RBOC: Long time no blog


  • My CS class is cruising right along, and have begun their final projects.  I’m quite pleased with what they’ve accomplished so far, and am looking forward to their final projects.  They’ve presented their topics, and I like them all.
  • One of the surprising things about teaching programming has been the subjectivity that goes into grading the programs.  I could grade them purely on functionality.  If it works, it gets an A.  If not, it’s a failure.  But there’s such a thing as programs that almost work and programs that work, but do so in a really wrong way.  I find myself confronting programs that are complex, but don’t work and programs that work but are too simplistic.  Not that different from grading essays really.
  • I’m becoming increasingly aware that I need to reflect a bit more on the structure of this class and make some tweaks to it for next year before I forget.


  • This is something I have done a lot of and continue to do, and I love this part of my job.  I’m helping some individual students, and I’m adding some extracurriculars that I hope provide some more informal opportunities for students to be involved with computing.
  • I often wonder what I’m mentoring my students into.  The field is still male-dominated, and can be hostile. Though I know they can hold their own on the programming front, I worry about all the side issues: the sexism, the lack of women in the field, etc.
Other job-related things
  • Can I just say I love the faculty I work with?  I went to a meeting the other day with other people who do my job at other schools, and so many of them complained about how no one did anything with technology, or they had to be pushed into it.  Not me.  I could tell story after story about different teachers doing some really cool things.
  • The year is winding down.  There are awards to hand out, special dances, celebratory dinners.  Light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

Health and Exercise

  • As my clothes get increasingly tighter, I’ve tried to integrate some kind of exercise into my life.  It painful to do.
  • I’ve tried to get technology to help me, but it’s imperfect at best.  It still requires me to actually enter information. And tracking calories in and calories burned is tedious.
  • What I know I need is better habits.  I’m giving the couch to 5k program a try as a kickstarter, but I’m really not a fan of running.  But if it can get me in the habit of running/walking 3 times a week, maybe it will be worth it.
  • On the diet front, I’m not perfect but better.  I find it relatively easy to stick with a decent diet.  Today, I had oatmeal, salad, some chips and guacamole, and a ham sandwich with a side of applesauce.  And water all day.  Where I fall down is chocolate and alcohol.  My hope is more exercise will allow me to have those treats and not put on a pound just for looking at them.
  • I try not to think about it, but part of me just wants to let myself go.  Which isn’t a good idea for multiple reasons.

2 Replies to “RBOC: Long time no blog”

  1. If you get a good grading rubric figured out, post it. Here is my highly detailed program grading rubic. I sometimes even use it.
    50 pts Possible
    5 pts – On time.
    5 pts – Document/program header to include name, purpose of program, date due.
    5 pts – program works.
    5 pts – major events/sub procedures commented.
    5 pts – program is in modular form as opposed to one long string of code.
    20 pts – something got turned in that almost works.
    5 pts – whistles and bells
    I do not stress “program works” because I want the kids to try various approaches in coding their programs and at the due date they may have been trying something different and not got it working. My classes are small so I can see what everyone is doing progress wise and base my grades more on effort and originallity.

    On the exercise thing, if you do not like to run then walk and/or bike. The difference in calorie consumption is not that big and the stress on the body is much less. If you live where there is good mountain biking then that is even better. Not only do you get exercise but you can build a set of scars and scrapes that are excellent conversation pieces. It also gives an excellent rationalization for the alcohol – pain medication. After a long ride I have two beers and I am ready to go again. I may not be able but I am willing.

  2. LOL@alcohol as pain medication. I think your grading scheme makes sense, and I found myself making a similar rubric for their game projects, including a “fun factor” (10 points).

Comments are closed.