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advice_column [2020/01/06 11:44]
edit [What courses to take (updated 4/23/2019)]
advice_column [2020/05/19 14:47] (current)
edit [A Note for the Covid-19 Cohort (Apr 30, 2020)]
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 I will continue to expand this page as time goes on. This page does not reflect the opinions of anyone else, and there is no guarantee of suitability. I believe every word I said, but that doesn’t mean you should too. This writing is informal, but please help me make this better by [[How to Contact Me|pointing out mistakes.]] I will continue to expand this page as time goes on. This page does not reflect the opinions of anyone else, and there is no guarantee of suitability. I believe every word I said, but that doesn’t mean you should too. This writing is informal, but please help me make this better by [[How to Contact Me|pointing out mistakes.]]
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 +Copyright 2007~2020 James C. Hoe.
 +
 +===== A Note for the Covid-19 Cohort (Apr 30, 2020)=====
 +
 +Your course work at CMU have well-schooled you in solving problems that have solutions. A problem is only harder or easier by the amount of work required---there is always a right answer. The real-world engineering problems you will be solving after CMU will not be so thoughtfully prepared with answer keys.
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 +In life after CMU, along with the new richness and joy you will find, the responsibilities of adulthood will also try you with increasingly complex and uncontrollable life situations, many with no good solutions. Sometimes one can only take the penalty. Almost kindly, life has a curious way of making you a little stronger to face each next unbearable burden by giving you just the right experience from having gotten through the previous. (You will know what I mean.)
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 +At this time, however, you are thrown into an unprecedented predicament with little preparation. If it is any consolation,​ you should know, at 50, I am no more enough prepared for this. However, experience has given me the conviction that life will be good again. In the meanwhile, we need to  keep moving forward to put ourselves in the best of positions, win or lose, to continue from after. ​
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 +When the world is rebooted, will you be ready? Will you have moved ahead from where you are today in spite of everything?
  
 ======Advice about Advice====== ======Advice about Advice======
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-=====Study Mechanics Simplified=====+=====Study Mechanics Simplified ​(2020)=====
   * Care about the subject you are studying   * Care about the subject you are studying
   * Do the reading assignments before lecture   * Do the reading assignments before lecture
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 I use the following definition in my course syllabus: "To put it plainly, if what you are about to do is not a truthful reflection of your knowledge, ability and effort, you are about to cheat. More importantly,​ if what you are about to do is going to get you a better grade without helping you learn the course material, you are about to cheat."  ​ I use the following definition in my course syllabus: "To put it plainly, if what you are about to do is not a truthful reflection of your knowledge, ability and effort, you are about to cheat. More importantly,​ if what you are about to do is going to get you a better grade without helping you learn the course material, you are about to cheat."  ​
  
-===== Homework Assignments =====+===== Homework Assignments=====
  
 Undergrads, even some seniors, often misunderstand what homework assignments are about. ​ (See my earlier comment on getting out of the high-school mindset ASAP.) ​ Instructors do not assign homework because we see the necessity to take up your time or to have something to grade. Undergrads, even some seniors, often misunderstand what homework assignments are about. ​ (See my earlier comment on getting out of the high-school mindset ASAP.) ​ Instructors do not assign homework because we see the necessity to take up your time or to have something to grade.
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 Do homework to learn from it not to finish it. Do homework to learn from it not to finish it.
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 +===== What does it really take to do well in a course (2020)=====
 +
 +The following is real data correlating homework points (worth only 20% of final grade) and final course performance. Multiple choice:
 +
 +a) higher homework grade (worth 20%) causes higher final grade.
 +
 +b) higher performing students are better at doing homework. (office hours? Piazza?)
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 +c) doing homework carefully causes one to learn deeper, work out better solutions, get better course grade, and actually be good at what the course is about.
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 +d) wanting to learn causes a student to....
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 +
 +{{:​finalhisto.png?​350|}}
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 +Homework performance is a pure reflection of learning for learning sake. Everyone has the time and resource to work out the perfect solutions, but it would not be worth the effort if the motivation is a better grade.
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 +How much of what you do for a class is on your own volition and not for assessment?
 +===== Learning on Your Own (2020)=====
 +
 +In the acquisition of knowledge, there is a point where any more advanced material is simply inaccessible to you.  Don't worry about that; almost no one ever get that far anyway. ​
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 +Long before that though, there is a point where the sophistication of the material cannot be taught anymore. (Ask my PhD students. They will freely attest that I teach them nothing.) ​ Anything beyond that point, you can only learn on your own. 
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 +You are nearing that point. Whether you advance beyond that point, is only a choice of wanting to learn, and, for many of you who never considered it, the realization that you can learn on your own. This is equally applicable to an academic or industry career future.  ​
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 +Don't stop learning after CMU.  Learn to learn on your own.  In learning on your own, you might just learn something that no one else has learned before. ​
 +