TITLE: I'm Behind on Blogging About My Courses... AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: June 09, 2015 2:48 PM DESC: ----- BODY: ... so much so, that I may never catch up. The last year and a half have been crazy, and I simply have not set aside enough time to blog. A big part of the time crunch was teaching three heavy preps in 2014: algorithms, agile software development, and our intro course. It is fitting, then, that blogging about my courses has suffered most of all -- even though, in the moment, I often have plenty to say. Offhand, I can think of several posts for which I once had big plans and for which I still have drafts or outlines sitting in my ideas/ folder: Thoughts on teaching Python stand out as especially trenchant even many months later. The intro course is so important, because it creates habits and mindsets in students that often long outlive the course. Teaching a large, powerful, popular programming language to beginners in the era of Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo is a Sisyphean task. No matter how we try to guide the students' introduction to language features, the Almighty Search Engine sits ever at the ready, delivering size and complexity when they really need simple answers. Maybe we need language levels a lá the HtDP folks. Alas, my backlog is so deep that I doubt I will ever have time to cover much of it. Life goes on, and new ideas pop up every day. Perhaps I can make time the posts outlined above. Right now, my excitement comes from the prospect of teaching my compilers course again for the first time in two years. The standard material still provides a solid foundation for students who are heading off into the the world of software development. But in the time since I last taught the course, some neat things have happened in the compiler world that will make the course better, if only by putting the old stuff into a more modern context. Consider announcements just this week about Swift, in particular that the source code is being open-sourced and the run-time ported to Linux. The moment these two things happen, the language instantly becomes of greater interest to more of my students. Its openness also makes it more suitable as content for a university course. So, there will be plenty to blog about, even if I leave my backlog untouched. That's a good thing. -----