CS373 Fall 2021: Albert C. Trevino : Final Entry

How well do you think the course conveyed those takeaways?

I think the course was able to convey most of the takeaways pretty well. At least, in my experience, it was hard to retain most of the information when my main focus was the project. Being that there was a pretty big disconnect between the projects and course lecture material, it was a bit hard to maintain focus during lectures and find motivation to attend them.

Were there any other particular takeaways for you?

I found the projects particularly helpful. They were the focal point of the class but I find it very useful to to imitate the workplace when working on these projects. It really helped my communication skills as well as understand the concurrency between developers and how to use git more effectively.

How did you feel about cold calling?

Cold calling is a good way to keep everyone engaged in the lectures. You always have to be on your toes, you never know when Professor Downing might call on you. It’s nice to be able to talk directly to Professor Downing and it does help you learn, but it is a bit stressful.

How did you feel about specifications grading?

The grading scheme makes the course feel like every assignment has the same weight. In a way, they are and I’m not too sure if that’s a good thing. It seems a bit weird that you can get a B even if you get an E on every project (which is a majority of the class), and you don’t do 3 of the blogs. Overall it does reward you if you do absolutely everything in the class, which you should be doing anyway.

How did you feel about help sessions and office hours?

I didn’t go to too many of the help sessions and office hours but the times are spread out pretty fairly, and there is definitely a slot that anyone can attend. The help sessions are a great way to get opinions on your work and touch up on any subjects that you may feel slipped away from you at times.

How did you feel about the support from the TAs?

The TA’s are exceptionally helpful in this course. A TA is assigned to every group and the weekly meetings with them are a great way to check your progress and confirm that you are working efficiently. The TA’s are in charge of the help sessions and are always quick to respond on discord and Ed Discussion. They were overall extremely helpful throughout the semester.

What required tool did you not know and now find very useful?

I find the Postman/restfulAPI documentation tool to be extremely useful and very efficient when planning and creating an API. We were able to create a very cool API and using restful really made everything seamless.

What’s the most helpful Web dev tool that your group used that was not required?

I think that making use of GitLab’s time estimation and Kanban issue board features is a very helpful way to keep track of you and your group’s progress and helps with keeping a more accurate count on the time spent on your project. It helps keep each other accountable and provides some motivation to get your share of the work done.

How did you feel about your group having to self-teach many, many technologies?

It was a bit of a different experience compared to other classes and I won’t lie, it proved to be a bit difficult. But, I think that the TA’s did a really great job outlining everything for us and really not making it too difficult to find the right resources to learn about everything. It also really helps being in a large-ish group. It seems like everyone can teach everyone something new and every member has different experiences with different technologies.

Other Suggestions?

As it seems that the grading scheme will stay the same, I do wish there a bit more connection between the lectures and the projects. I do understand why there is such a big disconnect, but sometimes it proved to be very discouraging to want to have to teach ourselves every aspect of the project. I’m thankful that I had such great group partners, but the projects wouldn’t have gone so smoothly for us if we didn’t have the experiences that we do.

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Albert Christian Trevino

Albert Christian Trevino

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