Prepping for the Fall

A new school year is about to begin and this semester promises to bring some very interesting challenges indeed.  The courses I have taught in the past were usually C++ based.  It is the language I am most familiar with and the one that I am most comfortable with by far.  This fall I will teaching something totally new/old… COBOL.

Why?  I am not exactly sure how I ended up with this course… but somehow I did.  It is not a language I am familiar with but I have always believed that programming languages are usually not all that different.  There are however little nuances to each language that make them unique and special.  Grasping that nuance is the key to becoming fluent with it.

While I was studying at the University of Manitoba, my uncle, CT Leung,  was teaching a night class in COBOL at the University of Winnipeg.  He had asked me if I wanted to take the class as I would be able to transfer the credit back to my school.  My reaction then was along the lines of “ha ha… funny, why would I want to take COBOL?”.  Ah… well guess my uncle is getting the last laugh now.  As I was prepping for this course, my uncle spent a bit of time going over some of the those COBOL nuances with me.  Cindy Laurin has also very kindly helped me with learning about the AS400 environment and providing some much needed resources for this course.   I would like to thank both my uncle and Cindy for their help

I am now working on putting up my course materials for this semester.  Mostly this involves getting my web page in order.  This past summer I created a new web page for myself.  It is built with Django and so far it is definitely easier to manage than my old site (basically a bunch of html files that I would modify by hand).  It is not without problems though.  I made a couple of stupid design decisions that I am currently kicking myself for.  For example, I decided I only needed 1 programming standard (I was clearly half asleep at that time).  This is great when all my courses were C++ based but I really can’t use it for my COBOL class.  I also should have made the ability to add non-html style notes for my notes link.  Most of the notes that I have for my courses are done in word.  I would not mind redoing them but that will require time and being able to keep my old notes posted while developing new notes is really not a bad idea.  However, these issues should be pretty easy to fix.

Still much to do so time to get back to it!

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