Associate Professor
School of Computing

National University of Singapore

15 Computing Drive, COM2 Building, #03-20, S(117418)

Tel: (+65) 6516 4240 Fax: (+65) 6779 4580

Email: benleong at


Results of CS1101S (Semester 1, 2010/2011) Mid-term Survey + My Responses

The following are the results for the online survey that we did after the mid-term exam. I've also included some of my comments to the mid-term survey.

There are several reasons for this survey:

  • Timely Feedback - We cannot teach well unless we know what's going on and what students do not understand. Waiting till the end of the semester would be too late and there's nothing much that we can do. That said, I hope that students will appreciate that the lecturers are only human and it's not always possible to address all concerns and fix all problems this semester. In any case, the feedback will be taken seriously and future batches of students will benefit.

  • Allows Lecturer to Respond - This survey also presents the lecturers with a opportunity to address the concerns of the class and to clarify some issues from the perspective of the teaching staff, which is also why this particular page exists.

  • Reference for Future Batches - I am hoping that future batches of students will read this feedback before deciding whether to take CS1101S or the regular CS1010 C version. Scheme is indeed an easy language, but that doesn't imply that CS1101S is easier than CS1010. Students who decide to take CS1101S because they are looking for a "softer" or easier option are likely to be disappointed. My advice, "Choose CS1101S only if you seriously think you like computer science and are considering going into the IT industry or graduate school. Students who are simply interested in scrapping by should avoid CS1101S".

Note: Feedback on the Tutors are omitted here because of privacy reasons. I do not feel that it is right for me to put up the feedback they received on this site (not implying that they are bad. In fact, I have the privilege of the support of a FANTASTIC teaching staff this semester and the feedback is raving good, but I still omit as a matter of policy). They can choose to put up their feedback if they wish.  This is an anonymous survey. We have no idea who said what. We just know what was said. :-)

Total Number of Respondents : 59/59 (!)

Understanding Your Background
1) Multiple Choice

Did you have any prior programming experience?










2) Essay

If your answer to the above question is "Yes", what programming languages do you know?


1. C and little Java

2. C

3. C (only the very basics)

4. Java

5. C, C++. Java

6. C

7. C++ and Visual Basic

8. C++

9. C

10. C, C++, Pascal

11. C

12. PHP, C, C++, Java, ASP, VB

13. C++

14. abit of c++

15. Some basic C that I learnt back in sec 1. I know how to program the Graphic Calculator.

16. Pascal/C/C++

17. C++, XNA

18. php javascript java c++

19. PHP, C, Python, C++

20. Pascal, C, C++, Java

21. Java, Some C/C++ and BASIC

22. C.

23. C++

24. C and Pascal...(Actually both nearly forgot...Zzz...)

25. C++, Java and scripting languages here and there.

26. C

27. java, a little bit

28. C and Pascal

29. C programming

30. Very limited C.

31. Very basic C, java, java script... Does html count?

32. C, C++, Javascript

33. Python, JavaScript, PHP, C, bash

34. Java

35. Pascal and Visual Basic

36. A little bit C#

37. Only a little about C

38. C

39. C, just a little bit.

40. C, PHP

Skip: 19 (32.23%)

It seems that there is a significantly larger proportion of students who have some programming background this year (70%) compared to the last few years, where the ratio between those with background and those without is typically about 50-50. Strangely enough, the performance at the midterm exam does not seem to reflect improved performance. In fact, anecdotally many of the students with programming background are probably performing worse than those without last year.

3) Essay

Why did you choose to take CS1101S instead of CS1010?

1. interested in scheme

2. Because it sounded more interesting. (and because Prof used his Force Persuasion powers)

3. don't want a boring normal programming course, want some challenge! the talk is also a major reason..."10 reasons not to take the module" basically make me choose the module...

4. it seems that scheme would be helpful to have a greater understanding of programming.

5. It's seems to be fun and more challenging

6. I chose to take CS1101S instead of CS1010 because since I have prior programming experience, I was advised by Mr. Aaron Tan to take CS1101S because I would find this course more challenging.

7. Because I already know C, so I want to learn a new language. Lambda calculus was interesting as well, so I thought why not try scheme.

8. Because I felt that CS1101S would be more challenging than CS1010 and I'll learn more from the class

9. I think it looks more interesting

10. Because I feel that due to the fact I have no programming background, I should build my programming foundations solid and with Scheme I'm able to understand how to wrap my head around solving problems without having to deal with a lot of syntax and jargon as I would with C or Java. And the way the module was promoted which emphasised computational thinking over actual programming hooked my instantly.

11. No bell curve Make smarter future-project-mates To challenge myself to do better. To have a slight head start in programming languages And of course, more girls! Haha!!!

12. prof is handsome

13. pre allocated

14. It's interesting and challenging.

15. No choice, I had to take this module because I am in Double Degree Math and Computer Science.

16. Because Patrick and Laurence told Junwei to take it, then usually Junwei will drag me in somehow... sooo yeah?

17. I was exempted from CS1010 but I took CS1101S because prof is from MIT and an email correspondence with him was enough to convince me to take this module.

18. Get exposed to different paradigms/ways of thinking.

19. I heard that S is more challenging and most importantly, interesting. and I learn C before, so..

20. I attended Dr scheme lectures in school before and found it very interesting and decided to learn in depth here.

21. I didn't actually choose to do so, because I'm a DDP student. However, if I did have a choice I choose CS1101S because it would allow me to challenge myself.

22. 1. My senior recommended it 2. It seemed fun and challenging!

23. thought that it was more challenging that cs1010

24. More challenging.

25. I was impressed with Prof. Ben's delivery during the introduction to CS1101S and took great interest in this module as compared to CS1010. I feel that even though the module is more complex than CS1010, the most important factor lies in who teaches the module. A simpler module taught by a less capable lecturer or tutor does not make it any more easier compare to a difficult module taught by a capable lecturer.

26. for kicks

27. We were not given the options of choosing CS1010 as this is the requirement for DDP.

28. It's more challenging and I want to learn sth new(Scheme), which is very different from the programming languages that I knew.

29. more challenging; can learn more;

30. I already know C.

31. Want challenges and do not want to get along with boring things...

32. its a challenge.

33. I have learnt C, so I want some other languages.

34. I thought it'd do me good in the long run. and also it's fun!

35. - Because I would like to learn a new way of programming, i.e. Functional Programming. - Because I would like to challenge myself. - Because Assistant Professor Ben Leong is the best lecturer in SoC!

36. fun and interesting

37. Because I think it provides more opportunities for the students to "get their hands dirty".

38. It's a lot more exciting =)

39. From seniors' recommendation.

40. Always wanted to learn programming :)

41. Because of DDP

42. Prof is handsome

43. For the challenge that 1101S can offer. From what I know from my 1010 peers, their pace is slightly slow.

44. Want challenge.

45. its fun yeah.

46. I took it as a risk. I chose this because of 2 main reasons. First it could provide me a general view about the profession of CS and notion about computational thinking. Second some told me that it's like math.

47. Having some challenge is fun.

48. I like challenges, and to learn something new.

49. To strengthen my foundation in programming

50. because I hear that we doing some cool stuff like robot, jedi pages, missions, comics, those are very cool.

51. I think it's more challenging. Besides, the professor is very charming.

52. because I like programming and challenging to myself as well.

53. Because I understand the process of going through something as tough as cs1101S will truly develop my thinking skills unlike cs1010. The good part about this course is that it allows us to do cool and functional stuff in a short time unlike other languages. I was totally sold by the slides that I viewed on the website.

54. I originally could not decide, but then, my friend checked the mentor-mentee list and told me that Dr Evil was going to be my mentor, so I decided to take CS1101S because of that.

55. DDP Math and Computing. No choice. But I'd probably have picked CS1101S to challenge myself anyway.

56. For the challenge.

57. 1. For the challenge 2. To seek out the best people because most of them will probably choose this over CS1010 3. To really understand what Eric S Raymond and Paul Graham meant by Lisp/Scheme being the Latin of programming languages and the profound sense of enlightenment one will receive after truly understanding it 4. I highly doubt that CS1010 will cover anything beyond the basics of C because real C can get very obscure and is honestly too tough for most people. Why do something that is almost guaranteed to be smooth and too easy and then regret not taking CS1101S?

58. I wanted to learn the methodology of programming rather than a specific language. :3

Skip: 1 (1.6%)

The majority of the students who sign up for CS1101S are typically highly motivated. :-)
We also had quite a number of DDP students who had to take CS1101S because of their course requirement.


1) Multiple Choice

How do you find the lectures?



I have no clue what the lecturer is talking about most of the time


I have no idea what's happening half the time


Lectures are no different from the other classes on campus


Lectures are clear and I am able to follow the material quite well


Lectures are way cool. Easily the best class that I've taken at NUS (not like I've taken a lot, but...)




Seems that we're doing okay this year. The proportion of "lost" students has increased to 15% from 10% last year. Now that we have had several years worth of data, it seems that typically about 10-15% of the students have trouble following the lectures. This is likely due to the pace of the course, which is fast because this IS an accelerated course. Every year, we also have one poor completely lost souls. Completely lost souls should most definitely come and see me.

2) Multiple Choice

How effective are the recitations in facilitating your learning?



I'm always asleep during recitations and have no idea what the instructor is saying.


I have a hard time understanding what is taught in recitation


Recitations are okay


Recitations are clear and helpful in reinforcing the material covered in lectures


Recitations are brilliant. I understand Scheme completely because of them.




Recitations results are comparable to those last year. 

3) Multiple Choice

How effective are the Discussion Groups in facilitating your learning?



They are a complete waste of my time ...


I have no idea what's going on/I have no idea what the Tutor is saying most of the time


Discussion Groups are okay


Discussion Groups are helpful for my learning


Discussion Groups are brilliant. Every module at NUS should have them!




Students seem to be raving about DG's compared to past years. This is likely because of the small 1:4 ratio we achieved. Sadly, this 1:4 ratio is an anomaly. The low ratio achieved this year was due to a manpower surge to support the development of JFDI Academy. We are likely to revert to a 1:8 ratio in future years.

4) Essay

Feedback for Lecturer Ben Leong.


2. Its fast but it keeps you awake & going.! Also the support system is easily the best of all modules with tutors/buddies who offer alot of help for the weaker students. There are also many sources of help such as an active & useful ivle forum, past papers, solns & stuff. (:

3. Great lecturer! Able to connect with the students and I'm just totally amazed at the culture he has been able to create that actually revolves around just a module in NUS.

4. The lectures are interesting. Indeed, the mid-term is "fun"...

5. diagrams are very helpful for certain less obvious concepts. there should be more of them. but otherwise the slides are fine and most things are well elaborated.

6. Lecture given by Prof Ben is fun. but the pace of lecture is too fast i think that we do not have time to digest completely.

7. Awesome Possum

8. Humorous and energetic.

9. Prof. Ben is a brilliant lecturer. He talks fast to give us as much knowledge as possible. I like the teaching style which makes me dedicated to the teaching and got exctied to face the challenge to try to catch up with the speed.

10. 2 hours per week for recitations please! Recitations are rather rushed.

11. Quite cool. The most brilliant man i have ever met. he cares for us, teaches us how to learn and how to manage the uni life. he is more than i teacher.

12. Probably sometimes if there are harder concepts to grasp, can slow down a little. Otherwise, awesome!

13. Very pro...and evil ;) But i like his personality and teaching style! and he is almost always online...whether early or late...

14. You rock! Really appreciate this module for equipping me with a useful language and thinking skills. Also the facebook game idea is quite novel. Even though it is not entirely original (in the sense that such websites which offer leveling up for completing IT-related problems existed long ago), I think this idea is probably a pioneer in the context of academic.

15. his favourite colour is grey.

16. it is good the way it is~ Thanks!

17. always speaks fast (a bit challengeable to we Chinese students), but very efficient, brilliant and humorous.

18. A very good and humorous Lecturer. The best lecturer of the lecturers I have met yet

19. Beyond God-like

20. Keeps the class awake with the lively way of teaching, and not the usual NUS style of droning on and on reading from slides. Also makes the lesson more personal by taking the effort to know the people in the class individually.

21. His teaching style is awesome.

22. He is a patient lecturer; although he constantly says that the pace of his class is very fast, he is however willing to slow down for students who might not be able to grasp the basic concepts being taught for the day. He is also a very friendly person who will talk to his students when he sees them around in campus and is always ready to answer any questions that they may have. As for teaching effectiveness, I feel it is more because of the content of the lectures that are slightly harder to understand rather than his teaching style. His recitations are still very useful in helping me learn more about the subject.

23. Interesting, a good lecturer, really pushes us to think

24. Prof. Ben is very skilled in motivating students and explaining stuff very clearly!

25. "Either your students are very smart or your teaching have improved over the years." I think its the latter.

26. Prof. Ben is an amazing lecturer who manages to capture the attention of the class easily and keep people focused on the lecture.

27. Hmm.. nothing much? Because the lectures are already good. Sometimes I find that the pace is too slow, while on a few occasions it might be too fast (eg. fast fibonacci and flatmap). QOTDs are nice and at appropriate difficulty level (solvable) to help one understand the concepts more because it involves practice. The videos are nice!

28. One of the coolest teachers I ever met!

29. Ben sir is a good lecturer. The best thing is that he is available online almost all the time and is always ready to help. His lectures are interesting and engaging.

30. Prof Ben is kind and creative; the material he prepares for this module is brilliant; "more thinking, less coding" and all this kind of stuff are brilliant, they are and will be valuable in my lifetime; But I have to say, sometimes prof doesn't teach clearly on some topic or some knowledge; i don't see the difference when reading the lecture notes with or without prof. Anyway, I like Prof Ben~

31. Quite COOL!

32. Very handsome!

33. Excellent prof and created a well structured course. Will be great if prof can speak very much slower.

34. Hi Prof, Please do not use weak students like me to use it as a benchmark on your teaching capabilities. I think I am solely responsible for my bad grades. I appreciate the thoughts on setting giveaway questions to weaker students to help make our grades look better. Apologies for not having to do as well as you want us to be. Thank you for spending much thoughts and efforts on us in any way you could. I think this module has in fact given me a thought about the makings as a programmer which requires not just the love for the course but if you are able to think like a programmer. I really do find this module very enjoyable thus far.

35. Cannot improve already, he's the best lecturer in NUS.

36. evil and nice prof!

37. Very patient and charming.

38. Patient in teaching but sadistic in amount of work.

39. Evil as usual

40. Thanks to Prof Leong for rejecting my first submission for scheme project and his effort in making the students understand what's going on. By rejecting my first project, I can learn the real power of scheme and now I can completely differentiate Scheme (functional programming) and C++/Pascal (object-oriented programming). Prof Leong is also a very creative person. By providing missions to students, the student can implement what they have learnt and thus they become cleverer.

41. Great so far.

42. Too awesome already! But seriously though, Prof Ben is a lecturer who somehow made this content-heavy core module into something that is a joy to learn. Somehow, Prof has managed to convince some of us to put in so much effort into Scheme that he had to put up a warning label at one point of the lectures. I'm not sure if I should credit the idea of the RPG to Prof but the person who decided to implement the idea is definitely a genius. Prof is also an awesome presenter. Among the best lecturers with one of the best usages of powerpoints. I like! More students should be made aware of the awesomeness of Prof Ben =D

43. he is a nice person with pure interests and great passion for us.

44. funny and smart. but talk too fast and always ask "simple?" when things aren't simple

45. I think that Assistant Professor Ben Leong is a very dedicated lecturer who cares for his students. He is very approachable for help and consultation, and his explanations in the lectures and recitations are very clear.

46. I think Professor Ben is the most friendly and energetic professor I have ever met. Although I still cannot hear clearly what he said but what I can hear from him are all very highly appreciated.

47. A very enthusiastic and motivation lecturer that garners attention and arouses interests of students towards the lectures. However, sometimes the lectures tend to be a little too heavy and hard to absorb. One can easily get "stunned" and does not recover until after staring at it more or wait till DG - but i guess the main issue lies with the limitation of time. Nonetheless, he always try his best to break down a problem to small bits to facilitate understanding as far as possible.

48. You are a very cool teacher! You always give us interesting and difficult problems, which motivates ourselves to spend hours solving them!

49. he is interactive and always thinks of new ideas to help the students and provide creative new ideas to help us learn.

50. I enjoy the lectures! The module is challenging but Prof Ben made it so fun with interesting and creative examples. The JEDI is a great success! made me want to program.

51. Good. Lectures are quite clear and he makes the content seem rather easy. I say "seem" because after I go home, I realise i don't actually understand half of what was taught.

52. First you're a very nice guy, one of the best lecturer I've ever seen. Thank you and CS1101S staff for all the effort you made to this cool module. Second your lecture notes are well-structured; recitations and DG are helpful. Third you speak too fast, and your assumption that the content of lessons is easy and obvious is not true. However, rec, DG, and self study can fix it.

53. obviously passionate about teaching. has lots of ideas and the zainess to pull it off. feels that he can learn to listen more during any form of conversation (platform like survey doesn't count)

54. Lecture presentation was clear and concise. Always checks if people are following at certain checkpoints before proceeding. Recitation examples was also a good enough practice to learn programming concepts.

Skip: 5 (8.4%)

Thanks for the kind words. :-)

There are still one or two comments about me speaking too fast, but these comments are no longer every where, so it's a good sign. :-)

Missions & Side Quests
1) Multiple Choice

As a five MC module, the workload for CS1101S is expected to be heavy. On average, we expect students to spend about 12.5 hours per week on the subject. Granted that for some of the weeks, you spend less time on the subject; and on other weeks, you spend tremendous amount on it. On average, how much time per week have you spent on CS1101S?



At most 10 hours


Between 11 and 13 hours


Between 14 and 15 hours


Between 16 and 18 hours


At least 19 hours




The distribution this year is somewhat weighted towards the higher end compared to past years. It is likely due to the introduction of more side quests (optional assignments). Many more students did all the side quests than we had expected. We will probably reduce the number of side quests next year.

2) Multiple Choice

There are 22 missions for CS1101S this term, which divides naturally into 7 sets of related missions. What is your view on this workload?



Way too little work. More please ...


Workload is somewhat light


This is just nice


Work load is somewhat heavy


CS1101S missions are killing me ...




A slightly larger proportion of students seem to think that the workload is too heavy compared to last year. Again, we will calibrate the workload to see how we can reduce the workload next year. This is the first year that we introduced JFDI Academy and our estimates were a little off.

3) Essay

What are your views on the EXP distribution thus far? (Is it commensurate with the effort you've put in?)

1. more Exp should be given. but satisfaction from completing the missions makes up for it.

2. Ya, the exp distribution is good. The only problem is that the exp distribution doesn't take into consideration the amount of effort you have put in.

3. It only depends on the correctness of the solution. So, if someone tries very hard but still, unfortunately, doesn't manage to get near the answer, he gets 0 exp.

4. I think so. At first, I got stunned when dealing with all of the six modules workload (some of them are really tough like scheme), so I cannot spare enough time for scheme. So my level gets up very slowly. However, after a little while, I gradually get accustomed eith the speed of the studing life in NUS. Then things got better and exp can be got more. Thus, it is reasonable.

5. Mhm, sometimes I feel not very comfortable, especially for some missions, although sidequest are hard but not really much EXP for this, and sometimes the missions are not clear enough to help us understand what to do.

6. either way its only encourages farming...

7. I feel that there are weak motivators for self-exploration - not so much with regards to content (ie. areas of study in computer science/mathematics), but more of different ways of approaching the problem - for example, a closed-form as opposed to recursion, or an optimized implementation. This useful in developing problem solving skills, since one is encouraged to approach a problem from different angles. Of course, there is a strong emphasis on a minimal, elegant solution in this class, but I do not think it contradicts this. One way to do this would be to award marks/EXP for submissions that demonstrate reasonable amount of effort, not just as for correct answers; additionally, a cap can be placed on the amount of marks/EXP that can be awarded, like for the Scheme projects. Disclaimer: As someone who has lost marks due to incorrect answers, I will stand to gain if this is implemented. But I ask for this idea to be considered independently of myself.

8. I think it's fair.

9. side-quest exp are disproportionate. but that's probably the point. I see no point of the tutor giving a certain score (for missions/sidequests) to someone and in the end have it rounded off as exp. this means someone who made a small mistake may gain the same exp as someone with a perfect score. IMO, exp should be correct to the nearest integer.

10. the exp are somewhat not in accordance with exp distribution. the exp is not enough for the effort put in.

11. The EXP is a reward system that is fair and justifiable.

12. Harder missions still need to be given heavier weightage!

13. Side quests takes more time to complete but much less exp.. but of course.

14. maybe

15. fair i guess

16. I think it is ok? It's more about the overall ranking rather than EXP that really puts the pressure on people.

17. so far so good, but I think there should be extra EXP for person who answered the hard questions in DG. Some DG's questions are hard and competitive, thus people who can solve it right should be rewarded extra EXP, maybe the EXP for DG can be extended to somewhere between 600 and 700

18. I think it's pretty fair.

19. its a good strategy to stimulate learning

20. Yep, but sidequests could do with a little more EXP.

21. The EXP distribution is fair enough as of now however the issues I have are listed in the next question.

22. Pretty accurate, and the penalty's (for late submission, mistakes, etc.) are appropriate too

23. The EXP distribution seems to be weighted towards the main missions, despite the fact that more time and effort is often needed for sidequests and contests

24. Not quite commensurate. I think more EXP should be put into side-quests.

25. Yes

26. It encourages positive competitions and motivate us to work harder.

27. It is OK. I am wondering whether i can get enough to Level 35.

28. As is typical of most people, almost everyone ends up doing the sidequests in order to get more exp. However, the exp given out by the sidequests are quite marginal compared to the missions. I feel that if I only do the missions, the exp I get will be commensurate with the amount of effort I put into it. However, if I do the sidequests as well, then my exp does not reflect the amount of effort I put in. This is especially since the sidequests are not exactly easier than the missions.

29. I think the EXP distribution is generally fine.

30. I feel that the EXP distribution has been quite fair so far. However, I think that the idea to award EXP for forum posts is not a very good idea, because this has resulted in unconstrutive posts that do not contribute to the learning of the class
the exp for sidequests are really too low compared with the efforts because most of the time the sidequests are more challenging with the main missions.

31. In my opinion, extra exp could be given to students who have done the mission wrongly, but their the effort that they've put in is evident. This would give them a morale boost to allow them to work harder for the other missions.

32. Good and if one lost some exp in some missions, it's almost impossible for him/her to always stay in leader board. So it seems everyone has a chance to be a leader!

33. Yeah i would say, it's good. You get more wrong answers, you get less Exp. More correct answers, more EXP. Contribute more, more EXP too.

34. Nope. Assignments should make up a greater proportion of the total grade if they were to take up so much time.

35. Has been quite justified so far.

36. It's fine.

37. It is fun and I really don't care too much about it. Anyway, it forces to me to do missions perfectly!

38. It is not commensurate with the effort put in for sidequests, but I believe they were designed for that purpose anyway. Also, sometimes, I find that the distribution of EXP is quite arbitrary -- It's as though they are just given quite freely because everyone is expected to hit level 35 anyway. I can't justify this feeling, but I find it quite worrying.

39. Yes. The EXP system is good.

40. Yep. No problems with the EXP.

41. Fair? I guess.

42. No!!!! sidequests & contests require more time and thinking but far less exps! :(

43. They're fine-- more exp could be given out for sidequests though, considering the amount of effort needed to do them

44. I think at the beginning I always focus on the EXP because it is related to the grade. While now I understand that the core is not always submitting correct answers and getting full marks and EXP. It is the process to find the problems in my understanding on some concepts and emphasize the tiny but important thing in Scheme, as well as forcing us to practice more.

45. so far so good

46. perhaps exp need not be rounded off..

47. Good representation of effort

48. fair enough. but I side quest and contest should weigh heavier since some of them are really challenging

49. Everything goes right, no comments about it.

50. The EXP distribution so far is reasonably fair. My only complaint would be often times I keep to the odd mark for either questions that I completely don't understand (e.g. the type question in the earlier missions) or for not giving a foolproof answer when my answer is more than sufficient in satisfies the requirements. (e.g. I loose a mark because I don't provide an extra explanation for my answers even though the questions never asked for it.

51. yes

52. too much exp. most of us can reach lv35 easily.

53. I feel that EXP for missions should increase proportionally with EXP require for the levels. (Just slightly more) I understand that there are plentiful ways to increase EXP, but it seems like a full marks mission is getting less capable of increasing a level. (Pardon me if I am wrong.)

54. Pretty fair.

55. Yeah, this system is interesting and highly competitive.

Skip: 4 (6.6%)

Students generally seem to be okay with the EXP distribution. It is intention BTW for the EXP for the side quests to be relatively low compared to the main quests.

4) Essay

Please let us have your feedback on the missions and sidequests for the class.

1. I am a bit worry about the workload for tutors (so many for them to grade)~

2. Missions are easier than sidequests. Because of these assignments, I do not need to look for additional questions by myself to understand scheme.

3. Missions can be done within a reasonable amount of time. The side quests are interesting but take much more effort to complete. The missions are fun to do and helps a lot in understanding of the contents covered in the lecture.

4. good design.

5. Attempting every mission and side quest takes up a lot more time than time spent on any other module.

6. Some are killers...But generally fine, except some needs very very careful reading and very very clear understanding in the description.

7. quite long...but very interesting topics

8. OK I love the missions and sidequests so far, but I think it's better to put some constraints in the tasks so that people can estimate if their solution is fast enough. Constraints like n-pancakes (where n<=100) will make the problem become more real.

9. hard

10. missions are not so helpful as DGs and Recitations sometime. Sidequests are helpful.

11. Some questions are quite difficult for me. But on general they are well distributed. Just hope that there will not be too many missions due over a short period of time at the same time.

12. i feel that some of the sidequests do not actually promote programming methodological thinking.. particularly when people gets too obsessed over efficiency and closeness to the model solution.

13. Interesting,

14. it is better to give more clear instruction on some questions requiring explanation

15. Interesting and engaging

16. Completely DIFFICULT.

17. I think it's very fun. But it'll be great if the materials covered in missions/sidequests are more broad based. Some of the lecture materials are not fully covered. Thus more time working on the missions = less time revising for midterms etc.

18. nice

19. They're enjoyable to do and they test your understanding well.

20. some sidequests are really mathematical problems, so certain level of research is required. but it makes of an interesting past-time. generally the missions are quite ok though. it ensures we get the crucial concepts.

21. the missions and sidequest are engaging. they also allow us to think out of the box and attempts to think and learn information we otherwise would not have bothered to learn.

22. The missions and sidequests are generally well-planned, although I do feel that the amount of time given in relation to the difficulty of some of the mission/side quest is disproportionate.

23. Missions are very challenging sometimes and time-consuming. However, they contain a lot of knowledge in it and we learn a lot.

24. It's a good system which can let us learn the class well. Very interesting and useful However, sometimes the workload is a bit heavy.

25. The storyline is very interesting and make it enjoyable to follow.

26. Sidequests require more effort and time compared to missions. The exp points rewarded is too little. The idea that these quests are meant for people who are lagging behind to catch up does not make any sense =>lagging behind would mean not enough time to do missions right?

27. I feel that probably there shouldn't be so many missions for this course. Missions are good, but because those that are slower in the class may have a harder time. And there are other modules to be covered too.

28. I feel that just the missions alone are ok. The missions are of sufficient difficulty to challenge me for a very long time. However, by doing the missions AND the sidequests, I end up killing myself. There is just too many work. I wonder how the other people can cope up with all these mountains of missions and sidequests due every few days. But since these used to be just 7 problem sets, I should think that it is way better now than in the past.

29. Sometimes it is hard for me to understand the meanings of the whole missions for it's too long. But anyway I learned a lot from these missions.

30. The missions and sidequests are quite okay. The difficulty of the missions should be increased to make them more challenging.

31. They are interesting, especially expressed as missions and sidequests

32. Fun sidequests and missions. However, some of the missions might be a little difficult for the not-so-maths-inclined people.

33. sometimes the question is difficult to understand. (this may because of my shortage in english)

34. I think there should be more hints given for mission 10. It's just my opinion cos I know many people will probably disagree with me (* cough cough *). It's really not easy to figure out how to program mission 10 solely based on what's given without ANY kind of external references. So far, I know of no one who didn't at least referenced somewhere else to get it. I think there should be some group missions / sidequests in addition to the Robot Contest. It'll be interesting.

35. Instructions could use some tweaking, otherwise I find it awesome!

36. They're really fun and greatly help my understanding of Scheme.

37. They're pretty fun, I like the storyline!

38. some missions and side quests are too hard!

39. I think the workload for the mission and side quests is fair. Though by fair I mean that I have no free time left since I have to keep completing missions one after the other (just because I want to maintain my 100% participation rate). Nevertheless, the content of the missions does really help to solidify our understanding of the overall content.

40. Missions are very interesting. It gives us a real life implementation of Scheme and how it cleverly works to make complicated things simple. I like the beauty of it.

41. It is a very interesting concept that attempts to bring fun to the module. I seriously would not mind if every module in NUS is run like that. It brings doing homework and learning out of the mundane.

42. Missions are helpful to strengthen my understanding. No comment about SQ

43. There are doubts as to whether side quests are really optional or not. Exp loss from main missions is almost a granted unless students are sharing answers with one another before submission. It is slightly questionable whether the full 35% of the points can be gotten simply through main missions alone. Also, I feel that the missions involve too much maths. As CS1101S (yes its a 5 MC module but.....level 1 pls?) is not a math module, although we do have math modules in our core, I feel the missions should not focus too much on maths (RSA in particular). Wikipedia-ing the equations and modelling their algorithms is not exactly the kind of learning experience I would prefer, however it was almost impossible for me to solve the mission alone seeing as I had never encountered Euclidean algorithms in my life, and there were other modules that needed attention. I would suggest being slightly more clear in what missions want students to program so that they can focus more on coding (methods) rather than spending a whole lot of time figuring out what they are even supposed to do.

44. Missions are mostly quite doable.

45. Maybe we can discuss the solutions to some missions or sidequests in DGs.

46. Some missions are a little ambiguous in terms of what they require.

47. Sidequests exp doesn't seem commensurate with the time for them. For me, some of the sidequests took longer than the actual missions. My experience only, of course. I think sidequests should be a tool to provided a more guided demonstration of the principles that are meant to be learned.

48. The sidequest xp would be lower as well of course.

49. Missions: not enough instructions and explanations. Sidequest: need to be awarded more EXP because it takes lots of time to do it.

50. Good application of theoretical concepts. Makes you happy to get the solution. (if you get it that is)

51. so far so good

52. sidequests is OK but some of them are quite nasty! Then I think missions are nice because it goes deep in a proper speed and we can find close relations among missions, which are obviously useful for us.

53. Mission's requirements are sometimes ambiguous, but I guess its a unavoidable problem. Students should be advised more to check with tutors on exact requirements if unsure.

Skip: 6 (10.1%)

Seems like most students like the missions and side quests. Just a quick response to the students who complain that there's too much Math. Well, like it or not, Computer Science is Applied Math and good CS students are EXPECTED to be able to solve the Math problems in the missions (problem sets) from first principles. It is possible to derive the recursion for the RSA problem on-the-fly. I had to do it myself several years ago when I first took over CS1101S. Many past students have done it too. Some students might not have the mathematical maturity to do so, but that's a issue with their lack of background and not a problem with the missions. It would be good if students are less whiny and try harder instead of presuming that there's a problem with the missions when they cannot solve the problems.

Another point to highlight for the benefit of prospective students is that CS1101S assignments (missions & side quests) are generally supposed to be DIFFICULT, so those who decide to take CS1101S, please know what you are getting yourself into and dun complain. Good students won't find them too difficult; weaker students just have to work harder.

4) Essay

Please give us your suggestions on how we can improve the missions and sidequests. 

1. do not ask so many short essay questions pls.

2. the notes/questions for the missions are sometimes quite elaborate. in the sense that certain technical terms were rather obscure at first glance, and were not given enough explanation. for example, we were not told anything about scheme data types - or even what 'type' means - when one of the early missions asked of us to give the type of certain procedures.

3. Haven't come up with any yet.

4. the missions could be more in line with the lectures whereas the side quest should be kept pretty much what they are.

5. Workload too much. Please reduce number of side quests and contests. If possible, reduce syllabus and workload.

6. there should be more opportunities for review over the missions and sidequests, so that the focus is on learning and not fretting and cursing over the perfect streak being broken. for e.g my buddy did not know what breaking the abstraction barrier means (except that marks got docked off mission 11 or something) until the night before midterms. of course the onus is on the student to clarify things they do not understand, but sometimes getting too caught up with mission deadlines and exp can impede such subtleties in the learning experience.

7. We should do away with sidequests, and instead include it in the main missions as bonus questions.

8. It may be a good idea to transfer some SQ questions to missions.

9. It will be better if the questions of each task are expressed explicitly. Sometimes I miss one or two questions of a task because the question hides in many sentences.

10. I think there should be more questions that involve explanation. It would test understanding better than always writing coding IMO and makes us think about the problem solving process. (though i suppose you have to know what you're doing to code. right.)

11. the story can use some enhancement, it's a bit corny at the moment. Not epic enough.


13. Some of the instructions on the task is not very specific, maybe can try to explain the task for the mission a bit more.

14. it is ok the way it is

15. More time to do them please. We have other modules other than CS1101S.

16. 1. Constraints on tasks? 2. Time Limit and Memory Limit? 3. Describe the marking scheme?

17. Maybe a bit more questions?

18. the only thing is the time management of the assignments. Sometimes we got too many missions to finish in a few days, which affect our life and studying on other modules a lot.

19. The difficulties of missions should be increased.

20. I think it is just fine as it is!

21. Missions: More instructions, tell clearly what we have to do. Sidequests: Awarded more EXP to make it more attractive :D.

22. I think some of the mission instructions should be modified to reduce the ambiguity of some of the questions involved. There were a few, not a lot really, where the question was rather ambiguous and it can be hard to nail down what the question specifically wants.

23. I don't know, but I feel the jargon that is introduced during missions and sidequests are confusing at first sight (things like stack, accumulator (first time I saw it was like, why is this called accumulator?).

24. Be a bit clearer in the write-ups and questions. They are sometimes seem convoluted.

25. Less missions and make them harder~ Sidequests are quite ok.

26. less maths!!!

27. Maybe the information of the missions and sidequests can be least less than 7 pages.

28. deadlines of missions are a bit close to each other

29. Its fine :)

30. The deadlines for main missions are slightly demanding however due to time constraints it would not exactly be possible to change that. This system is definitely better than the old one with the problem sets.

31. maybe show some elegant solutions for our learning

32. For certain missions and sidequests the wordings and description might be a bit too wordy. Perhaps certain parts can be written more succinctly in point form.

33. Would be nice to span more topics-- more stuff with lists and permutations could be considered for missions?

34. For conceptual questions, it be good to tell us how many key points you expect us to answer. Wont have false impression that our answer is complete.. Second chance for all mission. Tell us which part we are wrong and gives us time to correct our mistakes. figuring out the answer ourselves is always better than feeding us with the answers

35. maybe allow for more time for each mission and sidequest.

36. I hope every mission will have a print sample, otherwise I may forget to answer some questions sometime.

37. it works quite ok!

38. Make the distribution of deadlines more regular. For the beginning few mission, the deadlines were really lax so I was caught off-guard when the deadline of the missions suddenly decreased from a over a week to a few days (caused my to self-destruct for one particular mission which I had to finish in one night). Or maybe you could implement a colour scheme which alerts us of the mission status (e.g. almost due, long time more, over, submitted, graded, etc.)

39. Make exp more proportional to the amount of work needed for the mission or sidequest, as sidequests often need more work than the missions

40. I think that there should be more cryptographic missions because honestly I really find those the most fun and useful! The power of mathematics and computers.

41. let us use more time on thinking but not like copying code from the materials.

42. Give more examples on what is expected of the answers. those that require explanation should indicate what the qns want exactly.

43. nothing much.. okay maybe a better storyline? just joking.. :P

44. dont know.its good en0ugh

45. Make the instructions more understand-able

46. Very Good already! should be easier so dont need to spend so much time.

47. Not very sure if splitting up the problem sets into missions is a good idea. There was one period and i think another period with deadlines every 2 days. For newer programmers, it really takes up a lot of time with no rest in between.

48. Maybe some instructions for missions and sidequests can be explained more clearly.

49. Sidequests are not mandatory yet they provide extra practice. Maybe the window of submission for sidequests could be wider so that we can attempt it without rushing too much.

Skip: 10 (16.9%)

Every year students will complain that the write-ups are not clear. Every year tutors (who themselves complain about the write-ups) are tasked to improve the clarity of the write-ups. However, we never seem to resolve this issue. My view: the real reason is that many students are sloppy and don't try hard enough to understand the questions.

5) Essay

Please let us have your comments about the Programming Contests.  

1. They only encourage the better students to attempt them. Sufficient research is required to even stand a chance to win.

2. The recent two are just too time consuming that I finally gave up.

3. It's a bit hard for me. Although I spent much time on it, I couldn't solve it very well.

4. Actually I find it is interesting but as so many brilliant guys among us, it's a bit difficult for some of us to win the prize and this reduces our enthusiasm on it.

5. it is ok the way it is

6. the programming contests are a good way to test for who understands the concept behind programming.

7. it is ok

8. I hope the codes of the winners can be uploaded because those were really amazing.

9. they are hard.

10. very challenging!

11. Never took part.

12. nice

13. its alright, but I personally don't like contests, so not much comment.

14. It's awesome, allows for creativity in students.

15. The contests are fun & creative & voting on anonymous entries is a good way to decide the winners.

16. It is cool, but exp is too little...... Never mind, I don't do it for exp.....

17. Fun, but taxing.

18. Contests are also time-consuming but good for us.

19. Very good.. opens up to new concepts which are actual real world problems.

20. Please remove the stereogram contest because I don't think anyone can see the stereograms, even the creator.

21. Fun to have; i would like to see more competitions where different answers are encouraged rather than best answers though. like wrt runes vs property guru/pancakes contest, runes didn't really have a best answer whereas for property guru/pancakes, you may be able to write a simple solution but after that its hard to write an optimized solution without reference to pre-existing solutions (which i think kind of marginalizes the problem solving process)

22. interesting and helpful. need more


24. They're a really fun way to learn more about various programming problems and let us learn more about programming methodology.

25. Interesting and challenging. I love them!

26. 50 EXP for spending so much time on it seems disproportionate, but as it is extra optional, I guess it's ok

27. Good. I believe the game system actually encourages more participation for these programming contests.

28. I think the contests are just nice, with ample time for research and students to play around during their free time. And the questions are challenging enough so that not everyone finishes it quickly and submits it.

29. Cool. The rune design one was nice. But perhaps only the same few people will win if it was purely programming?

30. It is quite fun and those who do it can learn a lot of extra useful knowledge. However, it really is a time-sucker.

31. Programming Contests have been part of my life. I usually spend at least 3 hours a day to solve tasks in programming competitions(sth like ICPC archive). I usually participate in topcoder ( , one of the famous community for coders around the world. This is very good to improve our programming skills. Probably besides Missions and Sidequests, students can get extra EXP from this online judge (, z-trening, a site administered by MIT grad student. The users can submit their solution in Scheme too :D

32. proper / more precise specifications will be good.. e.g. how judging will be conducted (memory available, range of test cases, knock-out? etc.) overall fun and interesting and forces people to write code of length beyond what is comfortable perhaps people should be encouraged (though not necessarily obligated) to share their source code for contests. although very poor scheme code might risk being exposed.. well i guess we can learn something from everything.. and of course tutors should use such opportunities to highlight good code from poor ones

33. Interesting. Exploration of using scheme. EXP for participation can be more though. (Not very proportional to the amount of effort put in even if you are not in the finals)

34. not participate.

35. by the time I finish my missions, the deadlines for contests have already been long past.

36. Very fun. helps to understand scheme and have fun during learning.

37. There technically haven't been ANY programming contests of which we know the results but I think the majority of us either participate for the sake of participating or just give up entirely on contests because we feel that the same bunch of people will just will every contest by default (not that they don't deserve to win in the first place, they are just that good T.T). I don't think it would be fair to deny these people their right to win EVERY contest but I think we could have like several positions (e.g. 1st-3rd?) or maybe award something to the best entry from a person who has never won an contest before. That way we won't automatically give up on the assumption that the regular people will keep sweeping the contest awards.

38. Interesting.. Challenging and engaging..

39. They are very interesting, although I did not have much time to attempt the contests.

40. they are the most interesting missions! more contests would be better :P

41. Copy and paste algorithms (which are done by groups of people with far better qualifications than students and obviously better than what students can think up individually) from the net in the case of pancakes and arranging houses. Totally not the challenge I would seek, no motivation to bother.

42. A good practice for people who have already exhausted the available sidequests and missions

43. They seem rather challenging and interesting, except I haven't had the time to do them yet ):

44. I cant really comment much about this since i only participated in the first 2. But based on my little experience, i find them really interesting. It sort of consolidates what we have learnt and tries to make us utilise them to the best we can.

45. too difficult for me :-(

46. The contests are a very good concept but I feel that any 2 contests should not have the same (or near) deadlines. The deadlines should be far apart so that we can do justice to both the contests.

47. Mhm, actually it is somewhat hard, may be good for practice.

48. Actually it's not that interesting although some are really challenging (like alien pancakes).

49. did not really participate in enough of them to comment. but research on it does make for some interesting reading.

Skip: 10 (16.9%)

The truth of the matter is that the CS1101S Programming Contests are not meant for everyone. They are designed to be time sinks for the students who find that even the supposedly heavy workload is still too light and we always have some of these students every year.  

1) Multiple Choice

Comment on the difficulty of the midterm



Too easy


Somewhat easy


Just right


Somewhat hard


Way over your head




Supposedly easier than last year, but students did worse than I had expected.

2) Multiple Choice

Comment on time allocated for the midterm



Way too little. Too long, too little time.


Time is somewhat short


Time allocated is just nice


Too much time, too little to do


I can nap for an hour during the midterm and still finish every question




Nice to know that most of the students thought that the midterm was quite well-set in terms of length. This is the best response in years.

3) Essay

Any other suggestions/comments about the midterm?  

1. Interesting questions, but tough (obviously)

2. Maybe more definitions of primitives should be provided for reference. I forgot the output of memq :(

3. Make the midterm quiet... Prof talked too much during the midterm.... I was interrupted several times because of that...

4. manageable but quite easy to make mistakes...

5. I learned that I should make fewer mistakes....

6.  The midterm is easier than previous years... I agree. Just that I need more practice. >.<

7. Personally I thought that the memq question wasn't in the spirit of the paper, because essentially I believed that the paper is supposed to test on your understanding of the primitives that were commonly used in scheme, but it is quite irritating that just not knowing what memq does actually costed me 5 marks in the midterm (ok but this is possibly just sour grapes speaking)

8. Laughter inducing midterm = distraction XP.

9. Writing code out on DrRacket, and writing code on paper are totally different experience. Normally, I just anyhow coded it into DrRacket and hoped for the best. For the midterms, I have to write down my code nicely, and also hope for the best.

10. The questions are very original and interesting :)

11. very interesting though a bit too similar to previous year questions.

12. It was fun.

13. I think the prof needn't to correct all papers by Friday. I have patience and can wait until the end of this semester.

14. I think difficulty should be around this level. 2009 was much harder than this imho. That said, I was stuck at the last question quite a while.
the difficulty should be just about fine. however time is a bit tight. pretty interesting midterms whereby it is very original.

15. points distribution.. either less credits should be given for q1 or partial credits should be allowed (e.g the qns will somehow require the person to write down his train of thoughts or something). interesting idea.. "make a clarification" feature in exchange for some marks. e.g. people can ask "does append create a copy of the 2nd list or not" in exchange for some marks (might be an administrative nightmare). alternatively, they are allowed to write any assumptions, e.g. "assuming append creates a copy in memory, #f. otherwise #t) and gets partial credit. because frankly such questions involve knowledge about the kinks of scheme (which can easily be resolved with a quick rtfm) and not general programming methodology.
make it easier?

16. The mid-term paper should not, in any way, be helpful to those who solved the past year mid-terms. It should be completely new. I didn't solve the past-year mid-terms and so was at sheer disadvantage compared to those who solved the past year mid-terms.

17. Mhm, the recursion part is very nice, very straightforward but takes lots of times to figure out. I like it.

18. Do not test on concepts T T

19. some bonus question? I think the difficulty of mid-term is OK, because i can finish most of the quiz, and there two nasty ones.

20. It was merely a setback.

21. I should have studied more...I think I could have scored higher if I did T.T

22. I'm lovin it :D The tasks are very nice and original!!!!!!!!!!!!!

23. As always, his midterms are creatively set, and it is a good test of our concepts that we have learnt in class

24. I know I can do it if I had more practice.

25. I found the level of difficulty for midterm ok, because we have a large range of different points for it. So the questions are disigned reasonably.

26. please don't let me fail

27. I should have spent more time and energy on preparing.

28. Would prefer if questions set were truly unique rather than editing count-change from lecture notes (steps to heaven), or improving the game of nim from 2009 mid term paper. I feel I came here to learn to program in general, not to understand the lecture codes SPECIFICALLY which makes people like mindless robots (oh he said count change important, must copy into cheat sheet!). In the process maybe the overall difficulty could be reduced slightly to allow for students to digest something they most likely would not have seen before.

29. Very interesting background stories for the questions, makes it easy for the visualising of the problem and makes it more fun to read also.

30. nil, well designed and timed, unfortunately I'm still too slow to get it done in time
31. The point for the first 6 question is too much....
32. I hope the professor can give all the information at the very start of the midterm, not during the test.

33. It was a lot of fun if I forget that its graded. Learned a lot.

Skip: 35 (53.8%)

Re comments 3 and 32, I also hope to be able to make all the announcements right at the start of the exam, but no matter how hard I try, there are always typos and bugs that get discovered only during the exam. >.< What to do?? Sometimes it's not even bugs or typos, but students just cannot seem to be able to parse what the questions say. 

JFDI Pedagogy
1) Multiple Response

Which parts of the game system have a positive impact on your learning? Tick all that apply



The role-playing concept: EXP and achievements


The leaderboard


Having storylines for each mission




Comics as a reward for completing missions


Content delivery and submissions through the JFDI website


Interaction with teaching staff through comments system on JFDI website


The whole idea of game immersion


Seems like about 60% of the students appreciate the game system we introduced this year. :-) This is somewhat lower than expected, but not bad for a start. There are certainly some loose ends this year because there were things we didn't understand. Hopefully, we will be able to tie up all these loose ends next year.

2) Essay

Please explain your selections for the previous question.

1. The whole game is interesting and useful, but somehow the leaderboard does not have any affect on those who have made mistake in the previous missions. For example me. It seems impossible for me to get into the leaderboard, so that's does not work so much. But for those who have chance to get in, it might be a good way to help them improve. Sometimes it also cheer me up to catch them.

2. Having all these features would remove the 'dryness' of the programming work. And cause all the sidequests and missions are bite-sized, its like playing a real game, except now you're doing it for your grades than for personal satisfaction. And of all the modules that I've taken(5 only lol) this is the only module that has this system.

3. The role-playing concept is great for incentivising me to get the work done because it's fun to get exp and the achievements. The storylines for each mission add to the role-playing concept by having a story that we are playing out just like an RPG. The sidequests give are like harder problems that expand and enhance my understanding of how things work. The comics are fun to read and are great as rewards as it provides us with a good storyline to follow. The game immersion is great as we do work without really being concerned that it is work.

4. The submission system is quite good as everything is online and accessing the problem sets or submitting them can be done by me at any time. Comments system and more than that, the 24 hour grading policy is very good. Helps to see mistakes so that they can be corrected and leads to a better understanding of concepts at the correct time. Game immersion just makes this module so much cooler! I show my jedi page to my friends and they are always wondering about the FB achievements that get posted and how their modules are dry and dead beat compared to this one.

5. EXP and achievements are a positive motivator for performance. Comics made the game more interesting, providing a storyline to give meaning to the missions. Interaction with teaching staff enabled quick feedback.

6. actually the comments system on JFDI could be better. Maybe a email-notification system? Comics is really awesome, I keep showing it off to my friends. Submission through JFDI website is fine. Not sure how different would it be if we submit them through IVLE though.

7. The concept of a module as a game is just cool...

8. All these encourage students to do their assignments and yet not treat them as assignments, making learning fun and giving extra incentive to do more.

9. I am sorry, I hardly read the comics; I want to finish at one time after I unlock all of them. 

10. The sidequests are extra stuff but helps to consolidate what we have learnt and done in missions. Also gives us more practice and practice makes perfect! :) The storyline makes the entire problem sets interesting. The pseudo competition of leaderboard and achievements gives students more motivation and encouragement to follow up on the module. The 24 hour grading system and online interaction via the website allows students to learn from their mistakes almost when the idea is still fresh and hence gives the student a much deeper impression of what the mistake was. Generally the whole idea of the game-immersion is very interesting and i wished it was like that for all my other modules, though it will be highly not possible.

11. A,B: Because want to get more EXP and on leaderboard, so will do harder. G: can understand obscure concepts when interacting. H: The game makes me work harder.

12. I really enjoy doing the sidequests la! Besides, the interaction gives me more chances to get help from our tutors and this is really helpful.

13. They motivate me to do the problem sets

14. The role-playing concept makes doing assignments more fun. The leaderboard encourages me to do more and more. The side-quests are good for getting more exp and badges. JFDI website is a one place system where I can interact with my tutor, submit assignments and much more.
The leaderboard thing, make life much more competitive, it even becomes my main motivation.. Although I normally don't read story at all, I still like this idea. Interaction with tutors is nice, to ensure that i know where my mistakes are.

15. I think the whole idea of the game is good. Although it has too many tasks sometimes, the exp and achievements do make me have a motivation to finish the missions.

16. Comics are an added bonus. Main thing was the role-playing concept which encouraged me to code more for exp/achieves.

17. Sidequests gives us the challenge to want to go beyond what is required and to ensure we can apply what we learnt.

18. it provides a gateway for staff and students to interact. this way, we can always keep note of what we are wrong and how we can improve.

19. Mhm, I like the idea, ideas are the most important things, bravo Prof Ben for this implementation^^

20. the comics are interesting and are great motivation to complete missions.

21. As a gamer, earning EXP and leveling up are very very attractive and interesting to me. The leaderboard especially made people ambitious and try hard on questions. I think this game system is extremely efficient.

22. I am not exactly interested in the game system. More importantly, I am interested in the content of the missions (bar the storyline), as the problems given are interesting.

23. nothing to explain

24. peer pressure

25. Nice content stuff and interation. I think the game system is a great idea but implementation should include the middle and lower tiers to provide some motivation for them to continue. Why so serious?

26. There is something about RPGs that a lot of people like. I suppose that without the experience and achievement concept, I would have been more slack. The JFDI website for downloading and submitting homework gives a more personal feeling than just plain old IVLE. And interaction with the tutors is something lacking in most of the other modules.

27. Regarding submissions and comments - I think the level of personal attention allowed from the tutors is really a big plus over the other classes. It allows problems/misunderstandings/mistakes specific to oneself to be addressed in a focused manner. Regarding the idea of game immersion - although I have yet to watch the TED talk on this (not to worry, it's on my to-watch list!), this is quite a brilliant idea to add additional motivational elements to learning.

28. it is competitive, loads of work however can learn a lot

29. My main mission is to gain EXP :P and finally get into Level 35 :D. The comics are very interesting. Couldn't wait for the next chapter :) Sidequests can give me extra EXP :D The whole idea is great :) Video or animation for the story would be really nice :D

30. do whatever I can

31. I think the system is awesome. Each part is just nice and attractive.

32. It is easy to hand up work like that! save paper!

33. Having access to one-to-one feedback is useful in clarifying mistakes etc. Helps a lot in learning. For the rest, they are a nice add-on to make learning more interesting.

34. I think the comics are a very good effort and interesting, but after a while I tend to not read it. And the storylines for the missions tend to be a bit long and wordy after a while, and gets skipped.

35. The whole game system and competitions appeals to humans desire to be recognized. Hence this game system brings out the competitive nature of humans and hence encourages students to put in more effort into this subject and do well in it (at the expense of his time)

36. Not very into role-playing games...

37. They make me happier when I do my assignments, and it adds to the whole idea of a subculture within the class.

38. Wow. In short, this is all about one word: PRIDE. That aside, I think the whole concept of using the format of an RPG game with unlockables and a storyline for a lesson greatly motivates students to really learn and achieve mastery of the content. It will serve as the initial motivational factor even if it wears off later. Even if this factor wears off, there's always the leaderboard. Talk about peer pressure. Because of this whole module being a game, once non-compulsory sidequests aren't really non-compulsory anymore since EXP and sometimes unlockables are at stake (this is esp the case if one has fallen behind and does not have a streak). This will definitely motivate people who, under the old system, will never touch a single sidequest due to them being optional (they still are), to at least try some of the sidequests. Comics are great =) Keep them coming

39. EXP and achievements are a form of rewards and a good indicator to how much one actually knows. Interaction with the staffs enable one to identify and rectify one's mistakes which greatly improves one's learning. The whole idea of game immersion... Honestly, I do not feel like I am really in a game. (Please do not take any offense as I am proud of the works that has been done by my seniors. It is just a feeling of the game. Apologies)
always can get feedback and explanation in time~

40. The leaderboard motivates me a lot to finish missions fast and accurately. And the EXP and achievements give a sense of satisfaction to me.
Curious to see what's going to happen next

41. The EXP & achievements although virtual gives motivation & satisfaction. The idea of game immersion makes the workload seem less worse for some reason but maybe its just a placebo effect.

42. JEDI is fun and very user-friendly

43. The whole idea of game immersion covers all the other points. Gives us the excitement akin to playing a game. I find comments very helpful, it allows us to clarify our doubts if any, right after completion of the missions and sidequests. Comics adds value to the storyline like having anime for mangas.

44. For me its just a place to look for assignments and submit and check deadlines, but the comics are quite good.

45. Honestly, I think the whole game system is ingenious. Maybe it's because I'm a gamer myself but I think disguising the course as a game gives the content a bit more purpose as opposed to being a purely academic pursuit. The game system itself is remarkably really well built despite this being its maiden voyage. The system as a means of communicating to tutors is also quite good since we are able to seek help in context of specific examples.

46. Using the idea of a game to promote learning considerably lessens the stress the workload of the module puts on you. Also having a system which gives you "prizes" in return for the work you put in is a good motivating factor

47. The leaderboard is quite an effort stimulator and sidequests are good extra practice. The interaction part is helpful too.

48. C. I felt being motivated and encouraged. F. Content of the missions is good for strengthen my understanding. G. Get the encouragement and experience. D. Feel less stressful when comparing with the whole PS.

49. To be frank, this system forces us to learn. If we do not finish the missions or sidequests, we will fall behind others. This system takes advantage of the shortcoming of being afraid to lose from people. However, I have to say it functions well.
50. Sidequests - Mandatory or not, I certaintly learnt almost as much as doing main missions when attempting these. Also a challenge that is very rewarding when I finally get the correct solution. Online content and submission - no need to bother with printing anything and deadlines set at 23 59 is better than lecture/recitation/DG times (more time obviously!) Interaction with teaching staff through comments system on JFDI website - Arguably redundant with email systems existing but nevertheless helps in communicating ideas with my tutor. The game concept is refreshing but I would not see it as the main draw factor to this module. As such achievements and leaderboard are insignificant to me.
51. huh?? i didn't tick comics cuz they are usually way behind the missions...and not interesting enough comparing with storylines in missions and sidequests..(okay i'm 鸡蛋里挑骨头 (picky)):P
52. leaderboard - bragging rights = motivation for consistent and good work sidequests - provide more opportunities for practice content delivery and submissions through website - convenient and idiot-proof interaction with staff on website - at least there is a portal to post questions regarding the missions
53. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the idea is just great=).
54. I do the tasks simply because I want to stay in the leaderboard.

Skip: 5 (8.4%)


3) Multiple Response

Which parts of the game system have a negative impact on your learning? Tick all that apply



The role-playing concept: EXP and achievements


The leaderboard


Having storylines for each mission




Comics as a reward for completing missions


Content delivery and submissions through the JFDI website


Interaction with teaching staff through comments system on JFDI website


The whole idea of game immersion



4) Essay

Please explain your selections for the previous question.

1. Erm, I love all the features =)

2. too competitive

3. there is not any negative impact that this game system has. it is engaging and perks up interest. probably the only disadvantage is that we get too engrossed in the game system itself and tend to neglect other subjects.

4. not really a negative impact, but it takes a while to read through the story to understand what the question is asking.

5. There is never a good enough.

6. How can an awesome system like this have negative impacts?

7. I think the leaderboard is pretty good in motivating most people. unfortunately, it has no effect on me.

8. Mhm, I do not like it, that 's all.

9. you can guess I think...

10. I don't see how any of this can have a negative impact. Would be nice to have more specific remarks about exp loss though when missions/sidequests are graded!

11. Specifically, achievements. I think it can cut both ways - in a good way, because it motivates one, but in a bad way, because by having too many "dependencies" between achievements, or more specifically, too lengthy/deep a dependency, the number of achievements available to a person becomes restricted, perhaps overly disproportionally. This goes against the benefits desired (or at least, those principles that I presume the designers to the achievements system had in mind), since the motivation disappears, or even worse, enters a trap-like defeatist way of thinking, and just gives up on work. (The latter is obviously very hypothetical.) Please note that this is just my 2 cents - this line of thought crossed my mind before and I thought I'd just share it.

12. Encouraged me to spend too much time on sidequests.

13. I spent a lot of time because of this and somehow become less motivated when I got out of the leaderboard.

14. None of the above is negative to me. (In particular, I do not care about the leader-board and everything else like it because being better than others is not my goal of learning.)

15. the leaderboard always gives us a suggestion that we need to do the best and fastest in order to be show on the board. This always mess my time-management.

16. While I am not exactly a proponent of the system, it has not affected my learning at all.

17. Sometimes when I see other's level, I will feel very upset.

18. The EXP system encourages students to hold back and only submit answers after they've confirmed (with others) that they are correct. It discourages students from attempting and subsequently learning from mistakes they make.

19. it's kind of encouraging but sometimes make us do missions too fast without thinking thoroughly

20. None have a negative impact on my learning.

21. No negative impact, it is just some are not effective for me.

22. I feel the leaderboard is like a double-edged sword. Those who are on the leaderboard will strive to do all their missions and sidequests properly and quickly so as to acquire lots of exp and stay/climb up the leaderboard. However, those who are not in the leaderboard will end up getting discouraged by the overwhelming level advantage of those in the leaderboard. Furthermore, I think it would be better to encourage those falling behind, rather than encourage those in the leaderboard, for they tend to be those that are very good to begin with.

23. I do not think any of them really had a negative impact on the learning.

24. I have no objection to the game system Just one point raising, maybe there can be some extra stuffs introduced, such as items, money, and ... so maybe more attractive=P

25. keeping on the leaderboard is a little stressful. though not necessary ..okay I know I'm kaisu!

26. it's like chasing after fame. One should not value it so high if he is not among the brilliant group coz the opportunity cost is high. I mean time for other modules. anyway, mastering the Knowledge is the most important thing. Maybe my attitude towards JFDI was wrong for the past half semester.

27. Makes it a little too competitive and sets the mindset to that of superiority over people under you in the leaderboard. If only levels were shown, then the level of competitiveness would be less but the thought process that people at a lower level are inferior will decrease considerably.

28. Makes the whole thing a bit too risky.

29. The turnover rate of submission might be to high! Sometimes there's a 2 day gap in between, sometimes there's a 3 day gap...etc.

30. Nothing bad

31. Actually I don't like this system because sometimes will go for EXP and throw something else away..

32. None. I don't think it has a negative impact on me.

33. i feel disappointed after i cannot be on the leaderboard, and i lose some encourage.

34. It is because if we do not finish the sidequests, we will fall behind. So they have no difference from main missions.

35. Refer to 31.

36. jadedness after awhile (exp fatigue), and the law of the excluded middle :\

37. I'm not too sure if I am answering the intended question ... but i don't find that the system impeded my learning of this module. Rather, it caused me to be so absorbed, i overran my time on this module over all my other modules and hence in a way impeded my learning of other modules. LOL. Well, i guess this has to do with some self control :)

38. No negative impact in terms of Scheme, but negative impact in terms of other modules! (Spending too much time on scheme)

39. I think learning is more important than accolades and being on the leaderboard. Having those as the motivation to work hard at scheme seems wrong to me.

40. I am neutral with all other above points that I have not mentioned. Leaderboard - Puts unnecessary stress on students. Although I tell myself that I don't care about who is leading, human nature to compare with others always kicks in and it is really, really unnecessary to know who is doing well in missions (any monkey can copy answers from the really competent students/outsider help) and has no bearing on anything related to this module.

41. No negative impact, all works to encourage students to put more effort into the subject.

42. The leaderboard alienates the dudes who aren't in it.

43. The storyline is interesting but sometimes the large amount of text & storyline takes away the focus from the underlying principle.

44. No, the game system is fantastic. but only for CS1101S, not for other modules.

Skip: 15 (25.4%)

I guess some students find the leaderboard stressful and the gaming element too competitive. However, there seem to be more students in favour of the game system than against it.

5) Multiple Response

Which of these game features encourage you to finish missions and play the game most?





Achievements and badges


Unlocking comics





6) Essay

Please explain your selections for the previous question.

1. Staying in leaderboard means having a good understanding of what is taught in lectures.

2. Achievements motivate me to want to finish missions.

3. Want to be on the leaderboard.

4. this tells me what others have done. so I can catch up on time

5. I finish the missions just because I want to learn more.

6. deadline approaching

7. nothing to do with the game features. sometimes I just feel like solving some problems. other times not really, but i need to complete it before the deadline.

8. the ability to see my progress as a level-system. Maybe a better data-representation in the future, track my detailed progress in a graphical-visualised way.

9. i really want to be one of the best students in this

10. as its name "leader board"

11. i like collecting stuff.

12. Others: Passing the module.

13. As a sort of perfectionist gamer, I like to ensure I always have a 100% completion rate. So as a result I always seek out to earn as many achievements and badges as possible (even though I sadly have to do a LOT of extra work to do all that). The comic is also a nice incentive since it's actually quite a nice read (and a nice reward for completing missions). The leaderboard is a nice bonus for me but not exactly necessity for me. It's more of a "if I deserve to be there then I'll be there" kind of thing. So ya... Aside from that, I think the very existence of "missions" instead of assignments is what encourages me. Since I'm working with things that aren't just dry assignments, I end up treating every mission like another step to achieve my 100% completion. It's just nice to see a page full of missions which say "graded".

14. the fact that i am able to do the further mission only after i finish the previous one

15. more achievements always give us positive force to study hard la!

16. Just similar to my answer for Q31

17. The achievements and badges are great to have, and are fun to try and get them. The comics are fun to read, and makes me want to keep up with

18. the story.

19. I actually did not pay much attention to the comics.

20. Most importantly --- Deadlines!!! Achievements and badges are too cool! Kudos to the artist and the people who thought of them.

21. Actually levelling up encourages me to play the game most; i like seeing the exp bar increase.

22. don't care about the comics now lah.. no time

23. Deadlines...

24. It is a guy thing i suppose.

25. Everyone wants to rank high right?

26. the comics are nice

27. More missions and sidequests encourage me to do more!

28. The achievements for every milestone is satisfying. (:

29. I just want to finish the current mission, and/or unlock the next one.

30. I should have chosen "unlocking later missions" but didn't find.

31. Matter of gamer pride I guess

32. pressured to stay in the leaderboard

33. It makes it feel rewarding.

34. I feel happy to be able to solve the missions.

35. encouragement

36. Simply to facilitate my learning process. I did not sign up for this module so that I have to be motivated by the game concept.

37. I am not interested in these features. More importantly, it is for me to understand and reinforce the concepts learnt in class.

38. Yes, it was. but not any more.

39. the game features to me is only an additional bonus. what is important to me is personal fulfilment and knowledge gained.

40. Uh I like to appear somewhere so that people know that I exist.

41. Mhm, it makes me feel happy when I have something new and fantastic.

42. Most of the time, the "game idea" does its job, but achievements and badges do give the extra push to not miss any opportunities.

43. Having a real time class ranking system motivates me to try to be in the top.

44. I don't want to be left behind...

45. I'm mostly concerned with clearing the mission before the deadline.

46. Want to know the story lor

47. Same comment as the above questions

48. Having a page full of graded assignments just makes me feel good =)

49. Actually I just want to finish the missions and not to fall behind.
50. It's an mmorpg thingy I guess.
51. Actually it has little effect other than normal problem sessions to me...
52. We like collecting achievements.
53. It's a bonus to be on the leaderboard, but I like collecting achievements!
54. level
55. Partly the achievements but I generally want to finish the missions to get on with teh storyline.
56. The content of the missions
57. Leaderboard shows me that I am still not done: I still have a long way to go before I become the best. Achievements and badges are the only reason why I do the side-quests.

Skip: 2 (3.3%)


7) Multiple Choice

Which of the following best describes your motivation to get on the leaderboard, in relation to the work you do? 



I do everything I can to get on it


I am generally motivated to get onto the leaderboard


Being on the leaderboard is a nice side-effect of doing my work


I don't really care about it





8) Multiple Choice

How much has the game system enhanced your learning compared to regular instruction?



Not at all :(


A little


Moderately :)


Very much!


It's a brilliant scheme!




It's nice to see that the game system seems to have enhanced the learning experience for 90% of the students. :-)


1) Multiple Choice

What is your overall impression of CS1101S thus far?



This is a horrible class. Truly regret choosing it.


Should have taken CS1010 instead. :-(


Just like any other


CS1101S is cool


CS1101S rocks. Coolest class I have taken in my life.




Seems like we've achieved yet another record of 95% of the students saying that CS1101S is the cool and above, compared to 90% last year. Sorry to see that one student regrets choosing to take CS1101S.

2) Multiple Choice

Has CS1101S been able to arouse your interest in programming?







I was already interested in programming before CS1101S!


I was once interested in programming, but CS1101S killed it :-'(




Most students seem to like programming this year. That's nice to know. :-)

3) Multiple Choice

If you were given a choice again to choose either CS1101S or CS1010, would you still have chosen to take CS1101S?









I thought we hit a maximum at 95% last year, but it seems not.  :-)

4) Multiple Choice

Would you recommend CS1101S to other students?









It might seem strange that we have people who would choose CS1101S if they were allowed to choose again, but who wouldn't recommend the class to their friends.... but it happens.....    

5) Essay

Please give us your comments and suggestions on how to make your learning in CS1101S more efficient and interesting.

1. Things are quite nice till now.

2. It's very interesting already!

3. It is already efficient and interesting

4. As I mentioned before, I could not spare enough time for CS1101s first, so I got a tough time before and I am trying all the time to catch up with the people ahead me. I can make my timetable more reasonable to spare more time for it.

5. Maybe there can be a bit more exercise?

6. Very efficient already!

7. It's too interesting already.

8. I think giving more analogies (explanation) and adding on more real life examples to the problem to help understand concepts.

9. studying pair? i think more discussion leads better understanding...

10. I feel that having scheme projects instead of missions would be much more beneficial. I would really hope that the next class of scheme would be more project oriented.

11. More sidequests?

12. More group work. More contests. More discussion.

13. I feel that the current edition of CS1101S is very interesting, and efficient.

14. don kill us too much!

15. Mhm, give more instructions is highly appreciated.

16. too much work

17. the path is fast.

18. robots are cool. we should do more larger-scale missions in groups. like the scheme projects some people are doing, they can be a mission to be done in groups. then everyone can share the joy of creating hearts (or whatever cool stuff) in scheme.

19. Compare with your partners, then you may get more motivation.

20. it is pretty much efficient and interesting enough. probably any changes would keep it more interesting. but i will not be able to imagine the workload then.

21. I think by having more examples in lecture notes will help the students. I also hope for more EXP for special questions :D

22. I think we should have a extra homework: reading the textbook. I find it really helpful for us to understand the abstract concept in the lecture.

23. I think the teaching staff's mindset and philosophy is on the right track. Keep going forward and jackpot is not too far away!

24. It's already very fun and interesting.

25. I can't really say anything about efficiency as I think it is very efficient already. The downside to this efficiency is that it comes from overwhelming amount of work to do, which kinds of kill off interest in them.

26. I think it's more or less there already

27. practice more, the more the better. and review in time.

28. its fine as it is.

29. Read the textbook and do the exercises in advance so I feel relaxed in lectures. Think of the "Question of the Day" also after lectures.

30. More slow and understandable teaching, less evil laughter.

31. more focus. now there are way too many contact points and avenues (lecture, dg, recitations, tutors, missions, sidequests, contests, scheme projects, buddy system, IVLE forum) and the game seem to be overshadowing / undercutting a lot of the important learning experience. and there is obvious opportunity costs involved with this whole game thing.. while people are participating more in contests etc. (which gets them used to writing longer code and hacking around, and hence more willing to do scheme projects), the IVLE forum activity seems to be taking a hit while there is some gist of integrating everything back to the game (exp for everything).. after some time it just feels a bit overdone also.

32. Probably improve on the game-immersion system since it was newly implemented and there are still room for improvements.

33. 1.make lecture notes more logic and fluent 2.Ben speaks slower if he can 3.ask "simple?" when things are simple 4.teach us how to make cool games in class (of course with Scheme itself)
34. This is THE module for a CS student, while 1010 is for just for all.
35. Maybe lectures could go a bit slower. >: like 10sec stun-omg-whuuuuttt-ohhhhh buffer time.
36. The effort to allow us to learn independently as well as to pick up new skills each time makes me motivated to complete my work. The 24-hour grading allows me to see my mistakes fast enough after submission.
37. I think with regards to the teaching all grounds have already been covered. Readily available and helpful tutors, (many many of them) lots of learning opportunities during DGs and recitations, fun + quirky missions (3D glasses, encryption, robots), etc etc. I think all that's left is the students' own motivation to make use of all these and learn as much he/she can.
38. I don't know, but personally I felt that more questions that test on a student's ability to find recursion (such as the last questions for all the past year mid-terms) should be given to students early on to force them to understand how important recursion is. Personally, it's when I find that I can't do certain things easily without understanding certain concepts that I start to really appreciate and understand the concepts. Actually I think the keyword is appreciating recursion. Also, sometimes I get the feeling that we are taught things without understanding why we are taught certain things.
39. Make it 6 MCs, please~~~~~ The workload is tooo heavy...
40. I think that the mid-term should be taken again because I messed it up :-(
41. Could consider lowering the difficultly slightly further. I understand the content is 2/3 of what students in MIT are getting, but the average person is less likely to even have 2/3 of the intellect that MIT undergraduates possess. I feel one of the main reasons why I'm actually even near to keeping pace with this module is because I have prior programming experience.
42. While this actually pertains to the game system more than the module, I was thinking that next year you could have the comics all pre-drawn to prevent mishaps like the comic artist getting injured, etc. Maybe you could use the extra time to polish up the graphics or something. You probably already thought of this but just couldn't implement it because this is the first year the JFDI system was implemented.
43. Character classes!! We should be given some title after every few levels. Like level 1-4 : Jedi Trainee level 5-6 : Jedi Trainee First Class level 7-10 : Jedi padawan etc etc

Skip: 16 (27.1%)

Many typical suggestions here that are not feasible: slower lectures, lower workload. It should be clear that even while some people are asking for less, others are asking for more. This is the 5th year that I'm teaching CS1101S, so I think I have reached a certain equilibrium. Workload will be reduced slightly next year for JDFI Academy, but things will not change drastically. Still, there will be students who say that the workload is too heavy and the pace of the course too fast.

6) Essay

Tell us more about what you think about CS1101S. This is your chance to tell us anything you want that is not already covered by the previous questions.

1. Prof and the tutors are really nice. they are helpful. it is really hard understand all during the lecture, but the recitation, DG and JDFI make me manage the concept.

2. I guess I have covered what is needed.

3. dunt know how to explain my feeling exactly in English lah.

4. I am glad I took this module although it is said to be harder.

5. I like it

6. I guess this would be the most interesting module I will encounter through out the whole college, so I will value the chance. and good to study with so many brilliant students (like Koh zi chun , ray chuan and and so on....:p)

7. Too awesome already. By far the best module I'm taking sem (and probably will still be among the most awesome over these 4 years)

8. I really wish that CS1101S can continue to maintain the excellent teaching support and interesting content that is in place now.

9. a very different class from the norm. with this game system, things are going in many different direction.. perhaps there is a need to relook the basics and trim whatever that is unnecessary

10. CS1101S is awesome. I didn't know a language that is so powerful until I took this module. In addition, I learned how to write programs using data abstractions and higher order procedures. Finally, I learned how to think recursively.

11. Interesting module with great community (students seniors alike).

12. make it 6 MCs instead. It's really taking up too much time. Well, maybe only for me.

13. I feel this module rewards people who already have programming background which may adversely affect people who have not seen code in their lives to think that they are not as capable. This is obviously not always the case. Also I am under the impression that this module was mostly made for people who do have prior programming knowledge, from the difficulty of the module itself. It really makes me wonder who agreed to assign this module to level 1. Due to the lack of boundaries that Scheme programming enjoys, in a world where everything can be anything which includes everything, it might confuse many people especially when they progress on to other modules and learn C and java where this will absolutely not be the case. A question of adapting arises. Also, there is hardly any point in saying oh there's an abstraction barrier to allow us to understand things better when in the end you are the one programming every single thing anyway!

14. Scheme is really cool, but one who wants to take it must arrange everything well to prepare for the challenge ahead.

15. As with most challenging stuff in life, when you are in it, you can't wait to get out. But when you have survived the test, you can look back and feel very proud for finishing it. I think this is how I will feel about CS110S, but only after I successfully survive it.

16. I spend too much time on this module. If still cannot get A, this semester surely die.

17. Based on what I've heard about CS1010, I think anyone with programming experience (that isn't scheme I guess) should take CS1101S.

18. it is cool. I like it.

19. I think the module is very interesting as it teaches one to learn how to deal with complex problems by coming up with simple and easy to understand solutions. I am very captivated by this form of beauty that programming is able to do.

20. hm.. having different Tutor every week would be nice :D, so we could know more about the tutors in CS1101S.

21. I am a students with only less than one year programming experience. As I was affected deeply by maths, I always think problems in Scheme in math way, which sometimes affects my learning in thinking in programming way. Hope as time goes on, I can adjust my thinking ways to the better one.

22. Make it a 20 MC module so that you can devote your whole time to it rather than spend in on other modules cause its worth it!

23. For the missions, I think it would be a good idea to allow more missions to be viewed at the same time because knowing how difficult the next mission is would allow one to plan one's time more effectively. Also, for some of the questions that require one to fill in the blanks, personally I see it as a plot to make students conform to a fixed model of programming, an it hampers the individual programming style.

24. From dg to recitations from lectures to lecture reflections from contests to main missions from side quests to scheme projects. This module will attempt to squeeze from you every ounce of spare time. Not for the extra busy people or those who hate thinking. for those who like a challenge and like a faster paced sem1

25. Mhm, need more times to do missions and sidequests, it takes lots of times of figure out how to solve this.

26. Actually I think it's a bit hard, especially the fast rhythm. But when I finish a task, I will feel very proud.

27. This is the best course I've taken and probably will take in NUS.

28. it would have been more fun and enjoyable if not for the grading and things. is fun to just write programs and see them work. without pressure.

29. what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! :P

30. Fast response time of tutors. I really think that grading within 24h, then finding out the result with graded comments is unique to this course and very efficient, considering tutors are also undergrads like us who have their own work too.

31. dun think there's much more I missed. screwed up a test today so can't really think that well. but i would agree that it's pretty cool for an introductory module. oh ya the intermission videos are interesting. keep up with that and play more of them. =]

32. I think its a great module, which will be great if everyone can experience it. BUT if everyone can get in, it will defeat the purpose of the Scheme class =) And I really do believe 1101S builds you up a lot more as compared to 1010, and prepares you more for future modules.

33. I enjoyed what I learned so far in CS1101S. It is also a module I don't mind spending more time on. I feel that a lot of practice is required to do well. Understanding the concepts from the code is alright but writing a code from scratch and applying the concepts needs some skill. Just like chess.
34. If possible, CS1101S should have more female tutors.
35. Maybe we can cover some useful and tricky algorithms in class.
36. Hard and time consuming. Prior algorithm background should help a lot which I don't have unfortunately.
37. It's awesome. I like how students here are so motivated and treat this module as more than just a module but as part of their lives
38. It is plain great!
39. It rocks, but it is too time consuming... Is there any way to make students in this lecture know each other better?
40. I like that problems are in small chunks, but it maybe makes me lazier.

Skip: 19 (32.2%)

Comments 13 and 22 serve to illustrate why I think that it's sometimes quite detrimental for students to have background in programming before they take CS1101S. Some of these students end up being too fixated in what they already know and cannot adapt to what we're trying to teach them in CS1101S. Programmers who have background will tend to do better, but those who do not have flexible minds do not often reach the highest levels of achievement in CS1101S.

7) Essay

Do you have any concerns about CS1101S? If so, what are they and how can we help?

1. Hope the class wont be closed down afterwards

2. Mhm, I think the jedi academy should give us more chance to get higher EXP for each sidequests we have done.

3. Can we have video about the story :D? I prefer watching video than reading the comics :D or probably at the end of the comics, we can watch the video or animations :D

4. Nothing that can be helped by anyone except myself.

5. Yeah didn't do too well for midterms ): don't think you can help.

6. Less work please. I spend about the same time on this module as the sum of time spent for all my other modules

7. Actually, I think the learning material is enough and has been provided to us, so the point is if we want to make use of the available resources placed there.

8. things should get more interesting when we hit OOP. would be quite confusing too. =[ but still, looking forward to it.

9. Will the missions be more difficult or easier? :)

10. -That I will do badly ): - I have to practice more, which will take even more time...

11. I think this course is unfriendly to beginners. If I was a total beginner with zero programming experience and I take this class, I'm not sure if I'd have been so comfortable. The good thing is, I'm not. I'm really not sure what other beginners will have to say about this though. Just my opinion here, I think that a lecture should be conducted after all the exams are over for beginners to let them understand the difference between commonly used imperative / object-oriented languages and a functional language like Scheme (that is, if this is not being achieved by the Java lectures), because some concepts heavily used in Scheme (e.g. recursion) will not be so common in an imperative language due to loop constructs being present. Another point is about state-change and mutation of variables. Because scheme uses a very very different paradigm from imperative / OO languages, I think that it is important for beginners to understand that these are just different methods of doing things. Programming languages and concepts are half tool, half religion. So before Scheme sinks into them too deeply, it's rather important to illustrate that bad practices in one language / paradigm may not necessarily be bad in another language / paradigm.

12. how is the grade allocate?

13. so far so good

14. I think that I've learned how to use scheme but I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to be learning in terms of methodology.

15. Should I have concerns for an awesome module like this?

16. Just as I have mentioned above, is it correct or proper for me to always think programming problems in maths way ?

17. Can I do a project about this question?

18. Currently no concern. I will try my best to do well.

19. Is there a tuition available for CS1101S? I honestly prefer a 1 to 1 tuition to ensure that the time spent on CS1101S is effective. I appreciate the efforts of consultation provided by the tutors but I am unable to attend most of it due to my schedule and I feel very disappointed. As a slow learner I would appreciate if there is close guidance given to ensure that I am on the right track and not having the thought of "I think I know". I do not mind paying because I feel that the efforts should be rewarded in any way I can.

20. Deadlines are rather harsh, as things are due a couple of days after each other. A weekly deadline might be better.

21. NOPE! other than having to study harder to do better! -_-

22. OMG I'm going to fail :( Don't let me fail!

23. Other than the amount of work, I think it is still fine and I can cope with it.

24. Yes. I'm struggling to keep up. Less missions! I would like to have sometime to revise what i have learnt or not learnt.

25. there are a lot of things I learnt about developing software from cs1101s, but maybe a little help on applying to other languages? if possible how far should the coding styles be similar, such as in abstracting procedures, functions etc..
26. It's really fun.. I'm sorry to hear that prof. Ben will not teach CS1101s next year...what would this module be like then? haha...
27. Take me too much time T.T
28. Does the next semester module CS2020 has any relation to CS1101S?
29. Maybe teach LISP instead, Scheme belongs LISP I heard LISP is more popular and may be used in the future...
30. I am affected by the deadlines of missions that fall on Friday. Would be great if they fall on Saturdays instead. I guess it's just me because I happen to have a timetable so screwed up that I go to school early and end late, find it hard to find time to do missions on Friday.
31. I hope I can learn more and the rest of the course will stay interesting.
32. no. pretty much almost everything covered.
33. I have no concerns about CS1101S.
34. I just fear that I may end up with a lousy score like B+ or something... I found the first half of the module still fine but the second half starting to get a bit unmanageable.

35. is it difficult to get A? i really spend most of my time in it....

Skip: 24 (40.7%)

I hope that prospective students for CS1101S will pay attention to some of these comments. While CS1101S typically gets good reviews, we also almost always have a small number of students who struggle a lot and who would perhaps be better off in CS1010 with the slower pace (see Comment 22). It is NOT true that CS1101S is better than CS1010 or vice versa. CS1101S and CS1010 are good for different students. Students are best off if they pick the module that is best suited for their pace of learning. As a school, SoC would like to teach students at the right pace. Enrolment for CS1101S is limited, basically for the good of the students.

Last updated $Date: 2015/02/26 13:12:24 $