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Comment Cram, or light their fire? (Score 1) 467

There are three key points here:
1) You need to be clear why the students are being offered this course. What are they expected to gain from it? (I hope you know this already, but you haven't told us.)

2) You need your professor to be very clear to you about what work is good enough to pass the course. Good students (which I assume you are) often have great difficulty in accepting work which is below the standard they set themselves, but clearly there must be a big gap between what you are used to doing which receives high marks and what just scrapes through.

3) Go through the basics very slowly. Part of the point of the course must be to encourage the students to go on and work to really master the subject. You need to give the impression they can get on top of it. Hurrying them through half-understood material will not give them the confidence to go further. Always have some extension exercises for students who do zip through your material. You can give them little challenges to work on while you assist the bulk of the students towards getting a good grasp.

[4) if there are a lot of absolute beginners in your class, request a second person to be your helper. Having two people makes a huge difference.]

Comment Re:Slashdot could be hugely improved (Score 2, Insightful) 624

There is a very fuzzy border between "-1 Disagree" and "-1 Actively Misleading". We do need some way to signal that the poster is playing fast and loose with objective fact. On Digg or Reddit without downvotes you could simply add a comment explaining your doubts -- though I would do that a lot less often than I downvote on those grounds, would we get a lot of one rude word comments? -- but on Slashdot a moderator with expert knowledge in a topic would have to choose whether to abandon all his mods for that thread just to make a correction of fact for one comment.

Comment Who are you going to hire? (Score 1) 663

LOL! Some wonderful comments here. Your concern for the employers hiring programmers of below average intelligence on the basis of their school qualifications alone is admirable, but there are few organisations in the UK doing that.

Or maybe people are not noticing that this is a school qualification in a country where there is a stated aim of 50% of young people going on to university? So, OK, it is more like 40% in practice. But do employers really employ school-leavers as programmers expecting them to be ready for work without further training? Not unless the kids have substantial extra experience.

Also, this is about a school-level academic qualification with the assessment set nationally -- but there are other similarly national qualifications for the age group that are designed to be vocational, more closely adapted to the needs of work. This one is not what a schoolkid would take if they wanted to go straight into a job.

Comment Re:Causes problems with Android (Score 1) 48

The other way round for me. I registered my Android in the UK to a new gmail address last summer. All fine until the last couple of weeks, when Google seemed to be aggressively editing my login to googlemail on my desktop -- not helpful for those apps which sync to the cloud. Fortunately I didn't run into obvious problems on the phone itself.

So today I have had to positively fix that account back to gmail, whereas the old, old account I use for Reader has stayed gmail throughout. But I made a new one about 3 years back for an organisation, and that has been googlemail, despite being registered as gmail. Very odd.

I suspect the story is not very enthusiastic enforcement by Google, with a demonstration of "good faith" in the last few weeks.

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