Yup, That’s What CS Textbooks Are Like

July 4, 2012 at 6:00 am 6 comments

Loved this cartoon I found from GasStationsWithoutPumps which is a reference to Abstruse Goose. Yes, CS textbooks do this.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. David Wees  |  July 4, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Another example from Real Analysis.

    a + 0 = a.

    Prove:

    The real numbers are uncountable.

    Reply
  • 2. Seth Chaiken  |  July 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Sad but true. Good math. professors and teachers know what to cover in the middle…
    Seth

    Reply
  • [...] in a five line example, so you should be able to build this 75 line program!” assumption that the cartoon about CS textbooks was lampooning. We assume that students learn much more than what our assessments say that they’re learning. [...]

    Reply
  • 4. Mike  |  July 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    This is both hilarious & really spot-on.

    Over the years I’ve kinda wondered about the way in which a lot of books show how a particular concept works, then affords deep learning of that concept mostly by having the student puzzle out solutions to a collection of (very, very concise) problems.

    Mark – I saw your post about the Python interactive textbook (and your earlier post about the ‘most researched LISP book’), but would love to know more about what you think would be good for textbook design. If you happen to have any (links, articles, etc) handy could you post them here?

    Reply
    • 5. Mark Guzdial  |  July 10, 2012 at 4:19 am

      Mike, I don’t know of any studies looking at design characteristics of CS textbooks. The most interesting work I know in science textbooks is work by Shirley Magnusson and Annemarie Palincsar, where the science textbooks were posed as a scientist’s lab notebook, so that they communicated the process of science: Dead-ends, struggling with experimental design, etc. Those texts conveyed a better sense of what science is about. My Squeak book and our Media Computation books explicitly iterate on a program (“Here’s one version, here’s why that’s not so good, here’s another version, and let’s critique that…”) based on that work.

      Reply
  • [...] that in a five line example, so you should be able to build this 75 line program!” assumption that the cartoon about CS textbooks was lampooning. We assume that students learn much more than what our assessments say that they’re learning. [...]

    Reply

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