Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today, we returned to the student's senior project. We worked on some general UI issues, in particular how to make the controls for the elevator simulator display in a better way using a GridLayoutManager. After working through this, we parameterized the dimensions for the elevator drawing, adding a few more drawing outputs to indicate the various floors in the building. Also, we refactored the interactions between the panels to allow the controls to alter the number of floors in the building. He will be picking up from here to add algorithm functionality to the loading and dispatching of the elevator users."
"Today we discussed data analysis techniques with respect to a large file of unemployment data for the years 1948 - 2013. First I demonstrated the use of BufferedReaders to read the data in from a file, tab it out into horizontal lines, and then write the file back out for easy use by Excel. Then we went through the process of analyzing the data by partitioning it into separate ArrayLists. First, we did this for the unemployment rate, which was easier, because we simply wanted the maximum for one field -- this required one ArrayList for unemployment rates, and a findMax (or indexOfMax) method. Second, we partitioned civilian labor force total and civilian labor force unemployed into separate ArrayLists, so that we could divide them into each other, one index at a time, and find the maximum unemployment rate through a different technique. This was a little more complicated, and a custom findMax method had to be written, which found the maximum under these new conditions; it accomplished this by first storing each relevant rate (the current maximum rate, initialized at the 0th index; and the next test index rate, which was the "index"th rate in the copy of the file that I emailed out after our session was over) in its own variable, and then comparing those variables in an if statement. We discussed that Employment-Population Ratio will be calculated in much the same way, as will [(the Number of Unemployed + Not in Labor Force) / (Civilian Non institutionalized Population)]. The final question asks him which method of calculating unemployment is "better" -- he is probably expected to make this decision either by choosing the higher rate of unemployment because it's "more complete", or the lower rate of unemployment because "those Not in Labor Force shouldn't be counted" (our government's standard line). I believe it's intentionally open-to-interpretation by the student. The last 3 problems of his assignment require use of the tab-delimited file we created initially. The student knows how to make graphs with Excel. I told him to let me know if he gets stuck at all on the last two problems."
"We went over basic keywords and program commenting. There wasn't a lot to cover, since the student's class just started and he has a little bit of background in the subject already."