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Homework and the Monastery

by dws (Chancellor)
on Sep 09, 2001 at 04:28 UTC ( #111222=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Fall is in the air (in the Northern Hemisphere), and students are returning to school. That means that once again, fellow monks, Homework Time is upon us. This is the season when the internet is overrun with people who have just run headlong into the sobering fact that computer programming requires one to think logically and to Read The Fine Manual. For some, this is an opportunity to stretch, and to develop new sets of skills. For others, the net provides a way to sidestep difficult work.

Before rushing in to help someone who drops a homework problem at the Monastery's doorstop, consider this:

The person who comes today seeking help with their homework might end up being tomorrow's co-worker.
With this thought in mind, as we consider whether to lend our assistance, let us distinguish between
  1. Those who come seeking guidance, and
  2. Those who come seeking to have some problem solved for them.
The former are often worthy of assistance, particularly when they provide evidence that they've made a decent stab at their problem. Here is were we grow the community, by lending a helping hand to those who have sought first to help themselves, as other have often done for us. Even so, we must take care to not cheat the seeker out of the pleasure of solving the problem themselves. As the proverb suggests: Offer advice on fishing, rather than fish.

The latter seekers should also be handled with care. Let us be charitable, and seek first to set their feet upon the path to self knowledge. Provide hints. Point to the docs. Give the seeker an opportunity to rise to their problem. But if that fails, let their nodes be reaped.


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Homework and the Monastery
by perrin (Chancellor) on Sep 09, 2001 at 20:42 UTC
    I've never heard of a comp sci curriculum that was based on Perl. I thought they all used either C or Java. Does anyone have first-hand experience with a school that teaches classes with Perl as the language? I'm just curious. It certainly would have made my computer classes more fun.
      My Alma Matta offers a number of 'elective' languages (such as Perl, Java, and Visual Basic - C++ is still the staple there), usually one or two a semester.

      i attended the CGI Programming with Perl during the summer semester of 1998 - thanks Dr. Cheatham!!


          A flute with no holes is not a flute . . .
      a doughnut with no holes is a danish.
                                      - Basho,
                                        famous philosopher
      I don' t know about any CS curriculum that is based on Perl, but I know some courses in corpus linguistics are based on Perl.

      I had a class in college called data and file processing. It was split between perl and COBOL.
      notice im not at COBOL monks...
Re: Homework and the Monastery
by Beatnik (Parson) on Sep 10, 2001 at 16:34 UTC
    The Uni I'm going to did a Perl class this year, which was pretty sucky (probably coz I tought it). It was part of UN*X class and exam did include a simple question on Perl. No homework tho... If only there was a Cobolmonks where I could go and ask for help.

    ... Quidquid perl dictum sit, altum viditur.

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