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[ba-unrev-talk] Humble pie in academia

In recent weeks I have been finding out what old is. I registerd for two 
computer courses at Vanier College: (1) UNIX through Linux and (2) 
Programming In Java. The Java course I am taking together with my son 
Marc, who already is familiar with  two other object-oriented languages. 
Myself, I have programmed in BASIC and 15 years ago gave several times a 
course in BASIC on pocket computers to college teachers.    (01)

Although I have obtained most of my academic credentials in adult life, 
getting my straight-A M.Ed. when I was past 50 (and which included for 
me a course in the rather heavily mathematical quantum chemistry), I now 
find that the Java course is challenging me almost beyond endurance. I 
can't follow the teacher and it is Marc who is helping with 
"translating" her to me. Absorbing new concepts goes slower than 
molasses, which puts me way behind on schedule. Astuteness in problem 
solving is shot to hell. And my first exam in the UNIX course - in which 
I happen to understand and know things almost perfectly - showed that 
where some puzzling was involved answers came so slow as to be 
upsetting; upshot is that an exam that should have produced 90+ is 
probably barely getting me something like 60-65 (I haven't received it 
back yet.) This goes to exemplify that society measures the quality of 
people with tools not suited to measuring old farts. That's where the 
process runs roughshot over one's dignity.    (02)

Quite objectively speaking, it is my experience as both student and 
teacher that academic mismeasuring is the bane of younger adults, and 
even young, people as well! One wonders how much good, healthy brain 
power gets renedered unproductive in the process. Society has yet a lot 
to learn about itself. Maybe everybody should take a course whose 
substance is way over one's head; it'll cure a lot of pride and prejudice.    (03)

Time and again I have been asking myself why I begun this, but then 
again, if we are in the business of augmenting minds, we better learn 
more about minds, including ageing ones. In the meantime it looks as if 
I won't get much done on Fleabyte until either I drop out or the course 
(first part) is finished in mid-December. I hope that I can put the 
experience (aside from learning Java) to good, productive use in the 
interest of others. I have here a book called "The Ageing Brain" by 
Lawrence Whalley, professor and head of Mental Health at the University 
of Aberdeen. From what I read, I ought to regard myself as privileged 
for still performing reasonably well in the upper compartment - although 
searching for clues through Java programs is a bit of a mental Mount 
Everest.    (04)

So, if, at 75, I am somewhat slow and erratic in my responses and with 
the publishing Fleabyte, please bear with me.    (05)

Henry    (06)

N.B. Simple sample question from the UNIX exam: give a command to 
seggregate from a list of files those with four-character names. (By 
straight file manipulation; no scripts.)    (07)