Random Thoughts of a Computer Science Professor at BYU - Hawaii
Course Message Boards
When I was a student I never really used the course message boards. I never found any help or answers there. Right now I am taking a course/seminar at the University of Hawaii. As part of the course, we are required to participate on the message boards. It has been difficult for me to get really involved, mostly because no one else is really posting anything for me to comment on. I also hate commenting just to earn credit, which I have done a few times. Forcing people to comment on a message board seems to cheapen the conversation.
Aaron Curtis - From Monologue to Dialog
Aaron Curtis from Indiana University came to BYU-Hawaii and did a presentation on his dissertation research. He is studying how much adding a whiteboard (Microsoft One Note) to a typical chatroom (Microsoft Meeting) can improve group understanding. Although his results are not complete, he says it does look promising.
Researching Local Races
So I really wanted to know more about the local races here in Hawaii. I have been getting a lot of fliers in the mail and heard a lot on the radio/TV, but I wanted to research the facts for myself. Luckily, I found a web site at the Honolulu Advertiser that lets you see all of races, and view the candidates' responses to the issues. It also had links to their website if you wanted to find out more.
Teaching Object-Oriented Programming
Since a lot of our students come here with very little computer experience, we had our beginning programming course split into two courses. The first half focused on variables and control structures, and the second half focused on object-oriented programming with C++. Some time last year we decided to teach a scripting language (Perl) in the first course due to it's simplicity -- hello world is only one line. We then created a two course series in object-oriented programming in Java. This would allow us to make sure our students had a solid object-oriented background and three classes to develop their programming and problem solving skills, something that takes a lot of practice.
My First Post
I figured I should dedicate my first post to explaining why I decided to start a blog. As a Computer Science professor, and a PhD student, I realized that I needed to practice my communication skills and get involved. Although I would prefer to be strictly on the reading side of technology, in order to really be a part of it I need to contribute. Hopefully, this blog will be the perfect starting place.