My Take & Advice
This class had so much potential. I appreciate that they had us build something. That is often the best way to learn – by doing. But this was so complex and advanced that I feel it was almost pointless.
I could mimic the instructions, but didn’t have a great grasp on what was happening. It’s like taking a student who has just barely learned the alphabet and asking them to write a novel. You give them sentences along the way to copy and paste. They are reasonably intelligent so they can follow directions, but if you asked them to create the novel, or even a paragraph on their own, they would be hard pressed to do it.
I don’t understand why there is such a huge disconnect here. Do the course creator’s not understand where we are coming from? We needed to do a whole lot more simple Java programs and then build up to some slightly more complex something, but not a whole game. I really really like the Java that I learned, and would really like to have learned it more thoroughly. I was so disappointed in this class. I feel like it was a wasted opportunity.
It makes me a little mad too because I am paying to learn. I just did what I had to do to muddle through the assignments and get the grade. But that isn’t what I want. I want to actually learn. You kept me too busy with assignments and a multitude of way over my head readings to play catchup.
I shouldn’t have to go take a Java class outside of the university when I’m paying the school to teach me and spending my time to learn here. I wish that I were coming out of this class with a thorough understanding of Java, but I’m not. I spent a whole semester on this with little to show for it. Yet I have an A.
If you already know Java, then you may really enjoy this class. Thankfully, I had someone on my team who works with Java everyday. I think he liked it, although I know he thought there was not enough instruction. Actually, instruction was completely absent. It was all reading. Our instructor was very responsive with emails and gave great feedback and knew the material really well, but he didn’t teach. Probably because the curriculum wasn’t set up that way. He did spend a lot of time and effort in improving the curriculum the best he could with his own simplified version of the game (thankfully!).
Dear curriculum creators,
Ditch the game! Or at least simplify it and make it about 90% simpler. It is ridiculously too complex to teach us.
Read this post and recognize that we are beginning coders. Assume that we know nothing.
Require the teacher to have instruction time so students can ask questions and get immediate feedback.
Have us spend the first weeks writing lots of simple Java programs so that we understand Java.