photography politics identity security hosting communication database messaging stuff dropbox macos privacy markdown github maps tags postprocessing psychology neurology snails blot google editor brazil vim social history self photographers online-storage bicycles sharpening json sensel curves 60s spreadsheets zabouti wifi art nyc color music openmeta racism misc isp math gradient travel french home opensource hdr hierarchy stories 1password philosophy Lr economics zones medical geeky photos friends git neighborhood democrats dynamic-range C1P gmail records windows books data annotation from-the-back costco capitalism camus
2020-07-23

2020-07-23 It’s hard to teach simple’ subjects

Inspired by Tales from documentation: Write for your clueless users

As a graduate student I taught courses in intro to linguistics and beginning FORTRAN programming.

In both classes I came to realize that my words often assumed prior knowledge that the students didn’t have. For example, after teaching one quarter of FORTRAN, it finally dawned on me that the students had no idea what a program was! This was the late 70s and no one had computers or cellphones and programmable calculators were still rare. This was the days of punch cards that you submitted to a window and waited for a big printout from a line printer.

The next quarter I started out by explaining what (I thought) a program was and what it did. That quarter went much better.

And people are not used to listening to language the way linguists sometimes do. I remember the oohs and ahhs I got when I pointed out that to”, two/too” were pronounced completely differently.

IMNSHO teaching grad students is easy because you can assume they understand you. It’s much harder to teach introductory courses.


Previous post
2020-07-04 FEMA Flood Risk status: DRAFT author: ge todays_date: 2020-07-04 title: FEMA Flood Risk file_name: 2020-07-04-fema-flood-risk.md — An organization called the First
Next post
2020-07-23 Thomas Chatterton Williams source On July 7th, Harper’s Magazine published what it called “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” which quickly became part of the conversation