Thursday, February 26, 2009

Small Victories

Final exams for the students in my Open Source Technologies and Information Security classes were hands-on and one-on-one. Not as difficult as it sounds, I assure you; in fact, the exams were ridiculously easy. So long as they manage to complete the tasks, by my grade book, I'd count them as passed.

So, yeah, I'm an easy teacher. Seriously, I don't see the point of flunking anyone in an elective. Now, if this were a major subject, like say, programming, then I might not feel quite the same way.

Not that I've been remiss in my duties: I've been reading their reports, I've been recording their written exams, I've been evaluating their presentations -- in short, I have a good idea of where they stand. Their grades are reflective of the knowledge they've gained and the effort they've put in.

Since the hands-on exams were simple, it gave me time to chat with the students and asked some of them what they thought of the class. Two encouraging stories stood out.

One girl told me that they went for an interview with Hubport, and that the HR officer had asked them if they knew about Perl and Ruby. To which they, of course, answered yes, thus leaving the interviewer suitable impressed. Apparently, some students from another school had said: "Pearl? As in perlas, ma'am?"

Another guy, the star pupil in my class, told me quite excitedly that he and a classmate had worked on Asterisk the summer past as part of their on-the-job training. They just hadn't known that it was an open source project. They thought it was some super-expensive product; now, he has the proper context for it.

And still a few more stories here and there, at least from those willing to share: how they were happy to be exposed to something other than Windows, and that they thought would find the material we covered useful in their jobs.

As for the incorrigible laggards? I like to think I gave everyone my best shot; if there's a handful that really didn't pick up anything, well, let them suffer the loss on their account. My overarching objective was to convey new learning to my students; and I'm happy with the result for the large majority of the class.


  1. "Pearl? As in perlas, ma'am?"


  2. I learned a lot when you were my teacher, Dom. Though I think it took a while before I actually understood pointers. :)