semester is flying by. It's really hard to believe and, honestly, quite scary. Aside from my Computer Organization and Design class, I feel like I'm learning quite little. With regards to COAD, I feel like I've mostly learned interesting trivia to date with a few useful larger concepts.

I'm trying to keep in mind that I'm here for the degree and that even if SPSU teaches CS at a more superficial level than I'd like that I can teach myself both while at SPSU and for many years afterwards. That part is not new. The hard part remains motivating myself in such a fashion that I blaze through the SPSU (oftentimes) busywork and have time and energy for personal studies after. My gut tells me that it's my perspective on the SPSU work which causes it to demotivate me and drain my energy. Hence, it's my perspective I'll have to figure out how to change. But first...

Today, I'm going to do something I don't normally do. Bitch. I'm presently in my Introduction to Algorithms class. It's a subject I'm personally compelled to learn and learn well. Unfortunately, the lecturer is pretty bad. Part of this may be a language barrier issue. The professor is not a native English speaker. His enunciation is fine but his ability to elucidate the concepts is thoroughly lacking. The first week he was dismissive of certain students' questions without explanation but this has improved.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect is that there are free video lectures from MIT on this material taught by one of the authors of the textbook we're using. They move at a faster pace than we do (3 lectures of ours ~= 1 of theirs) but their lectures remain substantially clearer and better motivated than those of my professor. Moreover, I gain more understanding more rapidly by simply reading the textbook than by listening to him. Sadly, I have a hard time doing this in class because of ambient noise and other factors.

Finally, our syllabus is simply intolerable. In this course, a 60 is a passing grade, a 70 is a B and a 40 is a D. I really have little more to say here. Either the assumption is that we won't grasp the material well yet should pass on unscathed so that graduates are produced to sate industry or the class is so abysmally and impossibly difficult (or poorly taught) that a70 denotes thorough understanding of the material. Either way, this was the class I was most looking forward to this semester. To date, it's quite a disappointment.
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