Fundamentals of CS I (CS151 2002F)

Evaluations of Homework 1

Computer Science Defined

Authors: Gene Petersen and Joe Hansen

Site URL: http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~rebelsky/Courses/CS151/2002F/Homework/HW1/CS-Defined/

Overall Impression: A fun site that explores one of my favorite questions, How should we define computer science?. Most pages are augmented with an interesting and appropriate picture.

Validation: The validator is unhappy that it can't find a character encoding, but I've said that's okay. You can fix the problem by adding the following line to the head of your document

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=US-ASCII">

Site Organization: The organization is a particular weakness of the site. For most of the site, you can only go to a definition and then back to the main page. At the minimum, it would have been nice to have next definitinon and previous definition links. It might also have been interesting to have links that compared the various definitions. Right now, your site reads as little more than a linear story that you happen to have segmented into pages.

I find it problematic that I cannot reach your definition or the citations page from the front door of your site (particularly that I can't reach the citations page).

It would also have made sense to put links to your individual pages (which I know you created for my class) somewhere in the site (perhaps on the front page, in the Hi, Gene and Joe are here to ... text).

Similarly, it would have been nice to have included links to others sites when you referenced other sites in your text.

Citations: You've done a good job of citing everything on your hard-to-find citations page. However, this seems to be an instance in which it would have made more sense to cite things on the individual pages.

In formatted text, book titles should be italicized rather than underlined (particularly since underlines represent links, but the comment held even before the Web was created.

Other Strengths: As I said earlier, the pictures are great. I also like the variety of types of sources you consulted in building the site. (However, it would have been nicer to see definitions from a few books, a few dictionaries, or a few departments.)

Other Weaknesses: The quote from the University of Chicago is odd, since it describes the department, rather computer science.

Workshop Courses at Grinnell

Authors: Holly Maness and Jenni Niemiec

Site URL: http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~rebelsky/Courses/CS151/2002F//HW1/Workshop/

Overall Impression: Very thorough coverage of an important topic at Grinnell. I'm particularly impressed that you took the time to write a lot about workshop in each department and that you wrote a short proposal for workshop English (based, it seems, on a course from Jenni's high school).

Validation: The HTML generally seems to validate, which is good. However, it looks like you automatically generated a lot of the HTML from some Windows program, which suggests that the effort to get it correct was not all yours.

Site Organization: Like Joe and Gene, your site generally has the organization of a central page which you must return to after viewing each information page. It would be nice to have seen some compare-and-contrast links between the different departments. (One easy thing to do would have been to create separate chemistry and physics pages and have the chemistry page contain little more than a link to the physics page. You could also have made links when you compared bio's take on workshop to everyone else's.)

You've done a fairly good job of linking to related pages that are not part of your site. However, I'm not a big fan of using uncaptioned pictures for links, since they give little clue as to their destination.

Citations: I like the where did we get this information link at the end of each page. However, it's hard to tell what link is the source of what information. Using more traditional citation format in the text would probably help.

The citations page should also use traditional citation format (author, title, source, etc.) for each citation. If you can't figure out the title, use anonymous or something similar. I, for one, find it particularly awkward to figure out which Course Syllabus might be appropriate.

Some of your citation links don't work, such as the one to Curriculum Guide.

Other Strengths: You've done a very nice job of pulling stuff together and writing surrounding text. I'd suggest that you talk to the science division about using your stuff as part of the division Web site. (Talk to Mark Schneider, or I can do so if you'd prefer.)

I also like that you've put your names at the bottom of every page, as well as a last-modified date. It might also be nice to have a created on date.

Other Weaknesses: I know that many people do it, but requiring people to figure out that they're supposed to click on a picture to enter the real part of your site is generally a bad idea. First, if they care about the content, they'd prefer to start with the content and not an essentially useless title page. Second, not everyone will guess that they're supposed to click on the picture.

Yes, I know it's very Grinnell-like, but I'm not sure that red-on-black is the most readable way to present information.

I'll admit that I"m not a big fan of font tags. I'll also admit that I didn't really teach you alternatives.

Scheme

Authors: Davis Hart, Philip Morse-Fortier, Stephane Nyombayire

Site URL: http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~rebelsky/Courses/CS151/2002F/HW1/Scheme/

Overall Impression: Your site looks very nice. Clearly, at least one of you knew a lot of HTML before starting this project, since you're using style sheets to good advantage. You've also done a very nice job of gathering information on Scheme.

Validation: Your HTML seems to validate. I'll trust your claim that your CSS validates.

Site Organization: I like that there's a nice navigation bar that runs across the top of your page. I also like that you've linked to the various references you've made. Unfortunately, your site also has a similar problem to the other two: there's no attempt to think about interesting or significant ways to link your pages together.

Citations: The quality of your citations is inconsistent. I much prefer citations like those you used on the Background Information page (which has the interesting URL of http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~hartdavi/p4.shtml) than those on pages like the one on Why is it Called Scheme?, which leads to a page which doesn't seem to be the source of your information.

Other Strengths: While much of your text is taken from other sites, I also like that you've spent some time commenting on the materials you've added, such as in the Scheme Underground page.

Other Weaknesses: You've chosen some odd things to highlight. For example, one of your examples of Scheme is use is the Kali implementation of Scheme, which has all sorts of interesting things that I bet most introductory programmers don't understand in the least.

Some aspects of your site are awkwardly designed. For example, it's not clear why you have links to more information about Scheme on your front page.

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.

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The source to the document was last modified on Wed Sep 25 14:58:25 2002.
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Samuel A. Rebelsky, rebelsky@grinnell.edu