June 9: Here is the schedule I have for conferences:
We will be in room SEM II, B2116. This office is in the EWS office area. I will have my email on, so let me know if you have problems. Have your questions and evaluations ready.
June 6: I will sit down with each of you during class to make sure we are on the same page for assignments and competencies, as well as any make-up work. Be sure to let me know of any extra work you have done, changes in TTT or Mastermind, extra assignments, or other issues. Show me the changes you made in TTT and Mastermind, along with any extra programs on the computer, so I will know they work if I have problems when I run them again at home. Again, if you are not in class I will have a hole in your evaluation, so let me know right away if you will not be in class. Also I need to have you sign up for a time for evaluations on Monday. There will be a 10 minute slot for every time interval between 1 and 6pm. If you need longer, then sign up for 2 slots. My office is in room Sem II, B2116. I will not require a self eval, but you need the faculty eval for me during the evaluation. Check the requirements for the course in the Covenant section of the blog if you have questions. If you have a missing assignment or missed a class before week 7 you will have to have a make-up assignment to plug the hole. Make sure I know what exactly you have done for this, even if we talked briefly about it before. The goal is to have no surprises during the evaluation itself. I still need an email from you for your individual presentation giving your research resources, and I need a couple of papers from your group for the group presentation tomorrow. See you then.
June 4 #2: We will have our group presentations before lunch, so be ready to go with them right away. You will need a paper copy of your research sources and a paper outlining the contributions of each of your members. Give these papers to me before your presentation. It will be a problem if you are not in attendance. Let me know right away if there is a chance of missing the class. We will have a sign-up sheep for our conferences. The times will be from 1pm to 6pm on Monday. Plan 10 to 15 minutes. Have your faculty evaluation with you for the conference. If there is no chance of making a school evaluation, let me know and we will make other arrangements, but email me about this ahead of time.
June 4: Make sure you email me with the research and presentation you used for your presentation. In going over your portfolio, I see there are still a number of you who need to show me what you have done on Mastermind. I will reserve time on Saturday for this, and any other improvements you have made, especially on TTT. We will have our last Seminar, so do your reading and prep for that. We will have a competency exam during class, and if there is a need I will stay after and you can do another one then. Your competency exams will be the largest part of your narrative evaluation. Don’t let me overlook any extra work you have done. If you had the 2-4 page summary/analysis of the Create a Mind Kurzweil book to make up for a missed class, I need that right away. Email it to me before the end of the day on Thursday. I did not add a forum for Mastermind, as it seems you have a couple of study groups. Still, email me with questions if you are stuck. Send me what you have and a description of what you have tried, or why your code does not work. The code you need to write is just a few lines of code, but it is not easy, especially what is in the while statement.
May 30: We have an important summary and overview we will do shortly after the start of class on Saturday. We will, during this process, talk about what you need to know for the review content exam on June 7. Please be on time and have notes ready. We will be all be sitting off the computers and up front for that. We will also spend some time reviewing before the next Competency exam, especially Arrays. If you have not given your individual presentation, you must contact me before class so I can schedule you. Be ready for our next-to-last Seminar, over Kurzweil chapters 6-8. We will also have a time to work on your group presentation, which will be given on June 7. Again, I will need to leave right at 4pm tomorrow. I will copy all of the Portfolio folders before I leave. Remember to append ‘fin’ after any program that is done. If you still need to improve a program, you will need to show me in class on June 7 what it can do. We will have a ‘show off’ day for programs on June 7 as well. If you know you will not be able to meet the requirements for the course, you need to email me or talk to me ASAP so we are on the same page in terms of what you will be doing.
May 29: You should all have an email from me regarding you status with the competencies. We will have another exam this Saturday, another one on the final class, and a third try after class on June 7. There are lots of students who have passed, with the exception of the Array one with still only a handful passed. We will do another Array example in class on Saturday. The remaining tasks for you for this last few weeks are as follows: 1. Readings in Reed and Kurzweil, 2. Finishing your Portfolio, and especially MM, as well as extra programs if needed 3. Working on your competencies 4. Researching and giving your group presentation 5. Review the content of the course for an evaluation June 7. I will also ask for your research from you individual presentation in class. We have a lot to cover on Saturday. I will have to leave by 4pm on Saturday, but I will plan to stay after again on June 7 for an extra competency exam. Be thinking about a good time for a conference. I am thinking Monday, June 9, in the afternoon and early evening. If you cannot make this time work, email me and give me some alternatives, but try to make that time work first.
May 27 #2: I posted the practice and regular competency exams we went over in class on Saturday. They are under Classes/Week 8, or here
May 27: If you have make-up work for a missed class, either the Create a Mind book or other pre-approved activities, you should plan to have this work in by this Saturday. The Create a Mind book should be reviewed with a 1-2 page summary plus a 1-2 page analysis/reaction. Remember you do not need to make up last Saturday. The big thing at this point is to communicate. I need to know what you are doing well ahead of time. We will have our conferences on Monday or Tuesday following our last class on June 7 in my office. Please be thinking about times that would work for you, and we will discuss the most convenient times in class on Saturday. The bulk of your evaluations will come from your competencies, programs, and participation. You will need to be working on your self and faculty evaluations as well. We will share our evaluations on paper at the conference and discuss them. This should take 10-15 minutes. This Saturday at 3pm will also be the last time to update or change all of your programs. Make a folder called Portfolio in your cubbie and have all your programs there. One big problem is if you do not attend the last class, you will not have your second presentation. Make sure, if this is a possibility, you talk to me about presenting your portion of the brain presentation on Saturday. A few of you need to finish your individual presentation. Do not let Saturday go by without giving this presentation. Nice job again to those who both helped and worked so hard on the competencies last Saturday. Get the help you need, through me or other students. Make sure you are getting some progress on Mastermind. This Saturday will be very busy. We will not be able to DO all we had planned, but we will want to talk about some important details, especially how to make computers fast and solve complex problems.
May 25: A big thank you to all of you who helped your fellow students with the competencies. An equally big thanks to those who worked very diligently to master the basics of programming (and cognition).. I have posted a couple more example write code and write array competency questions under Classes/Week8. You also have many other posts on the website or old tests to practice from. Email me if you are having trouble. Remember to work on the To Do list, which is actually for 2 weeks of work. Your final Portfolio must be in by 3:00pm on May 31. The Portfolio folder in your cubbie should contain: PWSfin.html, Formletterfin.html, Changefin.html, gradesfin.html, Moviefin.html, crapsfin.html, TTTfin.html, MasterMindfin.html, and any other extra programs you have completed such as crapswithevents or battleship. Don’t forget to be in touch with your group presentation members and email me if you are lacking focus or have any problem. You will turn in a paper outlining each member’s contribution to the task. Group presentations will be on the last day of class, but if needed we can do one next week if there is a reason. Keep me posted. A few of you still need to get into a group. Email me ASAP.
May 23: Tomorrow will be a catch-up day. We will begin by working either in small groups or with me on a practice competency eval. We will work on old programming assignments, especially TTT and Mastermind. Your final programs must be in your Portfolio by 4pm next Saturday. We will look at the Machine Language challenge program to divide, and review transistors, gates, and adders. We will also have our Presentations. Our actual Competency exam will be around 2pm or so. Come with questions ready. Some of you have make-up work to accomplish. Make sure you are communicating with me on your progress. All work, including your report on Creating a Mind, if you need one, must be in by next Saturday, May 31.
May 21: You should all have an email from me giving your status on your Portfolio, your assignments, and your competencies. Let me know right away if you do not have this email. We will work on all the problems or make-up in class this week.
May 20, #2: Here is the other extra program you can work on finishing if you need a boost to your scores or attendance. Let me know if there are issues, as it is not tested extensively, but it appears to work OK, and I think you can find many ways to extend this further. Find it at: http://academic.evergreen.edu/v/vanetta/bship.html
May 20: I added another Write Code competency example as a link off the Week 7 page under the Classes Menu item. Here is another function read example as well. I have the competency exams graded. Most of you have passed the read code competency, or are very close. You will have lots of people in class to help you figure it out. About half have passed the write code competency, and the function read competency. Only a few have either taken or passed the array competency. The competencies will be the first, second and third priority this Saturday, but it will be time wasted if you do not come in after some practice first on your part, so you can have a good idea where you are getting lost. Without that prior works, it is too easy to have someone show you how to do it, but then forget it all when you have to do it on your own. I am making a new program for you to work on for extra credit, playing the game Battleship. Again, you will need to spend time with your Brain group, so try to contact members with some prior research before class you can get organized. We will start the presentations the following Saturday, but most will be on the last day of class.
May 19 #2 One more thing about the group presentation. Most everyone will be in class on Saturday. We will reserve some time for your group to discuss your presentation. Of course, this will require that you all do some preparation research on the topic, like wikipedia, before then. Plan on an hour or so to discuss who will do what and the tack you will take on the topics and points of emphasis. If you are one of the few not coming next Saturday, please contact your other group members with your thoughts and contributions. We will have at least one competency exam on Saturday, but we will review and practice in small groups instead of the entire class, unless that is the preference of the group. Again, come to class with some competency practice under your belt so you know where you are getting lost. I have posted the last exam under Week 7. Remember you can cut and paste the read code examples into notepad, add the tags, and run them to see the right answers.
May 19: We will have our group presentation on the Brain on May 31 and June 7, the last day of class. Each presentation should be about 15 minutes, and you should be prepared for a short Q and A after. Not all of the members need to present, and you can divide the work load up as you wish, but you will email me with a description of each person’s contribution to the group. I have left the categories broad and non-specific for a reason. This is a chance for you to explore and research something that interests you. If, however, you are struggling to find a point of emphasis or need a more pointed direction, please email me and I will be happy to give you some guidance. I want you to have a chance first to explore. I would begin with a Wikipedia search on the topic or topics. You will need to be in communication with your group members. Thanks to Denise, I have the groups now as:
Neurons: How an individual neuron works: Grant Caleb
The Brain as a whole: regions, communication between regions, plasticity, disease: Denise, Leala, Andrew, Joel, Ryan B
Brain Mechanics: How the brain can interface with mechanical/computer devices: Taralynn, Monique, Hayley, Justin
peripherals I/O: Dean, Ryan, Matt, Michael
Neural Nets and efforts to simulate a brain, Consciousness: Hannah, Trevor, Elizabeth, Jeremy
If you are not on this list, please email me right away. The Perception and Neuron groups have room. Hopefully you have all shared emails and contact information. You can use the About Me to find someone’s contact info, or email me and I will give it to you. You should plan to get together after each member does some general exploration on the topic and divide up the responsibilities. Please keep me informed if there are problems or you have an unequal distribution of work. Remember to look for things that perk your interest, and email me if you want to change the focus to something a bit different.
May 16: At the present time, we have about half of the class who have passed the read code competency, and almost half who have passed the write code competency. A few have passed the function read. We are a little behind where we should be. I am going to prune the 8 puzzle from our topics. We will do it together in class, so your last big program is Mastermind, which we will go over in greater detail on Saturday. It will require writing very little code, but you will have to think hard to get what you do write correct. I have had a number of folks ask about next week, Memorial Day weekend. Since we have pruned the 8 puzzle, and since we still need some extra help on the competencies, I will not introduce new material on the 24th, although there will still be readings and assignments to do. Please see me if you have a compelling reason to miss class. For everyone else, it will be a time to practice, get caught up, and solidify the material. I would greatly appreciate help with those who are comfortable with the competencies to help individually or in pairs with competency questions. We will have another competency exam at the first of the class, but I will have a chance to ask questions first. Try to take the last exam again to see where you are getting lost.
May 15: I got a note from Dean asking about how to change the size of the buttons. We had a program earlier that allowed you to change the size and color during the run of the program (See Week 5 Properties) but he wanted to have them changed initially when the program first ran. If you have a similar problem, here is an example solution: Note you can use red, blue, etc.. as values for the background color. Come prepared to give your Presentation, but we may need to finish some in week 7. Starting in Week 9 we will have our group Brain presentations. Be thinking about what you would like to research, including how a single neuron works, the parts and communication of the brain itself, Neural Networks and brain simulations, Consciousness and Cognition, etc.. We will have a sign-up in class.
May 13: We will have a full hour for Seminar this week. There is a lot of meat in chapter 5, and not just the kind that will solve the world’s food shortage. Read the text carefully, but don’t just argue why is will not happen. Create questions for what you do not understand, and the implications on what will happen if something like the GNR revolution does transpire. We will also look at the details of how the computer works, down the the transistors and gates. Read Chapter 14 carefully. We will also review chapter 8.
May 11: We have a bit of a mess to clean up after a far too rushed afternoon on Saturday. I will go over MasterMind in much more detail next week, but you can look at the code to find just the a’s in the response, given 2 codes. We will finish this code for the z’s on Saturday, and do the code for a good second guess. You will fill in the code for the 3-6 guess. It will be surprisingly straightforward, given the difficulty in describing a solution to the code breaking problem as you are playing it. The computer will just be able to test ALL of the possibilities quickly until if finds one that works. This is sure easier than TTT. We also did not come close to finishing our discussion on Arrays, or even Strings. We will do so, again on the 17th. For those of you who stayed for the 4-5 (or later) time and saw a couple of the Array competencies worked out, you will be a step ahead. In all cases, I am relying on you all to help each other, as it takes a person looking over your shoulder to help you spot errors sometimes. Again, if you can do the basics that the competencies cover, you will be in a very good position to either move forward if you desire to pursue programming or computer science, or you will have a very good grasp on what a computer is, what you can teach it to do, and how the process works. In the next couple of weeks we will look deeper, and see how the computer actually adds, compares, stores and branches, at the transistor level. I have put the last competency exam on the website, Under Week 6, or a link here as well. Notice you also have the answers to the read portions of the competencies under Week 6. You have many other example competency questions, but email me if you need more.
May 9: We will begin tomorrow with a competency exam, and we will spend extensive time going over each question after the test. Make sure you come with note taking material, digital recorder, etc and plan to stop any discussion with a question if you are unclear. We will then begin discussion on the last piece of the puzzle, Arrays and the array competency. If you are still working on Tic Tac Toe, go ahead and put that aside for now to concentrate on the competencies. We will have our ‘show off’ of your Tic Tac Toe program next Saturday. We will defer our next Seminar until next time also, and this will cover ALL of chapter 5, so continue your notes. After lunch we will start on our next big program, Mastermind. This program will be typical of the next level of computer cognition. You will need to do some deep thinking to figure out how to play this game, and participate in a solution to the code-breaking problem. We will start our Presentations after our Mastermind and cognition discussion. Make sure you make a folder in the Workspace area on our ORCA drive. Put your presentation display materials in this folder. You can use my computer to display it on the big screen during your talk. Remember to practice and keep the presentation to between 3 and 5 minutes. If you are reading this after May 10, you need to make sure you check this page every other day. It is where I communicate with you. Read ALL of the entries back as far as you have not read. All of your programs (movie, number guess, and craps) should be finished by the end of class, and I will check them again at the end of class, but for now, the competencies are job #1, #2, and #3.
May 7: After looking at a number more of the number guess and craps programs, it looks like we need to make an update in our To Do. I will look again at all of your previous programs, but for now the single biggest issue is to be able to read and write code, and that is best practiced for now with the competencies. For now, do not work on finishing movie, number guess, or either craps or craps with functions and events. Come back to these programs later. For now, make sure you are practicing reading code and writing code, and the function one if you are OK with the previous 2. I have put a practice test under the Classes/Week 5 page. I would suggest you print out this test and find a few other students to work with online or in person. The skill of reading and writing code will make finishing your other programs much easier, especially since many of them did not work or crashed when I ran them. Again, put off the second craps program with the dice for now. Concentrate on the competencies. Make sure you are ready for your presentation. We have another competency exam Saturday, and go over it carefully in class. Take notes and ask questions. Computer Science, and probably cognition as well, are the application of a few fairly simple ideas recursively, over and over. The competencies test these basic ideas: Get your brain to think like a computer when you read code. Get the computer to think like your brain in write code, Be able to break a program into chunks or functions in function read, and be able to handle lists of information in array write code. Those skills are the key. Spending time mastering them will yield big rewards in not only what you can ‘build’ with programming, but with your understanding of what computers are and what they can do.
May 6: I am about a third of the way through my emails to you regarding movie, number guess and craps. Some are fine, but there are also a number of programs that are missing, don’t work, or not started. While you need to show me that you have made some progress on these programs by the end of the quarter, make sure that job #1 (and #2 #3 and #4 for that matter) is to pass the competencies. If you are behind on these programs, and have not started Craps with Events, but still are struggling with reading code and writing code, spend your time with these problems first. You have a bunch of read code examples under Classes/week 4. Click on the link and you will see the output. Print out the source code. Trace through the code. If your output does not match what the program initially gave you, see if you can find where you went wrong. If you cannot, find where you went wrong and describe why you think it should be what you have. There will be a number of people in class who can help you trace it. It is probably the lack of this skill that is giving you problems with your other programs, like number guess and craps, so it will be easier to go back to them after you can read code well. As far as Write Code practice, I have posted a practice problem here:
May 5: I have added 2 new Forums, one for the two CRAPS programs, and one for Competency Help. The forums have been badly underused. Please use them, or get together in person or via email/etc to see if you can resolve issues, but then email me if you remain stuck. Again, let me know what you have accomplished, what you have tried, and what is still not working. I hope some of you can heed Trevor’s offer for TTT help. Brainstorm solutions, but code your program yourself. Getting together for Competency help is even more important. 7 folks passed the Read Code competency on the first try (Good Job!). This is typical, if not better than usual for this class. If you have the competency down, consider helping others, both for their sake but also to cement your knowledge. 4 folks also passed, or nearly passed the hardest competency, Write Code. It often takes 3 to 5 times before this competency is correct. Keep after it. Again, help others when you get it, or nearly get it. Our first Read Function competency will be this week. Some of you will not even try it yet. Once you absorb the few rules that the computer uses to assign variables, it is not too bad. Look on the Classes/Week 5 page for examples. We will do 2 more in class this Saturday.
May 3: The Craps with Events template did not work right in class. There are sometimes differences how different browsers render HTML, or in this case, the problem was probably the Operating System. I made a new template that you can run and see here:
Work on this program, and see how much stuff you can add to make it better.