Are students getting dumber or is the site getting more popular?

This is a discussion on Are students getting dumber or is the site getting more popular? within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; A few years ago I'd see about half a page of new posts in the C programing section per day, ...

  1. #1
    and the hat of sweating
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    Are students getting dumber or is the site getting more popular?

    A few years ago I'd see about half a page of new posts in the C programing section per day, but lately it's been about 1.5 pages/day.
    I don't even have time to keep up with all the new posts each day anymore. I just skim for any interesting ones...

    Although the C++ section seems the same as it was before. Not many people taking C++ in school?
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

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    "Are students getting dumber or is the site getting more popular?"

    Yes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CommonTater View Post
    Yes.
    ^This
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    Registered User NeonBlack's Avatar
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    Yes.

    For-profit colleges are popping up all over the place, and universities are increasingly being run as businesses. They're admitting more students, and admitting more dumb students, since they're the ones who wouldn't have gone to college in the past.

    So the average student is dumber and there are more of them.
    I copied it from the last program in which I passed a parameter, which would have been pre-1989 I guess. - esbo

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeonBlack View Post
    For-profit colleges are popping up all over the place, and universities are increasingly being run as businesses. They're admitting more students, and admitting more dumb students, since they're the ones who wouldn't have gone to college in the past.
    So the average student is dumber and there are more of them.
    Not to mention teachers are getting dumber too.

    Some of the assignments are just plain silly.
    Then there's the lament that teachers are not being very helpful at all.
    And what's with all this 16 bit Turbo C crap?

    I'm guessing somebody pulled a dusty old box out of a closet and said "Eureka... we have a programming course!" then added this URL for students to go to with their problems.

    When paying hard earned cash to take a course, students should reasonably expect a teacher who "knows their stuff" and tools newer than the mesazoic era. I used to teach computer service in a corporate environment. If any of my students made some of the comments I'm seeing... they'd have fired my butt for it.
    Last edited by CommonTater; 11-13-2010 at 12:55 AM.

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    The appearance that students are getting dumber also stems from the fact that many/most of the people we see coming here are the dregs of the CS student body, in addition to the for-profit "universities" mentioned above. These are the people who thought, "Gee, I love playing video games, I'm going to go into computer science!" They are people who lack even rudimentary research skills, such that they appear here with questions easily answered by a simple search via their engine of choice. Many of these, if they don't manage to cheat their way through, will end up being culled out of the CS program fairly quickly.

    The overarching problem is that there are so many resources available to facilitate cheating, and too many instructors that don't give a crap, that a lot of these folks are getting through their curricula "successfully". I happen to think a large number of them end up in unscrupulous body shops overseas, to which unsuspecting Western companies contract out tasks only to get back crap, poorly-documented (if documented at all) code that needs to be rewritten in return. Consequently I believe there needs to be a real effort to NOT spoon-feed these people when they show up here.

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    Unfortunately the college world has abandoned C/C++ and so this is what you get. It has been relegated to non-mainstream colleges b/c most of the collegiate world sees C/C++ as an antiquated, difficult to teach, and dying language. I certainly do not agree but no one is asking me so that is a moot point.

    No one coming out of college knows much, if anything, about C++ these days.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommonTater View Post
    And what's with all this 16 bit Turbo C crap?
    Or Visual C++ 6.0.

    The problem is also lack of teachers ability to stay up-to-date with the language developments. For some reason many teachers take the same approach to a programming class as an highschool history teacher would; an immovable science.

    It takes a programmer in the active to teach properly, but highschool especially is filled with retired programmers, or programmers that remained too long outside the circle of developers and spent the last years inside a class room. It's also a responsibility of the school board, but with no one to tell them these teachers do not actually contribute to a teaching of quality, or with the near impossibility of hiring programmers in the active, the problem will remain.

    This is, I feel, the most significant problem of them all, because students are often the reflection of their teachers. The really interested students will find their learning elsewhere, eager to just reach university for proper learning. They don't come here asking silly questions. They already know the answers. But then there are those who need to make ends meet for whatever reason. These will mimic their teacher's inability to teach and general lack of knowledge in the programming language they are teaching.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    IMO a part of the problem is that (from my experience) nearly all courses use Java for their handins. I think there is one course in my CS program that teaches C and it didnt even cover some basic stuff like linked lists.

    Many of my courses uses Java "because it is easier" (and in some cases some bastardization of java where a preprocessor was involved to create the actual java-code...). I dont have any grudge with java per say (except i dont like it but that is not part of my reasoning here) but that it creates dumbed down programmers, programmers who dont know how a linked list is really represented in memory, who do not understand how an array is stored in memory and so on. So by using java as the main language when teaching it is my strong opinion that people do not get an understanding of some very important and basic CS-related subjects.

    I think university should teach unmanaged languages first and then when a good understanding of how those languages work and how they connect to the real hardware is achieved they can switch to managed, unfortunately this does not seem to be the case.
    Last edited by Shakti; 11-14-2010 at 04:03 AM.

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    I resent that this became a discussion on how stupid people are. I haven't really noticed that the forum is getting faster. Even if it is, I can't accept that as an indicator of stupidity. To me it just sounds like you're burned out at the wrong time.

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    Whiteflags.... While I also find the conversation a bit awkward, I will confess to finding it usefull in understanding the state of the art a little better. Whether that understanding comes from agreement or an analysis of my disagreement is still an open question.

    I also have to admit to being "not in the active" per Mario's definition. I do C stuff as a hobby, mainly, and I'll be honest I'm not really all that interested in keeping myself on the cutting edge right now. Object oriented languages are --and will remain-- a mystery to me.

    I get the concepts behind multi-platform, multi-processor code. I get the idea behind re-introducing interpreters as a means to build "run anywhere" code. I even get the concept of abstraction in higher level languages...

    But what really interests me here is that practically every time I've been in a conversation like this one and the concept of "dumbing down" gets tossed into the mix, the fingers always point at Java and .NET ... the supposed fix for so many problems... but in this round the discussion is actually about C...

    My point? Even a somewhat uncomfortable encounter can be a good learning experience.
    Last edited by CommonTater; 11-14-2010 at 04:05 AM.

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    Registered User Char*Pntr's Avatar
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    Thumbs up I Agree!

    Quote Originally Posted by rags_to_riches View Post
    The appearance that students are getting dumber also stems from the fact that many/most of the people we see coming here are the dregs of the CS student body, in addition to the for-profit "universities" mentioned above. These are the people who thought, "Gee, I love playing video games, I'm going to go into computer science!" They are people who lack even rudimentary research skills, such that they appear here with questions easily answered by a simple search via their engine of choice. Many of these, if they don't manage to cheat their way through, will end up being culled out of the CS program fairly quickly.

    The overarching problem is that there are so many resources available to facilitate cheating, and too many instructors that don't give a crap, that a lot of these folks are getting through their curricula "successfully". I happen to think a large number of them end up in unscrupulous body shops overseas, to which unsuspecting Western companies contract out tasks only to get back crap, poorly-documented (if documented at all) code that needs to be rewritten in return. Consequently I believe there needs to be a real effort to NOT spoon-feed these people when they show up here.
    I could not have stated this any more eloquently. However:

    Consequently I believe there needs to be a real effort to NOT spoon-feed these people when they show up here
    I'm not sure if this is a staff problem. I've noticed many times, when we get the "help! Help!" and a half-assed to-do list with NO code, someone will reply, let's see your code first... show some effort" which is the correct response.

    The problem, invariably, is that a few new members here - of several months, approaching a bloated post count of nearly 1,000 - takes over the thread and literally spoon feeds the noobie op. much to my dismay. Then, the lame thread grows even larger, when the experienced programmers here have to correct the added misinformation.

    So what is a possible solution? Maybe the staff here could implement a low calorie Post Count and some exercise for new members here of - say less than one year.

    (turn off the computer & take the dog for a walk while ignoring that noob post with no code provided)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Char*Pntr View Post
    The problem, invariably, is that a few new members here - of several months, approaching a bloated post count of nearly 1,000 - takes over the thread and literally spoon feeds the noobie op. much to my dismay. Then, the lame thread grows even larger, when the experienced programmers here have to correct the added misinformation.
    True except for one assumption ... new here does not automatically mean "new programmer".

    What do you say to someone who's been working with code in one language or another for several years but just found this BBS in the last couple of days?

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    Registered User Char*Pntr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommonTater View Post
    True except for one assumption ... new here does not automatically mean "new programmer".
    No. That was your assumption, not mine. I used the phrase "new member". Whether someone has 1 year, or 30 years of programming experience, the person is still a new member when they register. :-)

    What do you say to someone who's been working with code in one language or another for several years but just found this BBS in the last couple of days?
    It's my belief, in that case, the person with years of programming experience, tend to read the FAQ's first and ask questions the smart way. To them, it's second nature. They probably had more intelligent instructors, and had to learn programming with books, pencil and lots of paper. They didn't need to have their hand held every step of the way, as I'm seeing with some noobie posts here.

    And that brings this back on topic now. Most noobs blow right by the Homework Policy page without reading it.

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    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shakti View Post
    Many of my courses uses Java "because it is easier" (and in some cases some bastardization of java where a preprocessor was involved to create the actual java-code...). I dont have any grudge with java per say (except i dont like it but that is not part of my reasoning here) but that it creates dumbed down programmers, programmers who dont know how a linked list is really represented in memory, who do not understand how an array is stored in memory and so on. So by using java as the main language when teaching it is my strong opinion that people do not get an understanding of some very important and basic CS-related subjects.
    That depends on what you are going to do. Are you going to work with hardware? Then fundamental knowledge is required. Are you simply going to write computer software? Then that knowledge is unnecessary.
    In fact, knowing how an array is stored in memory is a drawback, not a positive thing. Because there could be thousands of ways of storing arrays, and as such, abstraction is good. Use it, without knowing how exactly it works. That is a principle of modern programming languages. And that makes it more portable, as well.
    Understanding linked lists is a subject for algorithms, not programming languages.

    I think university should teach unmanaged languages first and then when a good understanding of how those languages work and how they connect to the real hardware is achieved they can switch to managed, unfortunately this does not seem to be the case.
    That is a waste of time unless students are going to work with hardware. Instead, they could utilize that time to provide a larger assortment of topics in the programming course to make the students real programmers instead of having to learn a lot of stuff they won't need later.
    And this applies to C++, as well. Though unmanaged, I'd recommend the same approach.
    Only C, I think, and possible other low-level languages such as assembly, would benefit from such knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Char*Pntr View Post
    So what is a possible solution? Maybe the staff here could implement a low calorie Post Count and some exercise for new members here of - say less than one year.
    What exactly are you proposing? That new people take tests?

    Quote Originally Posted by Char*Pntr View Post
    And that brings this back on topic now. Most noobs blow right by the Homework Policy page without reading it.
    A common problem on all forums with no easy solution. Just point fingers at them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

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