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Gerard O'Neill

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  • 3 reviews
  • 3 completed
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My full review is a bit too long for this website, but here's a synopsis of my thoughts: I was not impressed with this course at all. The professor obviously does not program any software that is maintained by other developers, because the quality of code that I saw in this course was absurd. The course was originally meant to be taken by students who had just completed Udacity's CS101, but it ended up being labeled as an "advanced" course because of all the complaints in the forums from students who weren't learning. Here is a concise list of things that I believe went wrong with this course: 1) Peter Norvig has a hard time teaching beginners 2) He is a researcher, not a developer 3) He is a researcher, not a teacher 4) He simply cannot write code that everyone can understand easily I wouldn't really recommend that anybody take this course, even if you program professionally. The amount of effort put into trying to understand Norvig is not really worth it. For my full review, feel free to check out my blog post on this course: http://grardb.tumblr.com/post/24312405759/review-udacity-cs212
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CS253 Web Applications Engineering was pretty damn fun. I’ll admit that it was probably the easiest of the three courses that I’ve completed on Udacity, mainly because web development is my specialty. Still, I learned quite a bit. Like all Udacity courses, CS253 was taught using Python. To me, this was both good and bad. It was good because I love Python and because it exposed me to Google App Engine and programming websites in Python, which I had never done before. However, most people in the real world use frameworks on top of Python, such as Django or Flask, rather than Google App Engine’s webapp framework. That being said, I’m glad that the course was not taught in Django. I hate Django. Additionally, I’m sure that for students with no prior experience, learning MVC concepts and a specific framework in addition to everything else that had to be learned might be too much. For beginner programmers, I’d say that Steve Huffman made very good choices on what technologies would be used and focused on. Overall, I think the class was great. It was enough work for students to handle in seven weeks, and it was an amazing introduction to web development. For a seven-week online course, you can only really expect to get people’s feet wet and make them hungry to learn more, and I have no doubts that Huffman did a great job of doing both of those things. If anyone out there is debating on whether or not this course is worth taking, I can assure you that it is. If you’re a programmer looking to get into web development, a beginner programmer, or even a web developer who wants to try out new technologies, CS253 is an awesome class. It really goes to show you how much better a practical class is when it’s taught by a professional in the field, rather than someone with a PhD but not much real world experience.
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I took CS262 Programming Languages back in April/May alongside CS212 and CS253. The whole idea behind the course was to gain an understanding of how programming languages are designed, both in theory and practice, by writing components of HTML and JavaScript parsers. I didn’t really struggle in this class, since it started pretty well into the compilers course that I was taking at Rutgers. Because of that, I had a pretty good understanding of most things that were taught. That’s not to mention the fact that I am fluent in HTML and JavaScript as well. Still, there was some stuff to be learned in this course! CS262 had a very healthy mix of theory and practice. In my compilers course, most of the class was theory, and then we had three major programming assignments. In CS262, you get to apply pretty much everything you learn right away. I thought this was awesome, especially because I got to apply some things from my compilers course that wasn’t tested in class (e.g. FSM minimization). The course was also taught using PLY (Python Lex-Yacc), which is a Python implementation of Lex and Yacc. Lex and Yacc are very well-known parsing tools used in the creation of programming languages. Overall, I think CS262 is an awesome course. Westley Weimer is extremely smart, and he made me laugh quite a bit, especially with his drawings. There’s not much else to say about the course, since I really had no issues with it. If you are interested in learning the basics of automata theory and how to build an interpreter or compiler, I highly recommend the course. Also, if you’re taking a similar course in a brick-and-mortar university like I was, this is definitely a great complement!