CS 1101: Succeeding in the Course

Our Expectations of You | Tips | How to Study | Teaching Philosophies

Our Expectations for Students

These expectations are less about content, and more about how you proceed through the class.


How to Study

The syllabus page will contain links to extra exercises corresponding to each lecture. If you are having problems with the programming exercises we do in class, try these extra problems. We will be teaching you a step-by-step approach to writing programs early in the course. If you're not able to start writing a program, you're not using the steps. We can help you with the steps if you come to office hours.

Prof. Fisler's Teaching Philosophy

I believe that interaction and reflection are crucial to learning. By interaction, I mean that you need to talk to other people (classmates, friends, course staff) about the material. Talking to other people forces you to articulate how you understand an area; it also provides opportunities for others to challenge your understanding (which in turn refines your understanding). Such interaction is a big part of what you're paying tuition for (as opposed to the more restricted interaction attainable through distance learning), so don't shy away from it.

By reflection, I mean that you need to pay attention to how you are learning as much as what you are learning. You need to stop periodically and ask yourself how you went about a problem and whether it was an effective approach. Assess your skills -- what do you do well and what do you struggle with? If you want to become a better learner (which ultimately makes you a better student), you have to take stock once in a while of how you're going about learning. We're almost never taught this skill of self-reflection, but it plays a large role in our growth as learners.

Occasionally, I may ask you to reflect on how you are solving a problem. Hopefully this will help advance your overall learning skills.

Prof. Gennert's Teaching Philosophy

My approach to teaching is simply stated, "The students come first." That is, a teacher's obligation is to the students. not the material. Whether I cover the exact topics planned for a given day is less critical than that you learn something that day.

I believe that students learn best by engaging actively, not reading and listening passively. The most important parts of a course are the labs and homework exercises. That is where you assemble and assimilate your own knowledge. Thinking and talking about course material are almost as important, so we will often do active learning exercises in class. So do come to class; don't just sit in your room and read the book!

This page maintained by Kathi Fisler
Department of Computer Science Worcester Polytechnic Institute