First of all, many thanks for your posts here, and for your kind words and your support for the class. This, as always, is highly appreciated.
My apologies for not having posted earlier. Right now, due to the Corona situation, things are more busy than ever. Yes, I guess that sounds like my all-time excuse
Just a few words. Here at Pforzheim University we were lucky. We were well prepared for switching to online-teaching, as far as the necessary technical infrastructure is concerned. We managed to do so within a few days. So, for us and for our students, the semester started without any delay. Online-teaching from home-office itself is a whole new experience and requires a lot more preparation than usual. My wife is also teaching, same way as I do. We have rotational schedules, and whoever of the two of us is not teaching, is caring for the kids, as kindergarten and all other child-care facilities are also closed down currently.
So, during the day, I am either teaching, or playing But not playing Vectrex. And once the kids are in bed, I am digging my way through all the emails and the other to-do-stacks that have piled up over the day. I guess many of you are in similar situations right now.
I will (hopefully) post again soon and report more details about this year's course and about the current status of the projects. And I will also answer the questions about "The Count" (still haunting me...) and write about some other things.
Here at Pforzheim University we were lucky. We were well prepared for switching to online-teaching, as far as the necessary technical infrastructure is concerned. We managed to do so within a few days. So, for us and for our students, the semester started without any delay.
Yes, definitely lucky there, as my sister's a teacher and it's been a disaster for her, staying up until 1 a. m. trying to get things to work (but then she's not a tech person or anything). Her college is still not really back to teaching classes yet, I don't think.
By the way, I've stickied this thread for now and the ensuing weeks.
Last Edit: Apr 16, 2020 11:56:46 GMT -5 by VectorX
here is a short, but long overdue update of the current course status:
There are five students participating in this year's Vectrex programming class. This number is significantly less than in the past years (averaging between 12 and 16 students), but I think it is futile to speculate about the reasons. Might be due to the current Corona situation, might be due to my web server not being externally visible in the weeks before the start of the semester, might be due to just no specific reason at all, who knows. Actually, I don't care. I am happy that there is a course this semester
This class is definitely different compared to the previous ones. We have to make do with online-teaching, and the fact that unfortunately the students do not have the opportunity of directly working on a real Vectrex console. Thus, progress is a bit slower than usual. Then again the C programming skills of all students are really good, and they have all already progressed from the prototyping phase to implementing their project ideas. The last topics we discussed in class were the design and efficient programming techniques of state-machines, and the usage of function pointers in C.
PS: I will probably open up a new thread where I will, as requested, report on the current status of "The Count" and on some other Vectrex related things, as those are not directly related to the 2020 academy course.
... it is rather 1:5 time constantly At least during the online teaching sessions. In a real classroom, during the implementation phases, there are usually small groups or pairs of students forming, and I am walking from group to group. There is also always lots of offline communication (well, not really offline as this usually means emails) , and this is indeed 1:1. And managing just 5 different projects is of course easier for me than 10+ projects.
During our online sessions, I have my webcams activated, and one of them points to my real vectrex console, which I also use to demonstrate various things. So we have that at least.
As for buying their own consoles, well, those are still rather expensive. And for the students money might be a bit tight, especially right now with many student jobs or internships being cancelled . I had one student in the past, an expert in Electrical Engineering, who obtained even two consoles, and another one who was lucky to have an uncle who discovered a console in his attic. But except for those two, although all students so far consider this course to be a real cool endeavor, they usually do not get that crazily addicted like me or the rest of our community
Yes, that is a big problem. The large majority of today's younger generation is used to everything being available online in digital format. And they are also "used to" everything on the internet being available "for free"...