• How well do you think the course conveyed those takeaways?

I think this course conveyed all the takeaways that professor Downing had listed. Every takeaway was discussed thoroughly throughout the semester and tested/quizzed effectively. The quizzes were great resources to apply those concepts in practice, when Downing discusses a topic, he usually quizzes you over this topic on the next quiz, and this enforces you to really grasp the idea.

  • Were there any other particular takeaways for you?

Collaboration. I used to enjoy working on projects all by myself. There were 4 collaboratives (optional) projects throughout the semester. I worked with a partner on 3/4 collaborative projects and did 1 project by myself, and I noticed huge differences. When working in groups, the pace was a lot faster and when we encountered problems, there were more ideas on how to tackle the issue; whereas when I worked by myself, I wasted a lot of time trying to debug a problem and ended up spending more time than collaborative projects. Now I really enjoy the beauty of working in groups and I think I will continue to embrace working collaboratively in the future.

  • How did you feel about two-stage quizzes and tests?

I personally liked it, it saves your grade if you didn’t do well on the first stage, the second stage can even it out.

  • How did you feel about cold calling?

At first, I hated it, I get so nervous every class. But now I am so used to it, I think it’s a great great great way to force you to pay attention in class and know your stuff.

  • How did you feel about office hours?

Office hours were super helpful, and Kevin was very patient in answering all kinds of questions. The office hours allows you to get better understandings of what you didn’t quite get in class and you get the chance of talking to the professor and the TA 1:1

  • How did you feel about lab sessions?

I think lab sessions were also very effective, the TAs can help you walk through your logic and kind of pinpoint where you are doing wrong.

  • Give me your suggestions for improving the course.

One suggestion I would give to this course is to cover more of the Object-oriented side of things instead of discussing purely C++. The articles we read were great, but it would have been better if we could have discussed them in class and saw some examples.

C++ is a language new to many students and it felt like this class was an intro to C++ instead of OOP. The projects covered some of the OOP principles but due to unfamiliarity with the language, most of the efforts were put into dealing with issues with the language itself instead of learning about OOP and the design patterns that are central to OOP.

BS in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin