California can’t afford to skimp on computer science education

Article by: Susan Bonilla

I confess that I used carbon paper and white-out when I typed my college essays. So I may be the least likely champion of computer science education.

However, I have come to understand that computer science standards don’t promote excessive screen time for kids, or turn our schools into coding boot camps for the tech industry. Rather, they help children become problem solvers and creative thinkers for the 21st Century.

I am a former English teacher, and the mother of two daughters who are teachers now. In 2016 when I served in the Assembly, I saw the need for an implementation plan for computer science standards.

Initially, I wondered if the idea of setting computer science standards would add to the work of teachers. Yet it became clear that we could not afford to leave millions of children without the skills they need to lead successful lives.

Source: California can’t afford to skimp on computer science education | CALmatters

The Case for Dropping Out of College

This is an interesting article. CI is inexpensive ($15K/year, with a lot of students receiving scholarships). But beside that, this article makes me think about how to give our students “more value” for their time invested in our Computer Science department at CI.

The Case for Dropping Out of College
written by Samuel Knoche

During the summer, my father asked me whether the money he’d spent to finance my first few years at Fordham University in New York City, one of the more expensive private colleges in the United States, had been well spent. I said yes, which was a lie.

I majored in computer science, a field with good career prospects, and involved myself in several extracurricular clubs. Since I managed to test out of some introductory classes, I might even have been able to graduate a year early—thereby producing a substantial cost savings for my family. But the more I learned about the relationship between formal education and actual learning, the more I wondered why I’d come to Fordham in the first place.

* * *

According to the not-for-profit College Board, the average cost of a school year at a private American university was almost $35,000 in 2017—a figure I will use for purposes of rough cost-benefit analysis. (While public universities are less expensive thanks to government subsidies, the total economic cost per student-year, including the cost borne by taxpayers, typically is similar.) The average student takes about 32 credits worth of classes per year (with a bachelor’s degree typically requiring at least 120 credits in total). So a 3-credit class costs just above $3,000, and a 4-credit class costs a little more than $4,000.

Read more here – Source: The Case for Dropping Out of College – Quillette

The Hard Part of Computer Science? Getting Into Class

Lured by the prospect of high-salary, high-status jobs, college students are rushing in record numbers to study computer science.

Now, if only they could get a seat in class.

On campuses across the country, from major state universities to small private colleges, the surge in student demand for computer science courses is far outstripping the supply of professors, as the tech industry snaps up talent.

A short history of mathematical pedagogy; what does the future hold?

1. Teaching Maths In 1950s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1970s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1980s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit ? Yes or No

4. Teaching Maths In 1990s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Maths In 2000s

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living?

Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, feel free to express your feelings e.g, anger, anxiety, inadequacy, helplessness etc.)

Should you require debriefing at conclusion of exam there are counsellors available to assist you to adjust back into the real world.

Palindromes Week – take COMP 454 in the Fall 2015 and learn everything!

A palindrome is a word or expression that reads the same forward as backward; a famous palindrome is “madam i m adam”, from James Joyce’s Ulysses. Another one is the word “racecar”. Yet another very famous one is in the title of NOVA’s “A Man, a Plan, a Canal – Panama!”. They are interested for computer scientists as they are strings with many properties (my book “An Introduction to the Analysis of Algorithms” has a section on algorithms for palindromes). But they are much more than games; nature uses them, and for example many DNA strands in our genetic code are palindromic.

In the Fall 2015 I will be teaching a course, COMP 454, that will be using palindromes as an example of many computational properties.

German universities: Between great and so-so

A GLANCE at the global rankings of universities suggests that nothing much has changed in recent years. MIT, Stanford, Cambridge, Oxford and a few other English-speaking campuses remain at the top, fighting it out with large endowments, celebrity professors and selective entry. By contrast, universities in Germany are nowhere near the top, even after several reforms, including an “excellence initiative” since 2005. Many students waste away in overflow rooms next to packed and stuffy lecture halls. Their best hope of seeing professors is through opera glasses.

But look more closely at the rankings, and change is more evident, thinks Günther Zupanc, a biology professor who has taught in Germany, Britain and Canada and is now at Boston’s Northeastern University. Only a couple of German universities make it into the top 50: Heidelberg’s Ruprecht-Karls-University and Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians-University usually lead the pack. Among the top 200, however, German universities have improved the most. Taken together, they have moved up by 250 places, Mr Zupanc calculates. Only Dutch universities have done better. America’s, by contrast, have crashed: since 2011 they have collectively moved down by 692 places.

via German universities: Between great and so-so | The Economist.