Fundamentals of CS I (CS151 2002F)

SamR's Answers to the Introductory Survey (2001S)

As I start each class, I like to learn a little bit about my students and their expectations for the course so that I can both know and teach them better. Since I'm asking you to prepare answers to this survey, it is only fair that I prepare my own.

Samuel A. SamR Rebelsky
Where are you from?
I was born in Newton, MA, a suburb of Boston. Since then, I've lived in Chicago (11 years), New Hampshire and Maine (4 years), and Iowa (over 5 years).
What courses are you taking this term? Please include the meeting times. Also note that I like course names in addition to course abbreviations.
During Spring 2002, I'm teaching CSC151, Fundamentals of Computer Science I (MWF 9:00-9:50, Tu 10:00-10:50) and CSC362, Compilers (MWF 11:00-11:50 plus labs on Tuesdays). You can also consult my schedule for more information.
Tell me a little bit about your background with computers.
Hmmm ... I may be too old to remember. We had an Apple ][ when I was in high school. When I got to college, I quickly became enamored of using the school's computers (a DEC-20 running Tops-20 and an Amdahl running MVS) and ended up as a computing assistant. Since that time, I've gone on to take and teach too many courses in computer science. These days, I like to work on Macintoshes and Unix (and Linux) boxes. I've never become comfortable with Microsoft Windows. And even after all that background, I still get frustrated with these things.
Why are you taking this course?
I teach CS151 because (1) I enjoy teaching; (2) I value the chance to meet prospective CS majors early in their carrers; and (3) I like meeting teaching both majors and nonmajors and CS151 usually provides a nice mix.
What do you expect to gain from this course?
New perspectives (every group of students provides some new perspectives).
What are your biggest concerns for this course?
That I'll be overwhelmed by the time constraints.
I realize that it is quite early to ask, but do you intend to continue taking computer science courses after you take this course? Why or why not?
I intend to keep teaching CS courses for many years to come.
What do you like most about Grinnell?
The small, relatively informal, atmosphere.
What do you dislike most about Grinnell? (If you don't dislike anything, what do you like least about Grinnell?)
The isolation. When I have free time (not too often), I like to rummage through used book stores and the cheapo bins at record stores. While we have a used book store, I miss the cheapo bins. (And no, the Internet is not the same, although I'm finding the used book services addicting.)
What is the best course that you've taken at Grinnell so far? Who taught the course? What made it good? (Although I have tenure, I'm always trying to find out what makes a course or teacher stand out.) If you haven't taken any courses at Grinnell, tell me about your best high school course.
Believe it or not, but I've enjoyed teaching most of the courses I've taught at Grinnell. It's hard to choose a favorite. In most of them, I've had enthusiastic and intelligent students who were also generally nice people. I love CS, so I find most of the topics interesting (although I have some preferences for introductory courses). My favorite teacher in college and graduate school was probably Gerald Mast, who taught film. Mast really knew his subject and also was less willing than any other professor to let me get away with sloppy writing. I probably teach most like Paul Sally in Math, although he might be surprised to hear that.
Most surveys like this ask you to list your five favorite books, movies, TV shows, CDs, chia animals, buildings on campus, professors, or whatever. I'll give you a littl emore freedom. Pick a class of objects (it can be one that I listed, it can be one that I didn't list), and list your five favorite objects in that class.
Top Five Ways to Spend Time:
1. Spending time with my wife (Michelle) and children, William (7), Jonathan (4), and Daniel (1).
2. Reading. These days, I tend to read modern fantasy and a variety of types of nonfiction.
3. Cataloging my record collection (much too large).
4. My research projects, which seem to be endless time sinks.
5. Preparing for my courses (yes, it's a time sink; it's also one that I enjoy).
Tell me a little more about yourself. You might describe hobbies, interests, goals, whatever.
I'm 38, which some of you seem to think is relatively young and others of you think is relatively old. My wife, Michelle, and I have been married for fifteen years (to the day on the day I wrote this response). We have three children, William, Jonathan, and Daniel.
I may be one of the least organized people you ever meet. Take a look at my office later this semester, and you'll understand what I mean.
I love teaching (and also very much enjoy doing research on hypermedia systems) and have found Grinnell a great place to be.
What other questions should I have asked on this form? (You don't have to come up with any; I just like to find ways to improve my introductory questionnaire.)
If I could think of other questions, I would have added them.
Since I'm asking you all of these questions, it's only fair that you get to ask me some questions. What, if anything, would you like to know about me?
Why do I bother filling out these sample answers? Does anyone read them?



Thursday, 24 August 2000

Monday, 10 January 2000


Disclaimer: I usually create these pages on the fly, which means that I rarely proofread them and they may contain bad grammar and incorrect details. It also means that I tend to update them regularly (see the history for more details). Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for changes.

This document was generated by Siteweaver on Wed Dec 4 08:47:24 2002.
The source to the document was last modified on Thu Aug 29 14:39:19 2002.
This document may be found at

You may wish to validate this document's HTML ; Valid CSS! ; Check with Bobby

Samuel A. Rebelsky,