Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Advanced C++ Class

I sat in on a Peking University CS class today. Advanced C++ for freshmen, I think?

It was amazing, but not in a good way :( There were about 30 or 40 students in the class (3 or 4 girls, and many many guys with glasses) so my presence was rather conspicuous, especially as I came in just on time and had to sit in the front row. As far as I could tell from the two hours of class time today, the primary mode of teaching is putting code on the projector screen and asking students to go up, explain, and write the output on the chalkboard. And then the next slide in the ppt is the answer key.. I was asked to go up twice and both times I declined as politely as I could, saying that I'm not actually a Beida student, but the substitute teacher clearly thought I was just trying to get out of the classroom exercises. (This might have been a good time to have a distinctively non-native accent in Chinese; my Taiwanese accent apparently doesn't mark me as very foreign.)

For those who are CS-y: The entire class was on C++ STL classes!! One hour on set and multiset, another hour on map and multimap. There's a reason for cppreference and dinkumware and Google! It's quite unnecessary to walk through exactly what every function does :( All I could think of during this lecture was how much better Julie Zelenski and Jerry Cain are at teaching CS than this teacher was.

If this were a Stanford class, all the students would have peaced after half an hour of the first lecture, and probably would not have shown up again except for the midterm and final. Or if some did show up, they would have brought laptops and been doing other things all through class - not a single person had a laptop today! Maybe it's against school policy, or something. Chinese students are very respectful of their teachers. They even applauded at the end of lecture! and it was just a random, not-very-good lecture in the middle of the quarter.

I think the excessive number of exclamation points in this post is a good indication of my amazement today.

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