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Journals

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Class #1: Computer Science 105 – Explorations in Computer Science

November 27, 2008   I thought I’d start writing about the four classes I’m currently taking to give a snapshot on what my days are like at Hamilton. On Monday and Wednesday afternoons I have my computer science class. It’s essentially a class for non-computer science majors who want to learn more about computers without having to learn all about coding. On Mondays we typically meet to watch interviews with designers or documentaries about how technologies were developed. Wednesdays are reserved for working on projects, which use the program Visual Basic. We design simple programs to do things like order pizza online, re-make a word processor, or control the lights in our classroom.

We look at very specific pieces of technology that you don’t usually take time to think about. For instance, why do we have “desktops” on computers? The interface is actually a representation of a desktop blotter in an office – you have a trashcan and folders to file documents in. We look logically at why things are laid out in the ways they are, and how we could make them better. Right before the election, there were videos and articles online about voting machine issues and how votes were being mis-counted. We thought about how these machines could effectively be re-designed to prevent these issues from happening.

We looked at the timeline of computer evolution, and when the mouse was first used, how computer games developed, and how the internet came about. It’s really fun to look at technology that has real-life applications and do something a little different than what my classes usually cover.