Entering the packed classroom of CS 120, barely a month ago, I knew next to nothing about programming. In fact, I would have categorized my computer skill level as “still green enough to think a ‘millibyte’ is a thing” (tip: it’s not a thing.) Four short weeks later, I find myself referring to “while loops” and “modularization”, and understanding exactly what they mean. Ralph Hooper takes class seriously, being one of the few instructors I’ve experienced thus far who grasps at the two hours he is allotted of our day and uses every minute of it to densely pack in new information. When you settle into your unforgiving cold plastic seat at noon, you shouldn’t expect to be out of there by 1:15, nor 1:30, but 1:50. It’s hard to imagine being unfortunate enough to miss a single class, as upon returning, one would be miles behind.
The pace has been steady. After covering essential terminology, we progressed immediately into writing code. Though guided by our instructors, the class was allowed to make mistakes and experience the confusion of pressing “run” and watching the results run into the ground. However frustrating, I’ve learned that this is a valuable part of learning to program. I would rather experience my first missing semi-colons and undefined variables in the company of my classmates and Ralph, instead of seeing only perfected code with not a letter out of place until I return home, left to brave a sea of inevitable syntax errors alone. And surely enough, we experience errors. We experience them until we get it right. As a result, we are learning hands-on to identify problems quickly, and either fix them or figure out a better way to reach our desired result — which, I would argue, is our core purpose as MIS students.
Kelsey Malone, CS 120