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Java courses question

 
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Hi,
I am currently taking my school's "advanced java" class and i was wondering if i could have some of your opinions on this subject. I took "intro to java/html" last semester, and it was a general introduction to the java language. We had like 6 assignments to do for java. These included the "hello world" example, a simple array problem, and a simple applet.
Now im taking the "advanced java" class, and the topic for the class is Threads. The book we are using is "High Performance Java Platform Computing" by Thomas W. Christopher and George K. Thiruvathukal. It is part of the Sun Microsystems Press Java Series. Now this(to me at least) is a very advanced bok on a specific part of java. Now i understand its important to learn threads, but our class doesnt even have the basic requirements to understand how the book is implementing the examples. We had never even heard of extending classes, inheritance,using static/private modifiers etc, etc.....
Now my question is this, do you people(who know alot more about java than i do) think this is an appropriate selection for a second class in java? I mean up to this point in the semester all i have been doing is trying to figure out what the book and my teacher are talking about and trying to learn the things the class assumes i should already know. I am missing out on learning all i can about threads because most of my time is trying to figure out what the rest of the programs are doing.
Whats your take on this? Am i just a little slow? I was thinking this would be a god class for a third java class at my school, one that would deal with an advanced topic once the language fundamentals had been learned. Thanks for any input i get, as i am REALLY looking forward to hearing what you all have to say. Thanks! :>
 
Andy Ceponis
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One more thing relating to my above post. I went out and bought several beginning Java books. Just Java 2, Ivor Horton's Beginning Java 1.3, and Deitel&Deitel's java 2. I am not having to much trouble going through these books, and i am unerstanding the concepts fairly well. I have read through the thread chapters in all these books and understand what they are saying. And i am finding that i am learning way more through these books than in my class where i am getting frustrated.
 
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Personnaly I learned java on my own (I've been a professionnal programmer for the last 2 years) and I find it is much quicker to learn by yourself than from a teacher. The thing is if you want a job in java you need a diploma if you don't have experience. So what I recommend is : Stay in your class and learn all you can by yourself. You just need to take the time it takes. It's really worth it.
You have to learn more than what your class is about otherwise you're just part of the majority (which is lame). Bad programmers are all around and they don't get paid much. Good programmers are a few and they get the $$$. If you only study for the content of the exam, you'll end up a bad programmer if you do 5 times the work your teachers are asking for you'll end up being the best. It's all about your attitude.
Don't do it if you don't feel like it but you'll end up regretting it. I remember downloading a beta JDK before 1.0 and thinking it was pretty cool but not understanding it. I regret the day I deleted it.
bottom line : Learn all you can and have fun.
 
Andy Ceponis
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Yeah see i am having fun learning on my own and playing around with the JDK. Writing my own little programs that i try out as i read from my books. I think ive learned more that way than the 60+ hours ive spent in class so far.
I was just wondering about the content of the class im taking now if it seemed to specific for a java newbie or not. Because while i see a big need for thread programming, there is so much more to java that i am learning on my own that is also very useful.
 
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I think you are absolutely correct. You should understand fundamentals before learning Threads. I think their curriculum could use some looking at. Threads can be a hard subject for some to learn anyway. Threads is usually one of the last chapters in most books for a reason. Just my opinion.
 
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Andy,
From what you have shared there is no reasonable way that we
can evaluate what is going on.
So much depends on the philosophy of the instructor:
does S/he expect a more knowledgable student,
does S/he dislike using "throw-away" books and preferes
books that can be used in the future (as well as reference,
does S/he provde a lot of other in class info,
does S/he like specifics about the book and then suppliments
with other info, and/or
is S/he stuck with the book.
The best thing you can do is schedule some time with the
instructor, discuss you concerns and ask Hir why the book
was selected. You may get an interesting answer.
 
Andy Ceponis
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I know that its hard to answer/give an opinion on these sorts of questions. I guess i was just looking for some guidance as to what i feel towards this class. I was/am feeling frustrated at this class. Just a side note here, only 1 person in the whole class has completed(but not gotten working correctly) any of the 3 homework assignments so far this semester.
Somehow i think that somehing is wrong with that picture, as most people already work in the it field and are computer literate. I know it sometimes takes me a while to catch on to certain things, but this cant be good for the class if nobody is even able to complete any of the assignments. Sorry for that rant, i just had to get it out in the open
Thanks for all your input guys, i really appreciate it.
 
Steve Fahlbusch
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Andy,
Don't feel sorry about raving. It's great and a lot of times
you just gotta get it out. Makes getting back on the horse
a lot easer sometime.
But also make sure you talk to you instructor, just to make
sure the instructor is on the same page as you. And do it
sooner than later. Having taught my share of courses over
the years, many many times another instructor's student would
talk to me (about many of the same issues you raised (and they
are valid concerns)). I would tell them, talk to the instructor.
Guess what, usually very close to the end of the class, they
would see me and they just talked and now everything is better,
but it was too late to change the class.
So rave all you want, that's what we are here for. but do
make it win-win for yourself at the same time.
steve

 
Andy Ceponis
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Im taking your suggestion and going to talk to him tonite after class. Thanks for your help in this.
 
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I too am having problems with the content required to already know entering a Java class. However, I now know that programming is not for me, even though I did get a scholarship to this program. I struggle every free minute I have just trying to keep up with my assignments. I will be talking to my instructor tomorrow to find out if there is anything I can do to just finish and pass the course; then I'm changing majors!!!
Good Luck, Mary Ellen
 
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