CSE333 12au (feedback)

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I have been working on the hw4 feature for about 4 or 5 hours now and had to change a lot of my homework 3 code. Even though I was extremely careful, lots of my code ended up breaking (and I really didn't make changes to the index files getting written). Was the feature part of this assignment meant to be so difficult? I have already spent about 20 hours on this homework and am still feeling like I am so far from being done.

Steve's response: The amount of time you've been putting into it sounds about right, if perhaps a little long. I was figuring you'd put in about 7-10 hours per week, spread over the three weeks you've had for the assignment, so somewhere in the 20-30 hour time frame in total. (~10 hours per week outside of class is about right for a 4-credit course, according to UW guidelines; though, I understand with exercises, I'm asking a little more.)

Part of the learning for the HW4 feature is you experiencing what it is like to design and implement a change to a complex code base, so some code churn and breakage is part of the experience. I know it can be hard, but it sounds like you're getting close... keep it up!

My partner and I are still struggling with the section exercise, and other people I've talked to are also still working on it and having trouble with it. I appreciate the section exercises, but not when they take more than two hours to finish. It especially hurts that section A does not have to complete the section exercise for this week. It's unnecessarily stressful, especially in this final stretch of the quarter when work for other classes is piling up. :'( In future, if something like this occurs, could the exercise be made optional for everyone, rather than just for half of the class?

Steve's response: Can you tell us more about what, specifically, you're struggling with? That would help us calibrate this in the future. Yes, it's tricky to know what to do about section A vs. B today, but I think Elliott made the best call he could at the time; apologies for the added stress.

Is there any possibility that the last project could be due the day our final was supposed to be? That would help so much!

Steve's response: Unfortunately, I don't think we should do that. I understand more time would be helpful, but that would push the project deadline into exam week, which would cause a lot of problems for people that do have final exams in their courses...sorry about that!

The hardcoded response for ex18 is missing </p>

Steve's response: Heh, true, it's not perfect HTML. I've fixed it. (But, it turns out that browsers are robust enough to handle non-perfect HTML like that :) )

Hi. I just thought you should know that exercise 16 took me over four hours to complete. The problem was that there was so much new information that I had to look up. Passing cpplint.py took a lot of effort, because sscanf was outlawed by it, and it took me a way to find an alternative( I tried the suggestions on the discussion board and they didn't work). I have never written a makefile, and that was another requirement. Also, valgrind gave me errors that were hard to track down. On top of it all, I have never done network programming before.

Steve's response: I was shooting for somewhere between 2-3 hours for the exercise; since it went out on a Wednesday and is due on a Monday, I planned a slightly longer one than normal. 4 hours is definitely longer than I intended, so sorry about that. But, it sounds like a lot of your time was spent on worthwhile things (e.g., your first Makefile and your first foray into network programming).

Thanks for sending the calibration.

Thank you for being so responsive, helpful and encouraging in the discussion board. It really helps boost morale!

Submitter checked "permission to post publicly" box: yes

Steve's response: Our pleasure. I really like all the great questions being posted to the forum...

I just wanted to let professor Gribble and the TAs know that I'm really enjoying this class! I had a really rocky experience with 351, but this class has managed to smooth out all of the confusions I had with pointers/various C peculiarities. I've already learned an incredible amount in the first couple weeks. The exercises before each lecture are really handy because they help us go over the material for that particular lecture in an isolated manner, as opposed to having to start a huge project cold, making use of a bunch of material that we've never actually implemented before. Also, I've noticed that the TAs are exceptionally good at responding to e-mails/the message board and really know the material. It helps an ineffable amount. Thanks!

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Steve's response: Thanks a ton! It's hugely encouraging to get positive feedback like this...

I found the 'diagram' part of the section assignment to be very tedious and annoying ... and I don't feel that it had much real value. Furthermore, I'm of the opinion that there should not be homework associated with section (especially when we have an exercise due the next day for lecture as well). The goal of section should be to solidify the topics being discussed in lecture that week. In my opinion this section failed to strengthen the concepts currently being discussed in lecture and also added an additional burden of work that did not seem beneficial. I much prefer the format of section in the first week. There was an exercise to be completed during that section as well as helpful discussion related to that exercise (the questions that we needed to answer verbally). Both the exercise and the discussion really strengthened my understanding of the material without adding any significant burden of work to be completed and I would suggest that subsequent sections go back to that original format.

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Steve's response: Great feedback. We're definitely still tuning the sections to try to make them more useful. We tried to incorporate some of this into last week's section; let us know if you think it was an improvement.

Can lecture slides be posted without the black background? When printing the lecture slides, a black background on the slides wastes a lot of ink. Thanks.

Submitter checked "permission to post publicly" box: yes

Steve's response: Good idea. I've tried replacing the PDFs on the web page with non-black backgrounds. Some of the graphics do get messed up as a result, but let me know if you think it's better overall.

I was one of the people who took a long time on Exercise 0, so I just wanted to share why. A lot of the time I spent was trying to download and configure Eclipse to build and run C/C++ programs. Beyond that, however, I spent a lot of time considering corner cases and how to deal with them. For instance, I wanted to guard against the case of a user entering something other than an integer as a command-line argument, so it took me some time digging around to find the "atoi" library function. Once I found that, I realized that it was returning 0 for non-integer cases, so I then had to figure out a workaround to differentiate between if the user actually typed in 0 (a valid argument), or a non-integer.

In section today my TA said that he posted on the GoPost board that we didn't have to worry about this, but I didn't check the board so it would have helped to receive that as an email instead.

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Steve's response: Thanks for letting me know. Yeah, getting all of the corner cases right can be tricky. Try to find a balance between getting the "obvious" or important ones handled, without going too far overboard. We'll be reasonable in how we do the grading on this issue...