Wednesday, 1 April 2015


This was certainly one heck of a semester. This whole school year in particular was filled with a lot of personal tragedies, which have certainly made fulfilling my academic obligations a challenge- particularly when it came down to the weekly SLOGS and quizzes. And in addition to all this, I ended up in the middle of a strike. As a result, 4 quizzes were cancelled along with their accompanying tutorials. Which kinda sucks, since the 10% of the mark allocated to all the quizzes originally scheduled is now being allocated to the 6 or so that actually got carried out. And since I didn't do quite as well the earlier quizzes as the later ones, I only stand to lose as a result of the strike. Now, don't confuse my feelings on the impact of the strike with my opinions on the legitimacy of the strike itself. I'm not brave enough to discuss those on a blog read by both instructors and TA's. What I wish to impart, though, is just the simple recognition that this was a messed up semester, for more than a few reasons.

However, with that said, I think I learned a tremendous amount from this course. Now, if I can be honest, I think I learned a lot more from the exercises and assignments than I did from the lectures and tutorials. In fact, I often skipped them just due to how pointless they seemed. However, I can't help but think that the course was designed to be that way. Computer science- as the lecture notes made abundantly clear- is really more about computational thinking and problem solving than about understanding one specific program, syntax or algorithm. And in order to solve problems, you need to get used to this notion of actually understanding the problem in the first place. And not just in a higher-level sense, but also in the way a computer would understand the problem- as a set of instructions to be performed sequentially. This requires you to represent the problem in many ways- in higher levels of abstraction, which ignore implementation and focus on the problem itself, and on lower levels, in which you work out the nitty gritty. This is a skill, and skills require practice. So in that sense, I am deeply grateful for the opportunities I was provided to continuously hone my skills. I can say with great confidence that, despite the hardships I've faced this semester, I came out of it as an improved person.

1 comment:

  1. Now that you mention it, I do believe that the course was designed in a way where professors expected several students to not come to the lectures. I too skipped the lectures several times because I could always find the detailed slides and worksheets posted online after class. While many professors for other courses at UofT don't even post the slides after class, computer science is a subject where you could teach yourself given the many resources we have available nowadays.

    As for the strike- I believe that the change in the allocation of the quiz weightings was a little unfair for some. For those who didn't do so well in the beginning, they are at the losing end of the stick. I, however, did well in the beginning and had low expectations for future quizzes, so I am glad about the change. In the end, theres both sides to the story.