Developing Skills vs. Just Passing a Class

I’ll admit it, I never could get my programming assignment 4 to work. The biggest issue I had was not putting a semi-colon after the closing bracket of my struct. There were other problems to figure out, but because of a missing semi-colon, I never even got to those problems before the due date. I turned in what I had and put it away for a few days. When I started working on the next programming assignment, I realized that it built of PA4. I knew that I had to figure it out this time. A few days after turning in my mess of a code, I was able to find and solve all the problems and transition into PA5 which read data from a file, stored the records into an array of structs, sorted the array, and wrote a control break report to a second file. After struggling with PA4, PA5 was a breeze. So I turned it in. The day after it was due, Hooper announced that we could have an extra two weeks to work on it. Eventually, he allowed us to submit it a third time even. This was a little aggravating at first. I had devoted the necessary time to complete the assignment and had done so. Where was my extra time on PA4?

The in class this week, Hooper presented PA6 and PA7/8 and even foreshadowed PA9/10. They all seem to build on each other. If I had never figured out PA4, I wouldn’t have gotten PA5. Now that I have PA5, PA6 seems to be very similar. Here we will take two sorted files and merge them into one sorted master file. We turned in the flow chart for it this week and it seems very straight forward. Hooper must have thought so too, so he introduced PA7/8 too. This time, we have to read from a master file and a transaction file and write into a new master file. The transaction file has add and delete codes. If it says to add a record, we do so, if it says to delete a record, we don’t transfer it from the master file into the new master file. It seems simple enough, but what about adding records that already exist and deleting records that don’t? Well, we need to create an error log for that. At this point, Hooper mentioned that PA9/10 will be very similar to 7/8 and that extra work at this point will pay off in the future.

After this week, I understand now why we were given so much extra time to work on PA5 and even given a chance to retake our test for a few bonus points. Unlike many other classes I’ve had, the point of this class is to make sure we get it, understand it, and can do it. Not simply preparing us to take a test and then forgetting about it next semester. Not simply getting us through this program. Unlike many professors I have had before, our professors in the UA MIS program really are here to help us develop skills for ourselves. It’s a refreshing difference and now the number one reason I am excited to be here.

 

Jennifer Lee

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