Spring 2009 379.002 Essays

CSCI 379.002, like all LSIC 379 courses, is designated as Writing Intensive. UNCA requirements state that "Writing Intensive courses must require a minimum of 15 pages of writing, in no fewer than three assignments".

Some essays will be accompanied by a brief class prosentation.

Essay 1 -- Due 11 February

In class on 28 January, the instructor described (in boring detail) the action of something called a NAND gate along with some boring animations. Think about an interesting animation for the NAND gate and write a two-page essay (with lots of figures) describing your idea.

Essay 2 -- Due 20 March

In her widely-quoted article Computational Thinking, Jeannette Wing argues that "[computational thinking] represents a universally applicable attitude and skill set everyone ... would be eager to learn". Prof. Wing has also been successful in arguing that Computational Thinking should be taught to K-12 students and has certainly played a significant role in crafting the Association for Computing Machinery's recommendations to the new administration for increasing funding for K-12 education in computer science.

North Carolina is one of the states which has adopted a detailed (and perhaps tedious) Standard Course of Study and Grade Level Compentencies for K-12 education.

Your second essay assignment (and I promise it will be the only one of K-12 education) is to write a paper of about four pages in length that discusses the potential benefits of teaching computational thinking to K-12 students with particular attention to how well North Carolina is doing in this task.

Essay 3 -- Due 6 April

Write a three-page essay about the animation of walking. This essay is associated with Project 3.

Rather than describing the physics and mathematics of walking, you may wish to discuss your personal awakening as you comtemplated walking.

Essay 4 -- Due 20 April

Write a four-page essay about your design of a house for Project 4. Say a bit about your design process and of any difficulties you encountered in implementing your design.

Be sure to credit your inspirations!

Essay 5: An old-fashioned book report (sort of)

On March 23, we went over to the library and listed to a talk from Robert Bland about information sources at UNCA. In this assignment, you are to use one of the research databases he mentioned (such as the ACM Digital Library) to look up about four papers on a topic related to this courses, such as (a) using Alice/Scratch to teach programming, (b) computer literacy, or (c) 3-D modeling.

Read these papers, preferably on-line, and write (1) a one page paper describing how you found and selected your papers and (2) a three page review of the papers you discovered with particular reference to how much a beginning college student would gain by reading them.