Monday, September 04, 2006

Learning Computer Science using the knowledge from other disciplines

We all know the lack of sleep is bad for learning. We all know we human can focus on one thing no more than an hour. We all know working long hours can increase the possibility of human error. And we all know that working overnight is not good for our health and affect other part of our lives.

Those knowledge comes from learning psychology, biology, sociology, etc.

People in Computer Science field are quite educated people.

I am surprised that recently I learned that at a very famous top university, working on programming project until 4 in the morning is considered to be normal.

Most of the students are in early 20s and it's important for them to have healthy life style so that they can establish the foundation for the rest of their lives. Working overnight and long hours is not good for them. It is not educational because you cannot learn much in that condition. Also it deprives the time to learn other subjects from them.

Also equally importantly, from Agile Methodologies, we know that we cannot write a program expecting that it would finish at a predetermined deadline.

Forcing the students to work on the project to be finished on the certain deadline by making them work overnight is wrong both for their health and in the reality of software development.

We should incorporate what we know from other disciplines and create a new grading system to measure the students performance based on what the teachers expect in incremental way - just like in Agile Methodologies, where the value of the software is measured based on what the customers expect from it. At the end of each iteration with the fixed number of hours, the teacher evaluates the project based on the value not on the fact if the project has completed a predetermined content.

These days, athletes are getting benefits from disciplines such as sports psychology and nutrition science. It is an irony the people in Computer Science field who are considered to have more intelligence than professional athletes are working under the condition similar to that of early 20th century.

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