Copying vs. Studying

Just swap “Node” for “you” below, and you have my life:

“Now you’re the reason that I can’t sleep at night and I can’t go home
I know it ain’t right, gotta leave you alone
But I can’t, whoa no
But I can’t, whoa no”

— Gary Glark, Jr. Can’t Sleep

I do not know if this is a good thing that I need to be proud of or a bad thing that needs to be fixed (and definitely not admitted to publicly), but I can’t go to sleep when I’m stuck on a problem in my code. I cannot just say “Tomorrow!”. I try. I shut off the laptop and go to bed, but then I grab the phone and hone my Google-fu skills.

Honestly, I used to think Gary Clark, Jr. was singing about a woman, but I don’t think he is. What is the point, really? Relationships end, and by the time any song is published, the man or woman who was so desirable at the time the song was written has long since been relegated to ex. Now code. Code is forever. Even Fortran is still out there. It won’t matter what language you use, the logic will be the same. If you need to iterate over an array, you’ll do so in Java, C++, or Next New Language. If you don’t use code, you’ll use your own mind. Grocery shopping with an app or in person, you’re scrolling or strolling. LOGIC IS FOREVER, MAN!

So right now NodeJS and Hangman are the reasons that I can’t sleep at night. I feel that this last homework has less time to plan, sketch the decision tree, pseudocode, find fault in my plan or missing bits, code than the previous homework did. I feel the crunch and therefore I my head does not feel the pillow. The beauty of code is that there are many ways to set up a game; the frustrating thing about code is that there are many ways to set up a game. Other ideas interfere as I plan. I feel like I’m shopping hungry and without a shopping list. “Oh, I’ll try that. Ooooh, and that. Or that. And that.”

The nature of homework is that I do this by myself for myself. This means I have no one to discuss this. Ok. I do, but since I am not working with my classmates, we rely on who is on Slack at the time you need help. The other option is Google-fu, but how much of that is too much. Hangman, trivia games, RPGs, tic tac toe (naughts and crosses) are all out there many times by those new or old to coding. When does research become a crutch? Right now my attitude is that if I find anything that is too similar to my homework, that I cover the keyboard with a notebook and use pen to write out what the person has done. Take their code and turn it into a decision tree. No cutting and pasting. No putting it on a screen next to my laptop and typing what they have written. I feel that this is ok. Like having the odd numbered problems answered in the back of the book. Check to see if you’re on target. If you see an answer you didn’t get, then work back. You’re given an answer, so on your own, try to get there.

I used to be a teacher. I have issues with copying or plagiarising. I hope anyone would. But isn’t some type of copying part of learning? Aren’t the notes we take a form of it? I know my students copied my examples. I know that they also copy Davinci in art to learn. I think as long as there’s no copying and pasting or writing in parallel, it’s not too slippery of a slope. Study. Learn from someone know knows something you do not, but we should try to make sure we are learning from someone and not copying. Ask ourselves questions as we study other people’s code. What is she doing here? Why did she do it this way and not this other way? How did he validate if it’s a letter? We don’t have textbooks. If we want the point of view from someone other than our instructor, we have only what appears on StackOverlord, YouTube, and other magical Google-fu results.

Since all of the code I could think of is already out there, I have to have my own form of honour code. It’s my loss if I copy and paste. It’s also my loss if I just look, say “Oh, I see”, and code while switching back and forth between screens. It is not my loss if I study, analyse, compare, and then try it on my own and return back to my coaches.

COFFEE: 1
ENERGY: 6
FOCUS: 6
HAPPINESS: 8
LOCATION: Tammy’s
STRESS: 9
AMPM: am AND pm
NONFICTION: t

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s