Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to survive as a computer scientist: Nerd Alarm!


Every time I enter the university, I feel like in another world. Nothing seems like at any other places in the world. If I talk with people outside of the university, they tell me that they thought they could only find the world I am reporting about inside the TV.... So wrong!

I couldn't believe it also at first, but if you study a recent subject you are totally entering the TV stage... You nearly can even sit somewhere at university and make guesses who studies what... Even more embarrassing is the fact that nearly all computer scientists are the stereo-type Nerd! Yes, I tried to find friends from my co-students.... and only the girls in my subject seem to think it is a normal thing to study Computer Science but to NOT talk about programming, webdesign, JAVA Garbage Collectors, the newest CPU, that you should move your HD content every six month and and and and and.... The more crazy is the fact, that you see how they programm their own OS for their new hardcore Notebook, but are not able to pass the first term lecture in programming?!

At first I was a little bit intimidated through the atmosphere I had to freshly deal with. I just came from school and had nothing bad in mind expect that I wanted to study Computer Science... Ok, I have some computer related hobbies, but that's it.... I realized really soon, that I have to be careful what to say to whom... Others won't talk to you anymore if you are not up-to-date for the newest methods to hack into your handy and to program your own funny games on it... Crazy crazy..... Even sooner I realized, that the other students did not like to talk to me as I was not really interested in their discussions... and so, Semester to Semester I just studied class by class and passed them all... while all the others where discussing about their self-made OS, their recent experience with unknown programing languages and and and....... I know I sound maybe arrogant here... I apologize, but I just cannot understand how the others with all their big knowledge cannot pass the classes....

Luckily, I had a course that changed my life: The software engineering laboratory! Without it, none of the computer science girls would have been in so good memory to me... I had a lot of fun and enjoyed it really much.... And from this course I have found my best Computer Science Friend: Maike! She is funny, she is smart, she is capable of everything, works hard and talks no single word about computer science outside of the university! That's what I really needed to cheer up my life... now its 3 years of friendship, and I only can be really happy about it! Yay!!!!

Another hint to all stereo-type scientists: What is so wrong to sometimes deal with people that don't want to deal with all that stuff... and what is so wrong to say "good morning" if somebody who studied in the same class with you says the same to you? huhu.....

So far so good, I know the article is a little bit weird... but i am a green-horn ^_^



Friday, April 23, 2010

German Crime Scene: Modern Bachelor vs. Traditional Diploma



I know it is quite a long time ago that, through the Bolognia process, Bachelor Studies are integrated in all Academies inside of Germany. On the start of the process, many discussions where held about it, most of them didn't seem to have any serious kind of content. Right now, the discussions flatted, the only voices heard right now seem to be the voices of the lazy, that scream "In the old diploma system, you didn't have to do homework during the semester!" or anything that is related to this. But why do the homeworks seem to be a problem after all? Is the real reason for this really that something like homeworks exists?

Let's do a review:

In the old diploma system, homeworks where mostly only voluntary. You did not have to do them, only if you wanted to get more confident with the content ect. Most students only went to the tutorials or classes, wrote down the solutions for the tasks, and then left the class again. Zero parciptation to anything further.
Teachers where annoyed.... why do they give exercises? And more further, students liked to complain if something was not discussed in class... In teachers eyes, the students would have known what to do if they just learned the content better.... But they got no feedback, if the exercises where too easy or too hard!

In the new and modern bachelor systems, homeworks are compulsive. You are not allowed to do the exam, when your not doing the homework.... seems quite normal for foreign students, right? So far so good, but if you take a closer look, the teachers feel really motivated to give the students as much homework as they can... forgetting one thing: the students now only concentrate on what is necessary to do the tasks, and even worst, they do not review the homeworks anymore... before, after class, you read what was the exercise about..... and now? No time, have to do other homework... project group, laboratory, math, programming, more programming, reading a paper, and not to forget: more programming.... its like a huge pile and amount of work....

Now everybody is complaining how good it was, that no homework needed to be done before the change... But be realistic: in all other countries, a lot of homework is awaiting you and it is very very normal.... only that there was no homework before makes the chance so painful for some of us students. A student is not a "lazy" guy, who goes to university to listen to something, and who is completely free the rest of the week...

In my eyes, sometimes, I feel also bad or overstressed with all the work on my desk, but to be honest: If I just do it, I was always able to get it empty.... Like now, only one homework left that has to be done till Monday, and it is 66% finished... and the other tasks are done but have to be written a second time in calligraphy...

And still, I feel, that something is weird or strange since the Bachelor System is here....
I tell you why:

You feel left alone.... in the old diploma system, as there was no really planned collaboration between students, no really "needed" communication between teachers and students, everything was all right.....

But what is about now: Students should have to collaborate to get the homework done easily! You have a question, why not ask the teacher??! Ooohhh.... allright, here in Germany, the teachers and tutors do not really want to be disturbed.... but why should you care about it too much? It is you that needs help.... To get into contact with other students is much harder of course, but you should not give up, give it a try, talk to the others in your class..... Oh... there is the problem that you cannot hand in homework as a Team? Why is that a problem, work together, but write it down in your way.... sigh......

I have to admit, I really have to work alone all the time, but at least I learned that it is not a big problem to talk to some of the teacher's lecture team... maybe not the main teacher himself, but one of the tutors, or his assistant, or some other guy in his office, one of them is always a good and right communication partner for you in case of need.... try to find out who you can talk with... it will help you a lot to survive in german universities....

But still: the best that can happen to you is to find somebody to study with... But its tough to find that.

In my eyes, as university is still seen as a place you work alone, teachers are always not so present and hide themself in cellars and offices and do even sometimes not want to be disturbed. And this also makes students feel unconfident about asking around, being present, giving feedback.....



I guess in other countries, this works already better.... what do you think????