Monday, February 16, 2009

Rant on College

College is supposed to be about learning, no? A safe learning environment with professors that are meant to foster education. Then why do they waste our time? At what point are the professors supposed to truly reflect on their course plan? How may take the time to understand what they are capable of teaching effectively and thoroughly?

I don't even want to write this post. I don't wish to come off rude. But there must be some checks and balances somewhere, right? Consider this my check. Now give me my balance.

This semester compared to the last is almost night and day. I came back to school to finish my degree under the advisement of many friends and because I know my mother and father would wish me to have that piece of paper, that status object. I think they just wanted me to suffer the same things they went through so that we'd have more things to talk about in common.

So what's causing me so much grief? The University doesn't understand that my time is worth money (and I'm paying quite a bit to be here). Teachers waste time and my patience.

For instance, I have an English teacher who in the past month has (let me break out my list): skipped class without warning or apologies, failed to return or grade papers by a promised date that are neccessary for an upcoming assessment, pushed back agreed upon dates from the syllabus to cover her skipping class, not responded within a timely manner to two different emails I've sent her, and has no concept of time management. Let's also add that she reads aloud to college students. I'll get back to this one.

For instance, I have a CS teacher who: reads directly from slides, asks questions that are answered on the board (with a 15 second pause to prompt someone else to read from the slide), and teaches with less enthusiasm than a DMV worker at 4:30. Thank you, sir. I can read just fine. But thanks for helping out.

All is not bleak. I do have other teachers who are trying to teach. They're not the best teachers I've had and aren't inspirational in any way. However, they're not making me want to write blog postings about how poor their teaching abilities are.

I said we'd get back to the reading aloud thing, so here it is. If you assign something that should be read, then why are you going to read it to us again in class? Are we not capable of reading? I know it's a sophomore level class, but I think that you could give a passage page and line number and expect us to find that section. When you're not covering but half of the material you assigned because you're reading (unenthusiastically and without adding anything to the material) then at what point to you evaluate what you're doing? Clearly, she has worse time management skills than I do. Doesn't show up for class, doesn't return emails, doesn't teach all of the assigned readings to their fullest extent, and treats her students as if they were illiterate.

Don't even get me started on the curriculum for CS students. Too late. Long rant short: Pick what Computer Science is supposed to be. It's either a professional degree (i.e. producing programmers) or a theoretical degree (i.e. producing research and development). There isn't enough time to teach it all in an effective way. And that just wastes my time some more.

Why am I here? Does this piece of paper mean so much? Is it just a battle scar? I wish I had gone to a University where people wanted to teach. I sure would like to learn.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

TED (not Ted Turner)

The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference is going on right now. If you don't know what this is, that's ok. Just go to the link and make sure you have a few weeks to sit down and have your mind exploded. Because I can't be there, I've decided to do something new to this blog: stream of consciousness notes. I've decided on David Carson's talk on Design, Discovery and Humor. This talk was given at TED 2003. Here's a link to David's bio for some background information on the speaker.

I really wish I could make a "Read more..." type thing so this isn't eating all my blog real estate.

(PS My dad's name is Ted Turner. I never owned the Braves however)

Here we go...

First off, I'm really excited to do something new. I hope people find this interesting and my musings a good addition to the talk.

Jokes are good. I like jokes to start out a talk. Shows a little humility, gets the audience comfortable.

Emotional response is the number one design element I believe. It's what makes an experience memorable. Isn't that what we're looking for when there's so much to remember already?

The End of Print? Oh how true it is. Newspapers are nearly gone. Why create with a 24-hour delay when you can do it in real-time? The incoming information is coming at real-time. Killer-app of newspapers? Saving clipings about you, your friends, or major events.

Physical communication is also important. The way you approach someone, even in random conversation, dictates the starting attitude of the other person.

"The Invention of Printing..." slide. I find this interesting because of these new mediums for communication like blogging or Twitter. Notice fame is in all caps. May need to come back to fame and why I'm doing this later....on to the video...

Preceding world? You only know what you've seen before. The way 99% of the world relates to things is how they perceive other things. It's almost impossiblle to think of something completely new without relating it to something else. Give it a shot.

NIN is a good band. Nobody knows who they are now days. Sad. Or Rush. Neil Peart is the best drummer ever.

Print to get to the web? Shouldn't we be using the cheap medium (web) to get the full effect of the expensive medium (print)?

I'm way too pale as it is. I didn't even realize there was a market for skin lightening cream.

I need those signs. Perfect for every bar in town.

Interesting that he admits (and is proud) of the lack of training. Designers / programmers seem to be especially proud of that. Saving those college dollars.

Quite a change. That kid looks like he just got to the halfway point on his PHD thesis.

Dingbat. A designer joke. Ha. Much better than finding those randoms FCKS in code.

If I were diet coke, I would've pulled my ad. Wait...take that back. Downy should've sued for placing their ad there.

Ha. This is a great idea. Glad I'm from the South, but that's pretty clever.

I need one of those keyboards. I bet it keeps alot of crumbs though. Dishwasher safe?

The importance of people? Is this really new? Why does it seem that people are just now realizing that there's other people that buy their product? Its some grand idea now to say "CUSTOMER SERVICE IS IMPORTANT". Give me a break. Even I could think of something better to say than that.

50% death chance, eh? I'd say I'm at a 10% risk on my job. But I take my Bayer to keep those heart attacks away.

Talk's over. Interesting, but not exactly what I had expected. David Graham is a smart guy, producing some good work. For tomorrow's SoC notes, I may prewatch some of it to make sure it gives me plenty of idea options.

Update to this: I didn't do another, but I am planning on it. In fact, I've watched some that I wish I would've done a SoC on. Maybe I'll pretend I didn't already watch it.