I messed up - any advice?

This is a discussion on I messed up - any advice? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Ok, I've been doing a C programming assignment for a few months now. I found C hard to contend with, ...

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    16

    I messed up - any advice?

    Ok, I've been doing a C programming assignment for a few months now. I found C hard to contend with, but scrapped together an assignment with hard work and help from friends and even some advice from this forum.

    I work hard to present the assignment nicely and knew that I would have to explain my code to my lecturer in a 'little meeting' that he has with each student.
    I've since found out that this meeting is what gets you all the marks for your assignment and if you do quite well then you've got a pass before even taking the exam.
    I however did not know this until it was too late and so was unprepared for the 'chat' with my lecturer, in short i couldn't really explain my code and I ended up with less than 10%.

    My lecturer is very arrogant and can be quite intimidating when grilling you on code, I just couldn't think properly or answer his questions and in short - I screwed up big time.
    I'm then told that the actual paper assignment barely gains ANY marks and so I failed my assignment miserably because I screwed up on explaining the code.

    As I said, I have scrapped the code together and when I completed a program I didn't really look at it again in detail. I did out in plenty of notes within the code to explain what's happening but that didn't save me at all with the questions that I was being asked. He was saying ''explain how this works", "what does this line do", "How would I do this" - and I just couldn't answer. My lecturer then starts accusing me of copying code as I could not explain it, which obviously I did not like to hear and so did 'bite back' a little bit.

    It's very important I pass this as my company send me to uni on day release and if I fail I will lose my job. (I am however allowed a resit on all subjects - but don't look forward to continuing with C programming resits)

    Any ideas or advice on what I can, should do or should've done?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    cwr
    cwr is offline
    Registered Luser cwr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    868
    I'm sure it's not the only assignment you will have to do. Next time, be prepared to explain your code, obviously. If you can't explain every line, there's something very wrong with either your code or your brain, assuming you didn't copy it, as you said.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by cwr
    I'm sure it's not the only assignment you will have to do. Next time, be prepared to explain your code, obviously. If you can't explain every line, there's something very wrong with either your code or your brain, assuming you didn't copy it, as you said.
    Just by your reply I can tell you are advanced at C programming and it probably comes easy to you. What you have to understand is that if I get a line of code written down I might not necessarily know what it does a week later just by glancing at it. I am a complete newbie to it and find it VERY difficult to grasp. If I had have been prepared I know I could have coped with most the the questions thrown at me (except anything on bubble loops).

  4. #4
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    8,825
    If you took the course again, would it be possible that you got a different lecturer?

  5. #5
    cwr
    cwr is offline
    Registered Luser cwr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    868
    You need to know what it does a week later, just by glancing at it.

    One of the signs of a good program is that it's readable by the person who wrote it. If you think you've written a line of code that's particularly sneaky and/or clever, then a comment would be useful.

    Likewise, if a whole routine isn't immediately obvious, then explaining it in a comment would be good.

  6. #6
    5|-|1+|-|34|) ober's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    4,429
    No offense, but it sounds like you didn't do any prep-work on your own before this meeting. Even if you write it 6 months before the meeting, take an hour or 2, if necessary, before the meeting and sit down and make sure you understand exactly what is going on. Whether you cheated or not is not the issue here. Getting a good grasp on the code you apparently wrote would be the first thing I'd try to do before meeting with someone to talk about it.

    Good luck.
    EntropySink. You know you have to click it.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    277
    Quote Originally Posted by ober
    No offense, but it sounds like you didn't do any prep-work on your own before this meeting.
    Good luck.
    The point is that if you really did the work even that just the part of mounting the last version by the parts that were given to you you would know what each piece does even if you dont know how it is done. If you were familiar with C you would talk enought about it at least to pass the interview.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    16
    This is exactly it, I didn't do any prep work on studying the code because I believed getting my assignment write up finished was the most important thing. Turns out I was pretty much mistaken!

  9. #9
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Out of scope
    Posts
    4,066
    Yeah... here is the thing that the programmers reading this are having trouble figuring. You managed to DO the assignment without doing the prep work or understanding the code that's written in it. How can you possibly expect that code to be acceptable for handing in if you don't understand it?

    That's like an apprentice-builder saying "Oh I didn't bother laying the plans out or understanding how the tools work cause I thought building the house was the most important thing."
    Sent from my iPadŽ

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    16
    Touche SlyMaelstrom,

    But in all honestly, that's pretty much what I done! I fumbled my way through the assignment without totally understanding what I was doing. I've still learnt a fair bit as times gone on though.

    We did some simple things in class, and I understood basic loops and stuff - then when it came to the assignment I just used a bit of trial and error and got some help from people. I found it hard to understand, because I don't find it interesting, but I think I don't find it interesting because I find it hard to understand! Vicious circle if you ask me...

  11. #11
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    8,825
    See if there's makeup work the instructor will let you do. Explain you didn't know how the work was graded, maybe.

    Honestly though, if I was in the instructor's shoes and you weren't able to explain a program that you had supposedly written, it'd look a lot like you had cheated.

  12. #12
    Anti-Poster
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    1,399
    Quote Originally Posted by Govtcheez
    Honestly though, if I was in the instructor's shoes and you weren't able to explain a program that you had supposedly written, it'd look a lot like you had cheated.
    Agreed. Sounds a lot like poor HelpMePlease.

    This seems to be a common misconception about homework assignments. Many students believe the most important thing is to complete the assignment. That's obviously wrong. If the professor really wanted the assignment completed, the professor would probably write it himself/herself. Assignments are given as a learning oppertunity for the student. Simply completing the assignment is trivial; actually understanding the concepts necessary to complete the assignment is the important part. I completely agree with the grade you earned.

    When I find a concept is difficult to understand, I take the same approach as I do when I program. I break it down and step back until I'm at concepts that I do completely understand. Then I slowly put it back together again. I encourage you to take a similar approach. Make a list of all the concepts you do understand, and then start building knowledge off of that foundation.
    If I did your homework for you, then you might pass your class without learning how to write a program like this. Then you might graduate and get your degree without learning how to write a program like this. You might become a professional programmer without knowing how to write a program like this. Someday you might work on a project with me without knowing how to write a program like this. Then I would have to do you serious bodily harm. - Jack Klein

  13. #13
    It's full of stars adrianxw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    4,831
    I find it suprising that you had no idea of how an end of term was going to be graded. In any academic setting I have been involved with, the rules are laid out well in advance. You even say...

    >>>
    and knew that I would have to explain my code to my lecturer in a 'little meeting'
    <<<

    If you had kept up with your course work, and queried things you did not understand at the appropriate time, it would not have been necessary to cobble and crib something together at the last moment, and then be totally unable to explain "your" code.

    Put yourself in your lecturers shoes, he has a student with an assignment, who is quite incapable of having produced it. He knows the net is full of help sites, many of which will do h/w assignments for students. What would you think if you were he?

    At the end of the day, you need to be able to explain your code, and as some of the others have said, if you can't remotely explain your own code a week after you have written it, then it was poor code.

    I also believe it is most unlikely that the year end results, (assuming a normal academic year), will be totally dependant on this one assignment. What you need to do is pull your finger out, and make absolutely sure that ALL the rest of your work in that course is the absolute best. If that means having to do some work, well, that's what your there for.

    If you are incapable of doing this kind of work, it is time to move on.
    Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity unto the dream.

  14. #14
    train spotter
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    near a computer
    Posts
    3,856
    This is just from my experience in studing and writing code so feel free to ignore it....

    If you had trouble writing the code then it would have been full of bugs.

    If the code was full of bugs then you would have had to run it multiple times (and in great detail) to get it to work.

    If you had debug the code multiple times then you would understand what each (important) line in it did.

    If you had learnt the concepts the assignment was designed to impart then you can explain these concepts to others.




    So lazy or cheating or both?

    >>I found it hard to understand, because I don't find it interesting

    Then do something else.

    You will always be learning/teaching yourself something new in programming due to the speed that IT devlops new technologies.
    "Man alone suffers so excruciatingly in the world that he was compelled to invent laughter."
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    "I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars......the rest I squandered."
    George Best

    "If you are going through hell....keep going."
    Winston Churchill

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    New Delhi
    Posts
    40
    If I had have been prepared I know I could have coped with most the the questions thrown at me (except anything on bubble loops).
    Ninestar, what is a bubble loop?
    Thanks,
    Sahil

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Popular pages Recent additions subscribe to a feed

Similar Threads

  1. Need advice about list of lists
    By handytxg in forum C++ Programming
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-18-2009, 05:03 PM
  2. Advice on C Programming with MSVC++ 2008
    By IT_Guy in forum Windows Programming
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-06-2009, 03:23 AM
  3. game engine advice?
    By stien in forum Game Programming
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-23-2007, 02:46 PM
  4. girl friend advice (prob. the wrong place)
    By B0bDole in forum A Brief History of Cprogramming.com
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 10-22-2004, 06:38 PM
  5. Who's telling the truth??? Career Advice Needed Badly
    By Ican'tCjax,fl in forum C Programming
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-06-2002, 05:16 PM

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21