October 31st, 2007, 2:57 pm PDT by Greg

So, I’m sitting in my office, putting icing on cupcakes for our Halloween potluck. (It’s way easier to transport un-iced cupcakes.) It’s my office hours, but nobody ever comes anyway.

Which brings me to the reason for this post…

There is a list of things that a student expects when they arrive at an instructor’s office hours. The instructor turning around and saying (cheerily) “Cupcake?” while shoving one in their direction? Let’s say that’s probably pretty far down the list.

It was all I could do to keep it together until he finished his question and left. So somewhere, there’s a CMPT 120 student who is very confused, but has a cupcake.

Work… what else is there?

October 24th, 2007, 9:54 pm PDT by Greg

So, it’s been a while. I’m in the middle of a crazy-busy semester, as I mentioned before. Certain things have become luxuries: hobbies, a personal life, leisure time. Other than that, things are going well.

One of my big stress things happened last Friday. We (and by “we”, I mean “I”) hosted a day of professional development activities for IT teachers. This is like the third one of these we have done. My plan is always the same: get them in a room and talking about the good ideas they have had for their classes. Bounce ideas around with just enough structure to keep things moving.

This time, Richard came and we talked about robotics projects and ideas. Richard really knows his shit (which I guess shouldn’t be a surprise, since it is his research area), and I think the teachers came away with some ideas that never would have occurred to them otherwise. The feedback I’ve had has been really good.

Anybody else that wants to take my quiz is welcome to: consider the phrase “High School Robotics Competition”. Form a mental image of what that looks like. Tell me about it.

I just finished putting together my CMPT 120 midterm for Friday. I hate making up exams like a five year old hates eating asparagus. I whine, bitch, moan, procrastinate, and complain about how horrible my life is until it’s finally done. It’s done, so I’ll be much happier until the final exam comes around.

One of the other things I need to do for 120 is create the last assignments. I have always had the last assignment as an open-ended problem that the students don’t have a hope of “finishing”. The goal is for them to work on it, think about algorithms, and get some good stuff done. This lets the just-okay students accomplish something, and really pisses off the good students who work their asses off, learn a lot, but still don’t “finish”.

I was on the bus tonight and finally had the idea I’ve been waiting for. Their assignment is going to be programming the behaviour of a NPC (non-player character) in some kind of game. I haven’t worked out the game, but I’ll create a library to play the game, and their code will have to control the NPC(s) to be good opponents. The game will have to be fairly simple.

Any of the CS types want to help me work that out in exchange for lunch?