Professor Olin Shivers Reviews
Prof: Olin Shivers / Spring 2022
Apr 13, 2022
Fundies is my happy place. Coming in with almost no coding experience (just a little C++ from Cornerstone of Eng, and a fair bit of poking around in Scratch and Excel over the years), this class bridged the gap for me between seeing coding as some esoteric thing that just didn't make sense and seeing it as something I can and do understand. Lots of people shit on Racket, but in my experience it's really not that bad. The functional programming means you have to think about the problems very differently from, in my case, C++ and Scratch. It feels like good mental exercise.
"The structure of the code follows the structure of the data." The course essentially teaches you how to build code with structured data. You start off with very basic data types and learn how to build up structures of data (structs, lists, trees, etc.) from there. You learn how to write code using recursion and other concepts to process these structures and achieve some desired output.
Olin is great. He's always sharing interesting stories and giving advice. He's met many important figures in the CS world and has considerable experience. He makes class engaging and interactive by constantly asking the class for input and taking questions.
Pay a lot of attention and practice heavily during the first few weeks. It's absolutely essential to get an understanding of basic Racket syntax and structure ingrained in your head early on so you can focus on the concepts for the rest of the course.