Friday, April 10, 2009

The Last Lap

These last couple of weeks have been extremely hectic.

Two weeks ago, my ex-classmate, Chiangkai, gave the class an overview of issues of security and privacy. Perhaps it wasn't too detailed - but it was never meant to be. People make a whole career out of security. It would not be reasonable for the class to actually "learn" security in a two-hour lecture.

The intention of the lesson was mainly to highlight issues of security so that the students know that it is something that has to be taken into consideration whenever they create web applications.

With the Final Project presentations we had this past week, we are rapidly coming to the end of the semester and the class.

Overall, I am generally satisfied with the progress of most of the project groups. On the whole, the average quality of the apps this year is probably better than those last year.

Next Wednesday will be the day of reckoning because that's when all the groups will be asked to present to rest of the school what they have done this past semester. It is also a test of how well they can sell and convince the folks who will be coming that they have actually made a difference with what they have done.

It's been a good semester. I look forward to be pleasantly surprised on Wednesday.

To conclude, I would like to make the following point: notwithstanding all the complaints about the class taking up too much time, it has never been my intention for the students to kill themselves by creating huge apps. Not that I want to shirk responsiblity from the fact that many of the apps are HUGE, the truth is I have been asking many, if not all the groups to scale down and to focus on a small number of key features.

Some of the groups will not finish their app by the end of the semester. They will deliver like the first half of their proposed features. That's actually fine with me. As long as they did a reasonable amount of work and did good work, they will get a good grade.

What I really hope to see for such groups is that they will see their project to the end. That to me is a very important attribute: the tenacity to finish and to finish strong.

Frankly, I'm quite tired after one semester. CS3216 really isn't the easiest class to teach. I'm really fortunate to have a brilliant teaching staff and I'd like to end off by thanking my Tutors Su Yuen, Kent, Chris and Yuen Hoe and my poor over-abused TA Kok Wee.

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