YOW! 2012: Aino Corry - Teaching Modern Computer Science

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Aino Corry is YOW!'s technical conference editor and retrospectives facilitator. She holds a masters degree and a phD in computer science (she also happens to teach computer scientists how to teach computer science). She has 12 years of experience with Patterns in Software Development, and teaches OO design, software architecture and development in academia and industry. To put it simply, Aino is really smart!

Here, we discuss modern computer science, teaching computer science, Aino's academic and industrial experience, and more. Really great to listen to Aino's story and perspectives on modern computing. Tune in!

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    The Discussion

    • McHalls

      Wow, sad to hear that education is so execution-focused (i.e. the Java part) instead of teaching the ideas behind. Expressionless

    • Jedrek

      Everything depends on the source of founding.

      execution-focused = job in the industry
      ideas behind-focused = job at the university
      psychology-focused = job in education/management

      There are no universal education for everybody.

    • SomeRandom​Dude

      Interesting conversation.

      I, myself, just graduated with a Bachelor degree in CS 6 months ago and i have to say, the way teachers teach where i'm from is (nearly) absolutely pointless.

      If a teacher teaches me Java or C++ he's just teaching me that. But what about the idea behind the code. Why was programming designed in such a way. That's what i asked myself while studying CS. Other people in my batch didn't really care much since there was no motivation, but where i'm from, nearly 99.5% of the people lack motivation completely!

      A few months ago i was teaching in some school and i tried doing just that. I tried making the students curious. And i must say, the students interest in the subject increased greatly.

      Anyway, I don't mean that languages shouldn't be taught but rather i think that the idea of programming should be taught before teaching any language. Once you understand the idea of programming, then, just as was said in this discussion, it becomes a matter of syntax.

      Oh, and also, teachers mostly miss out on teaching the art of programming.

      Which is what has led me now to Assembly language. Beautiful language :)

      Again, interesting conversion.

    • McHalls

      "ideas behind-focused = job at the university"

      ...or at a research devision in the industry. Or a holistic teacher outside of universities. Or a humanitarian worker. And so on.

      "There are no universal education for everybody"

      I don't think it is an either-or question. Both approach should be taught and let students decide later which one they prefer. Often people want to have both during their lifetime, so it is not a good idea to build silos between the two worlds.

    • Jedrek

      Dear McHalls,

      You can spend a lot of time on very general approaches and then you can forget about any cooperation with the industry. The industry is looking for very specific programming techniques, practice, tools etc..
      If you invest all your time on tools, programming techniques, etc. then you can forget about the work as a researcher in the industry or at the university. University if mostly focused on general theories.

      We live in a very competitive world. If you do both at the same time then at some point you can find yourself unemployed. Sad but true ...
      I can write many sad stories about the people (both from the industry as well as from the universities) who tried to do both at the same time and they fail because of that ...

      Why it is like that?
      The reason is very simple ... founding.
      At the university in order to get a job it is necessary to publish a lot of scientific papers. It is much easier to publish something about general theories than some practical results.

      On the other hand, the industry is not interested in supporting any kind of scientific activity for the obvious reasons.
      I know that there are some exceptions from that rule ... and there are some people who are able to do both from time to time ... but ... in 90% of cases ... people at the universities ONLY write papers and people at the industry ONLY focus on the tools.

      Conclusion

      Future scientist/researchers and future engineers need very different education in order to be successful in their job.
      Because studens do not know the future, then they have to learn both approaches but this is waisting of time for both groups.
      Engineers do not really need very general therories
      and professors very rearly use tools which are popular in the industry.

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