Any teachers here?

This is a discussion on Any teachers here? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; I'm not sure what you prefer teacher or lecturer. I am wondering when somebody hands in there programming homework, do ...

  1. #1
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    Any teachers here?

    I'm not sure what you prefer teacher or lecturer.

    I am wondering when somebody hands in there programming homework, do you just mark it to see if it is correct. Do you ask them questions about why they did something a certain way, or what something does to make sure they didn't cheat?

    If somebody has programming homework in school and has no intention of ever becoming a programmer and is not at all interested in learning it I could see why they would cheat. I'm not saying it is right, I am just saying I could see why. But I don't get why somebody studying computer science or programming in university or college would try to cheat.

    I mean surely if they don't understand the basics they are going to have more problems later on.

  2. #2
    carry on JaWiB's Avatar
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    >>I mean surely if they don't understand the basics they are going to have more problems later on.

    You would think that, but if much of what is posted on http://thedailywtf.com is true, they just become highly-paid consultants

    I'm not a teacher, but it seems to me that cheating on homework only matters if the teacher either weights tests as only a small part of the grade or allows students to cheat on tests.
    "Think not but that I know these things; or think
    I know them not: not therefore am I short
    Of knowing what I ought."
    -John Milton, Paradise Regained (1671)

    "Work hard and it might happen."
    -XSquared

  3. #3
    Sr. Software Engineer filker0's Avatar
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    I've been an instructor and a teaching assistant at various times in the past.

    When I graded homework, I would mark it for correctness and would also do my best to find out why the student did things the way that they did. I would grade on style as well. I did detect cheating a few times, and was not very sympathetic about motivations -- I was always available to help the students, and when I graded, I would always explain, in detail, what they had done wrong, and what they had done right. I would reward unique solutions.

    Programming, as far as I am concerned (and the courses that I was TA for), programming courses are to teach not just the mechanics of programming in a particular language, but are to teach problem solving. Just writing into code the algorithm that I or the prof wrote on the board was not a good way to get a good grade in the course. All of these courses were electives to non-CS majors.

    Later in life, I was tutoring a friend who was attending graduate school and took a C programming course where the TA marked off if the algorithm used was not the one that she presented during the session. My friend, who had been a CS major herself, got a C on a maze solving problem because she solved the assignment in a manner that was more efficient than that presented in class, and because she used a concept that had not yet been covered. Remember, though she didn't know C (it was not a common language at schools that didn't use Unix systems in the 1970s), she did know programming, and had solved mazes many times before. I was appalled at the TA's policies, and went in to talk to her. She refused to talk to me and called campus security. I then spoke to the professor in charge of the course, and though I was unable to help my friend get the homework grade reviewed, I did get to lecture his graduate students, including the TA, on the motivation for teaching programming and such, and the responsibilities of the TA toward their students.
    Insert obnoxious but pithy remark here

  4. #4
    CS Author and Instructor
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    Have not posted here in over 3 months

    I teach programming at the 2 year college. This semester C and Java...


    Just some comments:
    why somebody studying computer science or programming in university or college would try to cheat.
    Why cheat?

    1. Pressure (others, etc.)
    2. Not motivated (easy way out)
    3. Think that programming would be easy (they can do it)then realize they have to cheat to do well (really have no clue)...

    I mean surely if they don't understand the basics they are going to have more problems later on.
    Yep they more than likely will

    You would think that, but if much of what is posted on http://thedailywtf.com is true, they just become highly-paid consultants
    Not going to comment here...

    I'm not a teacher, but it seems to me that cheating on homework only matters if the teacher either weights tests as only a small part of the grade or allows students to cheat on tests.
    Yes, to some extent with homework. But why would an instructor allow a student to cheat on an exam.? My students take their test in a testing center where everything is controlled. I never give take home exams and always have students write some code on individual tests. I can usually tell "who knows it or not"

    When I graded homework, I would mark it for correctness and would also do my best to find out why the student did things the way that they did. I would grade on style as well. I did detect cheating a few times, and was not very sympathetic about motivations -- I was always available to help the students, and when I graded, I would always explain, in detail, what they had done wrong, and what they had done right. I would reward unique solutions.
    I think this depends on the course placement level (lower level-upper level) and the student ability level. not everyone has the proper prerequistes for the course- so I usually teach middle of the road.
    I grade using a rubic and base there overall grade on some of the following:

    correctness, following directions, indivdual style...

    Programming, as far as I am concerned (and the courses that I was TA for), programming courses are to teach not just the mechanics of programming in a particular language, but are to teach problem solving.
    Very well said filker- I agree but some people cannot handle problem solving...that is hardest obsticle to overcome..

    JC
    Last edited by Mister C; 02-08-2006 at 10:33 PM.
    Mr. C: Author and Instructor

  5. #5
    unleashed alphaoide's Avatar
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    I'm not a teacher but I could tell you about my teachers. They would only look at the code in first-year courses. The rest of the years, they, most of the time, would just feed your program with different inputs and expect correct outputs. If no correct outputs, you'd get some small points it just compiles. otherwise, you'd get nothing regardless the compile error.

    Only a few teachers have good understanding of good and bad code; we've been hearing the stories of teachers with bad practices around here, haven't we?

    That said, this is FYI for those who still go to college, don't depend on your teachers, don't depend on the curriculum. I would also strongly caution discussing homework with your friends (they give away answers too easily). If someone has trouble in problem solving, he might just need to do more of it...with minimum, if really necessary, help.
    source: compsci textbooks, cboard.cprogramming.com, world wide web, common sense

  6. #6
    chococoder
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    Yes, to some extent with homework. But why would an instructor allow a student to cheat on an exam.? My students take their test in a testing center where everything is controlled. I never give take home exams and always have students write some code on individual tests. I can usually tell "who knows it or not"
    I've seen places (I'm no teacher but I've been a student who got along with them really well and heard things he maybe shouldn't have) where teachers were judged (for performance reviews etc.) based on the average and top grades of their students.
    Many would mark assignments higher than they should have as a result to make themselves look good, up to and including passing students who should have failed and turning a blind eye towards cheating.
    Usually these were teachers who would not have to grade the final exams (which were doublechecked by teachers from other schools precisely to prevent such fraud), thus would not be the ones facing the ultimate consequence of having incapable students face those tests (which in this country are created by a government agency, not the schools).

    I think this depends on the course placement level (lower level-upper level) and the student ability level. not everyone has the proper prerequistes for the course- so I usually teach middle of the road.
    If a student doesn't have what it takes to pass the course he should fail. If a student has what it takes but is a bit slow picking it up he'll need extra coaching, that's what teachers are there for.
    Too many teachers in my experience seem to think they have only 2 duties: to talk to their students a few hours each week and to grade their exams. But IMO a teacher's duty doesn't end when the students leave the classroom, it starts there (and luckily I've had many teachers who thought the same way and were generally available for discussion and questions whenever they weren't actually teaching another class).

    If somebody has programming homework in school and has no intention of ever becoming a programmer and is not at all interested in learning it I could see why they would cheat. I'm not saying it is right, I am just saying I could see why. But I don't get why somebody studying computer science or programming in university or college would try to cheat.
    Many kids these days are fundamentally lazy (this may or may not be increasing from when I was at school, but I do know that all but one or two of my classmates whereever I was on whichever subject wouldn't ever consider cheating).
    I personally blame the attitude of parents more than anything. Many seem to have no interest in their children.
    From birth they drop them off at a daycare center on the way to work in the morning and pick them up again after dinner at night.
    Once the kid reaches an age where he goes to school they drop him off at school in the morning (or more often give them a key to the house) and that's all the interaction they have with the kid.
    When a kid shows any interest in doing more than sitting quietly in front of the TV or his game console he's taken to a doctor, diagnosed with ADHD, and stuffed full of tranquilisers.
    Kids are also never introduced to real life, they get everything they want without knowing what it took to produce and procure, therefore have no appreciation of what it takes to earn a living.
    That treatment leads kids to have no interest in the world around them. They are totally absorbed in their dreamworld as presented by television and computer games, worlds in which there is noone doing a real job making things happen but everything just appears when needed as if by magic just as it does for them.

    It's not weird that kids growing up like that don't WANT to spend effort to learn a trade, learn skills needed later in life.
    They don't see the need for those skills, think that school is just a place where your parents send you to be rid of you and all that homework is just make-work to keep you occupied while your parents use the TV.

    Parents don't motivate their children, don't show an interest in their education (except complaining about the cost maybe, but only among themselves).
    Teachers don't see it as their duty to engage their students, in fact many seem to see students as a necessary evil which keeps them from more interesting things like research (especially at universities), and those that do face the trouble of parents sueing them for intruding in their perk of raising their kids.
    School administrators want the highest passing grades for as many students as possible because that makes the school look good (thus attracting more students) and school budgets are directly related to the number of students.

    So who's motivating kids? Who's motivating teachers to grade tough and discourage cheating? Who's motivating schools to tell teachers to create quality students rather than handing out useless high grades to pump up figures (I've heard of schools that no longer give failing grades because that might demotivate pupils...)?

  7. #7
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    Ah, but many of us kids ARE motivated. I have to admit, my parents (parent) arent that attentive. I'd have it no other way though, I'm going through that "rebbelious" phase that really never actualy ends, so its not rightfully a phase :P. But anyways, I'm motivated but my own will to learn, the worlds an interesting place! Most people seem to walk on and not really care that they're here, its just sad. (How'd this come into subject again?)

    Now, I know for a fact why kids sit on a computer all day (Like me). Its cause all day, people say what a HORRIBLE place the world is, germs everywhere! Murderers rampant! Diseased food! EVERYTHING! It builds up a paranoia, and it takes alot of mental willpower to overcome it. I have to say, I'd rather watch a murdering horror-stroy movie than the news. The news is just... Disturbing? I really dont need to know how some massmurderer went around disassembling people in china... Its good to be informed, but this informed... Disturbing to say the least.

    And yes, I do know what my parents go through to get me the life I had. Work a desk job for eight hours. Thats a good motivation tool right their, "Do you REALLY want to grow up to be like me?" :P.

    I dont take any medicine (on a continuing basis) for anything either. I dont do drugs, I dont drink, I'm just happy debugging my program so very lifelessly :P.

    Now, to the subject. Cheating is just stupid. If you're lazy, dont go to colledge. If its to hard, drop the class (Or get a tutor). Theirs no reason to cheat.

    I did an experiment once, my teacher asked me to write an essay on why I enjoy school. I wrote an essay on why I dont enjoy school. Not only was it purposfully off-subject, it also sucked. I got an A+ for it. I could hand in a ball of .......... and my english teacher would give me an A. I like my math teacher alot more, shes stricker, but she actualy teaches. I'm really not motivated in most school subjects. Half the time I just stare into the board, hoping my teacher might actualy give us something to do, other than a ninty page test on english, which my teacher doesnt make me complete...
    Last edited by Blackroot; 02-11-2006 at 02:58 AM.
    Code:
    Error W8057 C:\\Life.cpp: Invalid number of arguments in function run(Brain *)

  8. #8
    Sr. Software Engineer filker0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackroot
    I did an experiment once, my teacher asked me to write an essay on why I enjoy school. I wrote an essay on why I dont enjoy school. Not only was it purposfully off-subject, it also sucked. I got an A+ for it.
    I did something similar in highschool. The assignment was to write a research paper on a topic assigned by the prof (he pulled them out of a shoebox in order to assign them.) I got the topic "academic fraud". This was the term paper, and accounted for a large portion of the grade for the semester.

    I wrote two papers -- one serious one, with carefully researched sources, footnotes, bibliography, and such. I got that done with about 3 days to spare (we had 2 weeks). The second, I knocked off in one night. All of the sources were made up or mis-attributed. Parts of the paper were plagurized, others were original but attributed to some of the aforementioned ficticious sources. The conclusions were the same for both papers, but the second one was a complete and utter fraud.

    I gave the first to another teacher to give to the other when I got called out on the fraudulent one and turned in the second one. I never got called on it. I don't know if teacher B gave teacher A the paper behind my back, which is a definite possibility, but I got an A on the paper that was returned to me, and the other paper (the real one) was returned to me unmarked.

    That was the highest grade I ever got on a research paper in highschool.
    Insert obnoxious but pithy remark here

  9. #9
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackroot
    I did an experiment once, my teacher asked me to write an essay on why I enjoy school. I wrote an essay on why I dont enjoy school. Not only was it purposfully off-subject, it also sucked. I got an A+ for it.
    When I was in highschool, I used to hand in BS papers all the time. Not cause of an experiment, mostly because I didn't research the assignment. Almost every time it got the failing grade that it deserved. The rest of the time, the teacher was nice and gave me a D.

    What's true for one is not true for all. In this case, I'd say it's not true for most. This statement is not directed at you Blackroot, it's just direct at anyone that might take your experiment incorrectly.
    Sent from my iPadŽ

  10. #10
    chococoder
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    Quite likely you got an A for the combination of the two papers, when you would not have gotten it on any one of them on its own.
    Most teachers (despite what many kids seem to think) aren't stupid or lazy, they want their pupils to think for themselves and therefore don't spoonfeed the kids information.
    Kids though often expect to be spoonfed information and think that if a teacher doesn't tell them step by step how to do something he tells them to do the teacher himself doesn't know when in fact the teacher knows perfectly well but wants the kids to find out for themselves.

    That's why I take 90% of the shouts about "my teacher is an idiot who doesn't know anything" to be utter nonsense and just laziness on the part of the kid to think for himself.

  11. #11
    unleashed alphaoide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by filker0
    Parts of the paper were plagurized, others were original but attributed to some of the aforementioned ficticious sources. The conclusions were the same for both papers, but the second one was a complete and utter fraud.
    Oh, you gotta hate this website ( http://turnitin.com/static/home.html ) then. Many teachers in my college use it.
    source: compsci textbooks, cboard.cprogramming.com, world wide web, common sense

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