I'm Still Sort of a Professor

While I’m no longer employed by the University of Toronto, I’m still involved with several student projects. Several of them have had good news to report this past week:

  • Jorge Aranda will do the final defense of his PhD thesis tomorrow morning. In this post, he talks about what he expected when he came to grad school, and what he's found instead. And here, he starts a series of posts about what he discovered about software development teams during his research. He did excellent work; I'm looking forward to more.
  • Zuzel Vera, who is one of my MSc students, has been analyzing the data she collected during her study of how programmers visualize SQL database queries. Her analysisso far shows that "...there is not a single pair that uses the same notation." She's still digging; feedback from those interested in modeling notations, and programming tools to support them, would be very welcome.
  • Alecia Fowler (another of my MSc students) has taken time off work to concentrate on her thesis full-time. She's looking at how sighted people describe maps, in order to figure out how best to annotate them to help the visually impaired. She'll be posting results and recommendations soon.
  • Andrew Smith and Mike Conley, the other two MSc students I'm working with, are also making steady progress: Andrew's about to field-test his study of code review, and Mike is winding up his Summer of Code project and analyzing data from his own study.
  • Chas Leichner, my Google Summer of Code student, has been working on an extension to IDLE (the simple IDE that comes bundled with Python) that will allow instructors to add comments to programs, then display those comments at appropriate moments during program execution. He has posted a screencast that shows what the whole thing looks like. I'm very impressed; I can see lots of ways to use this in intro courses, Software Carpentry, and elsewhere. Now if only we could get the IDLE development team to answer our email...
  • The eight (or nine, or ten, depending on who you include) students who are working on Basie this summer have been focusing on a Django-based version control repository viewer that could be added to Pinax. It is now working (mostly) for both Subversion and Mercurial---see the latest blog post for a status update. Their last milestone is to bundle it all up and submit it to the Pinax crew for code review.

It’s been a productive summer: lots of juggling to do in the next few weeks as everything comes down to the wire at once, but I’m really pleased with how everyone’s project has worked out.

In the wake of posts about Shopify's support for white nationalists and DataCamp's attempts to cover up sexual harassment
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