Programmers are not designers
I had my first exam today. Wooooo. I am glad to have it over and done with, because I’m telling you – that was the first exam I’d done in nearly four years. My bachelor’s degree was very design oriented. My current Master-level degree doesn’t have exams, but it just so happens that my elective/option subjects have exams, so I got stuck with them.
Tonight I had sixty multiple choice questions. They were ridiculous. Overall, the exam was fairly straightforward and I didn’t struggle or panic (hooray!). There were some questions in there that had really silly answers to choose from, or just said really idiotic things that you couldn’t rectify a hundred percent. I wish I could have taken the exam question paper with me, but that would just result in my complaints. I had to go through a lot of questions thinking how ridiculous they were. This is what I dislike about this “internet programming” subject – there is no aspect of design in it; it’s purely technical, so you get asked ridiculously vague questions like the following:
Which of the following is FALSE?
A) Websites should be easy to navigate.
B) Having static navigation at the top of the page does not help the user to navigate easily.
C) The W3C has DOM specifications.
D) Some tags such as
<object> can be put in the
E) Most commercial websites are made with tables and a number of stylesheets.
Bahhhh, it just annoyed me. It’s really tricky. About 80% of the questions were “which of the following is true/false?” What really makes my brain fry itself like a ticking timebomb is the fact that more than one of these could be the correct answer. I was stuck on similar questions throughout the exam. With many questions, I didn’t hesitate and I just coloured in the correct circle on the answer sheet, but with others, I was stuck like this, because I knew my stuff, but it seemed that the answers were wrong.
So when I went through a question like the one above, this is what went through my head.
A) Duh, websites should be easy to navigate.
B) Um yeah, wrong.
Just before I colour in that circle and decide my answer is B, I read on.
C) Yes… yes it does.
D) What the fuck? You can put some tags in the
<head> section, but why the fuck would you put an
<object> tag there? Bad, bad, bad example.
Then I realise that what the instructions said were not true. There is not only one correct answer. This is bollocks. The thing is, D is half true, but otherwise completely, utterly wrong.
E) They expect me, as a designer, to think this is most likely true? This is false. Good websites, not to mention good commercial websites, do not use these things called tables; they are semantically incorrect, tables should only be used for tabular data and not for layout, and, and… /angry
I found a lot of other statements scattered throughout the examination paper that flustered me. I even got annoyed at one question that said, “An Imagemap is the way to create a dynamic website”. I wanted to tear the paper to shreds. First of all, imagemaps are oudated. Heck, they were outdated in 2003. That was, admittedly, before I had even learned about them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I know everything there is to know.
I’m saying that when your lecture notes use screengrabs from Internet Explorer 5 on Windows 98, I really, truly, honestly don’t think you’re teaching your students the right material to begin with. At least, it’s not going to be material that will benefit them in the workplace. It made me squirm hearing my class teacher say in class once, “Java is great… once you master this you can find a good job. People always look for someone to code Java for them. It is used a lot in e-commerce today.”
Unless you’re working with games, it doesn’t quite work that way.
No more Java. /bounce
One more exam to go!