Learning from My Mistakes


Today was the first foray into the labs with the new First Year group. A splendid bunch of folks. Last year I blogged about the sneaky thing we did with the sample program. It worked so well that we did it again this year. But of course there is always something more….

At the end of the lab we have a silly test, with one or two sensible questions. It’s there get everyone used to the test environment and it works quite well. One sensible question asks you to identify the problem that broke the program. It’s a multiple choice question with lots of stupid possibilities, along with the answer “The program used a multiply operator instead of divide". Actually the mistake is that it used a multiply operator instead of a plus. It was originally a genuine mistake. But I’ve left it in because it us actually quite useful.

Quite a few people spotted this mistake in the question and came and told us about it. One or two didn’t bother because they assumed the knew what we meant. Please don’t ever do this. If you find what looks like a mistake in something to do with the course, and you just assume you know what has happened you might be heading for trouble. Please, please, please let us know if you see anything that looks wrong in stuff that we give you.

To refer to the post on Wednesday, we do an awful lot of planning. Because it is crucial. But we also know that stuff happens that we don’t think of, which can break our careful plans. So we need to be told if something might not be right so that we can fix it if required.

Oh, and thanks to all the students who turned up and worked hard. Everyone I saw was chugging through the exercises very nicely. The real teaching starts next week. It’s going to be fun..