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Should I Continue Taking Programming Classes?

  1. Oct 31, 2015 #1
    Hey, guys.

    I'm in the 11th grade. The current class that I'm taking right now is called "Computer Programming 11" which is an intro to programming. The entire course is spent learning how to use Microsoft Visual Basic which kinda disappointed me because I originally signed up to learn Python, C, or Ruby.

    Overall, I'm not very happy taking the course. I would give it a 2/5. For example, almost every class, I look at the time just waiting for the class to end. The teacher is a nice guy, but his teaching methods are poor. We were given a textbook on how to use Visual Basic at the start of the term, and we are basically self-teaching ourselves the entire time.

    We're already 3 out of the 5 months into the course which is too late to drop out of, so I'm considering about not taking "Computer Programming 12" for next semester. However, the course will focus on Python which is one of the programming languages I originally signed up for. Yet then again, you can learn Python and a whole bunch more for free.

    Should I drop off Computer Programming 12, so I can take another course? I can always learn them on my own time for free online.

    Thank you. Will provide more detail if there is any confusion.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2015 #2

    Student100

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    You should take the class. It's something you want to learn regardless, even if the class is not as good as you'd hoped it would be at least you have the period for self study and the motivation that comes with taking the course for a grade.
     
  4. Oct 31, 2015 #3
    I'm sorry but could you please reiterate? Are you suggesting to take Computer Programming 12, so I can learn how to self study? If so, I have experience self-learning an entire physics course (courses designed for 11th&12th grade) online for free in which I achieved a 90% average. I believe I'm confident in self-learning a programming language.

    Also, thank you for your input.
     
  5. Oct 31, 2015 #4

    symbolipoint

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    • You signed-up to learn Python or something other than MS Visual Basic, for the course Computer Science 11. Was the course description wrong?
    • How can you trust the expected course Computer Science 12 if the course description for Computer Science 11 was wrong?
    • Enrolling in a (computer science) course can be a better way of getting organized instruction than trying to self-study it. The teacher can talk, demonstrate, and illustrate. He also gives well-designed laboratory exercise assignments.
     
  6. Oct 31, 2015 #5
    The thing is I did check the course description. It stated that the class was offering Python and Java. However, he apparently changed the course for Programming 11 to Visual Basic because my teacher believed that Python and Java are for more experienced programmers. 2/3 of his class who were taking Programming 11 last school year were receiving a 70% average, so he changed it to Visual Basic.


    For your third bullet point, would an online resource like codeacademy be sufficient? As I've previously mentioned, I do have experience taking online courses before.
     
  7. Oct 31, 2015 #6

    Student100

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    No, I'm suggesting you take the class because it's something you want to learn. I don't have any other information from the post to go off of. I don't know if computer science/programming is something you want to do as a career, what other classes you could substitute in, etc. I'm suggesting that even if the class is bad you'll then be forced to self study python on your own (something you want to do anyway if you don't take the class!), like you're doing with visual basic.

    There is something to be gained from these classes even though you could learn it on your own. One of the most important things is how to organize and create readable code, something you may not realize or learn from free online material. I could create cowboy code that's basically unreadable to anyone but me, hopefully your class will cover naming conventions, organization, etc, even if it doesn't cover the syntax and structures well.

    You can ask the teacher and verify that the next course will cover python.
     
  8. Oct 31, 2015 #7
    I'm considering about majoring in computer science in college. If that doesn't work out, I'm still interested in majoring in technical courses such as physics, electrical/mechanical engineering, or economics.

    I could also substitute the computer programming class for an accounting course because I want to do business relating to technology. There's also psychology because I think it's really interesting.

    The teacher and I are good friends. I could always ask him if I have a question. When I was taking physics online, I went to my former physics teacher and asked her for help. She was a major help when I was taking the course.
     
  9. Oct 31, 2015 #8

    symbolipoint

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    The first part is a legitimate complaint to take to your school administrators.

    Maybe I did not describe my last point well. The advantage of a real, in-person course IN SCHOOL is that the teacher is interactive in ways that no machine nor online website can be; along with a real teacher's ability to present things to you directly, and give you actual, practical lab time.
     
  10. Oct 31, 2015 #9
    Get used to it. You'll be doing that most of the time in college. If you want to be a software engineer, you'll be doing it throughout your career, as well.

    If the class is going to study the language you originally wanted to learn, then why wouldn't you want to take it?

    If there's a course you'd rather take than programming, then take it. It's absolutely fine to go to college for computer science without any prior programming experience. You'll learn from the ground up, anyway.
     
  11. Oct 31, 2015 #10

    symbolipoint

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    One of the meanings of going to a class in which a teacher directs instruction is that the teacher directing instruction is a type of LEADERSHIP. The teacher provides leadership. This leadership and directing of instruction is still not the same as the student studying & learning. The student still has the responsibility to get his own development on his own efforts.
     
  12. Oct 31, 2015 #11
    It's too late to complain it to the administrators, unfortunately... The course is already 3/5 done. Also, you have a good point. That's something for me to consider.
    However, I'm good friends with the teacher. I could always ask him for guidance when I need it if I were to self-study programming by myself. That's what I did when I was taking physics online. I asked my former science teacher to help me out with the concepts I was learning online.

    For your first point, although that is true, I'm starting to not develop an apathetic feeling towards programming due to my teacher's methods of teaching the course. As always, students are much more able to learn if the teacher is competent in what he or she teaches, especially if you're at the beginning stages.

    For your second point, I can take the course online during my free time. I would actually cover more ground that way. I'm already in chapter 10 in the textbook while 2/3 of the class are still in chapter 7 or even 6.

    Lastly, I'm considering about taking accounting or psychology...
     
  13. Nov 1, 2015 #12

    micromass

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    You can easily self-study programming. It's not that difficult. The only reason why somebody should take a programming class is because they want the credentials.
     
  14. Nov 1, 2015 #13

    FactChecker

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    Visual Basic is not a bad language and is adequate for an introduction to programming. The lessons learned are easily applied to other languages. On nice thing is to record macros in Excel so you can see example programs and modify them for your use. Excel is so universally available that you can use it often.
     
  15. Nov 1, 2015 #14

    symbolipoint

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    Not true. I could not. The only reason I was able to "learn" what programming I later did was because many years earlier, I had a course that I attended, as a student.
     
  16. Nov 1, 2015 #15
    Oh, thank you for very much. I already have all of the graduation requirements for myself to graduate other than taking my senior English 12 course. As
    Jaeusm stated, it's totally acceptable to enter a computer science course without much prior knowledge to computers. Dropping off my Computer Programming 12 course for next semester will not leave me any problems for graduating.

    That's interesting. Since it's already too late for myself to drop outside of the class, I'll definitely keep that in mind. At least what I'm learning is relatively useful.

    By learning, do you mean understanding specifically the programming syntax? Like studying how English's grammar works?
     
  17. Nov 1, 2015 #16

    Mark44

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    You could still go to the administration and let them know that the class as described when you signed up didn't turn out to be the class that you're getting. It won't have an effect on your class, it's true, but you will at least be holding the teacher accountable.
     
  18. Nov 1, 2015 #17
    Very well. I'll definitely do that.

    Anyways, I've decided to drop my programming course for next semester and just learn it on my own time.

    I know this is not that other forum CollegeConfidential but...

    Now the current dilemma I have would be:

    I'll be applying to some of the top 25 American universities (I'm from Canada), and I'm a little worried that if I drop the course, they'll see that I'm not committed. Should I be worried about that? I've been committed to other things such as being part of my school's swimming team for the past 4 years.
     
  19. Nov 1, 2015 #18

    symbolipoint

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    About my comment and your response to it,
    Maybe you could learn what you need on your own, outside of a classroom. I could not. Still today, I likely would be unable. I was only able to relearn something that I studied previously from when I was an officially enrolled and attending student. So many years later, much of what I tried to learn, I was relearning what I already did learn. Some things were newer and I found online forum help about them. I also used some online predesigned guidance AND two very old programming textbooks. The language for beginning programming instruction was one of the earlier forms of BASIC. The more modern form of BASIC which I learned many years later was a different form of BASIC which works in Windows (but it was NOT Visual BASIC -- I was never able to learn Visual BASIC).
     
  20. Nov 1, 2015 #19

    That's really interesting. You were re-learning concepts that were taught to you from many years ago. It's also interesting you were using very old material while learning the new things. It just goes to show that new knowledge is built on previous knowledge. Now that you mention it, I'll definitely be using other resources, new or old,to help aid in my self-learning quest.
     
  21. Nov 1, 2015 #20

    symbolipoint

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    This may be off-the-point from the topic, but using whatever programming you know or learned, look for ways to use your programming-design skill for things that you would like to do or that other people would like to do - like giving yourself your own computer programming assignments, but for programs that your or someone you know would want to be able to use.
     
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