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3:34pm on Tuesday, 10th December, 2013:
Well, I won't be teaching Lua next academic year.
After the exam disaster last academic year, in which three-quarters of the students taking CE317 made no meaninful attempt to answer the Lua question (despite the fact that they had to in order to get 20% of the marks for the paper), this year I decided I'd ask students whether they wanted a Lua question on the exam or not. As today was the final lecture before I have to set the paper, it was today that I asked them. They voted 11-5 against a Lua question (with the remainder either not voting or not present to vote).
When I first taught Lua, I thought the students would lap it up — as indeed they did. It's a lovely little language, and we're in a Computer Science department: they should enjoy learning it. In the past they did enjoy it, but it seems that last year was a tipping point. Now, people can get to the final year of CS degree and not regard a programming question on an exam as a gift but as a fine. Oh well.
This year's students have done an assignment in Lua, so their understanding of it has been assessed, but as it's not going to be on the exam this raises the question as to whether it should even be in the module. Given that next year's cohort are even less likely to want to face it (3 students out of 21 showed up at my CE217 lecture this morning), it's probably best if I drop it and replace it with some non-programming virtual world material instead. It's not as if I'm short of things I can talk about.
Four or five years ago, one of my students got a job for an MMO developer on the strength of his Lua coding skills. How times change...
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