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Learning Journal Entry – Fundamentals of Programming

February 13, 2016 Leave a comment

I have decide to use one of my learning journal entries as a blog post. For My course Fundamentals of Programming at University of the People, I am required to do a learning journal. Even though it is required, I think it is a good idea regardless. The learning journal provides an opportunity to write about a variety of related topics to the course content and learning process.  I have tried to keep the tone a little informal and reflective on the process and topic.

My week three learning journal entry will touch on a few different topics. The first is the graded quiz. It was definitely a little tougher than I would have expected. I did okay, scoring a 92% not my best work, but a reminder to study and keep up with everything. I found it particularly challenging given the time constraints. I expect to be more prepared for the next quiz. To accomplish this, I intend to spend a little more time reviewing the non-graded quizzes.

Second, I am currently working (procrastinating) on the second programming assignment. I downloaded and installed it with the intention of using it for the assignment. Opening the program and playing around with it, I found myself becoming obsessed with lining up shapes, boxes, and more concerned with formatting and appearance. While having the flowchart looking visual appealing or at least professional, it should not take away from the ideas. I would prefer to spend time thinking about the code, how it might work, and not whether my boxes are perfectly lined-up. I still have not decided if I am going to use pseudo code or the flow chart. I think it is just easier to user pen and paper or a white board. I am leaning towards using the flow chart.

I think spending some time thinking about the code and the steps that need to be done is very a good idea. Obviously, it can be helpful for even the longer exercises. I am slowly coming to the realization that coding/programming is not just something that happens at a keyboard, but also on paper, using DIA, or a whiteboard. Preparing to code is equally as important as what happens at the keyboard. Again, I think there is a very strong parallel to writing. One simply does not sit down and compose a course paper or a Master’s thesis. It takes some forethought and planning. It may not always be apparent, but even with my learning journal entries, I brainstorm a few ideas and notes about things.

Thus far, I have enjoying the class and find the topic interesting. Concurrently, I am also taking Programming for Everyone at Coursera. I believe (especially for beginners) having as much exposure to the language and programming is a necessity for becoming proficient. I call it the “ABC Method,” “Always Be Coding.” While it is important to understand the logic and concepts, it is also important to be able to understand the syntax and be able to write simple “if/elif/else” statements without looking it up. I think for beginners (this holds true different areas) it is imperative learn and over-learn the fundamentals. Fundamentals provide a foundation for advanced concepts and ideas. One has to know how to compose a sentence before they can write a novel.

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