Inside the Computer This essay will be focusing on the discourse community of Comp. 1900. What is a discourse community? A discourse community is a group of people involved in and communicating about a particular topic, issue, or in a particular field (What Is a Discourse Community? ). Comp 1900 is an introduction to computer science course. The reason why I have chosen to see this class as a discourse community is because I believe it fits into the six Swales rules for deciding if a community is a discourse community.
The rules go as follows from the John Swales article in “Writing about Writing” book by Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs: · “A discourse community has a broadly agreed set of common public goals. “(Swales 220). “A discourse community has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members”. (Swales 221) • “A discourse community uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback. ” (Swales 221) •“A discourse community utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims. (Swales 221)• “In addition to owning genres, a discourse community has acquired some specific lexis. “(Swales 222) • “A discourse community has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discoursal expertise. “(Swales 222)
Beginning with the first rule, a discourse community’s members share in one or more common goals. The discourse community of comp 1900’s goal is for the teacher to successfully teach the students and the students to pensively learn from the teacher the basic building blocks of introduction to computer science.
Secondly and thirdly, comp 1900 meets the criteria for rules two and three: a discourse community has intercommunication among its members and uses participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback. The basic intercommunication between the members in comp 1900 are face to face interaction and written comments on teacher assigned work. And through these channels of communication, the teacher of the class will write or tell a student directly what to fix on an assignment.
The next rule is a discourse community most have one or more genres to move forward in their goal. For this specific discourse community, its genres are sub-topics of the introduction to computer science course. For example, some sub-topics of the course are methods, loops, and classes: the class being a blueprint for the computer to follow like a cookbook, methods being the steps to accomplish the blueprint, and loops being a specific step in a class that repeats multiple times.
The fifth rule is a discourse community has to have a specific lexis. The comp. 1900’s lexis is filled words like java and compiler. Margaret Rouse explains that Java is a programming language expressly designed for use in the distributed environment of the Internet (Java). She also states that Java can be used to create complete applications that may run on a single computer or be distributed among servers and clients in a network (Java). Its name mainly comes from just wanting to sound different from other computer programming languages names.
Another definition created by Margaret Rouse is that a compiler is a special program that processes statements written in a particular programming language and turns them into machine language or “code” that a computer’s processor uses (Compiler). The last of Swales rule is a discourse community has a wellestablished ratio between experts with content and new members. In comp. 1900, the ratio from teacher to students is one to forty: the teacher, Bill Baggett PhD, being the expert on introduction to computer science and the students being the new members.
Moreover, the content that the teacher teaches is all on the syllabus that he gives to each of his students at the beginning of the year. The syllabus contains a wide range of subtopics from the computer science subject. These sub-topics are the study topics that students have to learn to pass the class. Ethnography In the ethnography section, I will be explaining some key information around and about comp. 1900. First, I will be explaining what the actual classroom looks like. Then, I will show and explain some of the text that I have written in the class.
And finally, I will show the answers given to me by a student in comp. 1900. When you first enter the classroom, it is fairly bright but because of the difference of lighting from the hallway it appears brighter than it really seems. The classroom is covered with whiteboards. Each set of whiteboards has its own wall. The only wall that does not have its own whiteboard is the one with two doors leading in and out of the room. There is one projector on the ceiling of the room that is facing the front of the room away from the doors.
In-between the doors and the projecting wall is the student sitting area where there are desks and chairs. The teacher has a one person desk at the front, but he usually stands at the center top of the room for more effect on the students. The students have to use two-person desks; however, sometimes only one person sits and uses it. The text in class is mainly written with the high-level language, high-level just means above machine code which is the ones and zeros that computers can understand, called java.
Some of the code that I have written for my teacher to analysis for correctness is shown in figure 1 on page 8 of this essay. It is a program that outputs, displays on screen of computer, a list of my favorite movies. It starts with outputting my favorite movie first Mr. Nobody and goes in chronological order until it gets to my fifth favorite movie anonymous. The person I interviewed was a bit detached but willing to answer some of my questions.
The questions go as follows: • What is the most important way we communicate in and about the class? • Why is coding important in the class? In what way, do you find coding important in you live? The person I interview is named Joshua Grice. Joshua replied, “The most important way we communicate in the class is a website called e-courseware because it is where we post our assignments; it is an important way to understand the computer science concepts; and because I want to work with computer hardware, I need to understand basic computer science concepts in order to use the hardware to its fullest. ” Analysis For the analysis part of the essay, my main goal is to answer two of my research questions.
The first being: What would happen if the class used another programming language? And the second: What would happen if we had a different teacher? For the answer to the first research question, I believe the class would be quite similar in the general rather than in the specific areas. This is because programming languages can do all the same things despite the syntax being different. So instead of talking about the similarities between different programming languages, I am only going to talk about the differences.
Of all the differences I have found, there seems to be three that really stick out. The first of the three would have to be the ease of learning. This is because some languages have more simplistic syntax than others. For example, Python code is known for its simplicity of syntax because most other programming languages have more lines of code to do the same thing Python does in one line. The second difference is how the Jargon is different between programming languages. Just like in spoken languages like English and Spanish, they have different terms for basically the same thing.
For example, java calls something a method while Python calls the very same thing a function. The third of the three is the wide spread uses of the programming language. If no one is using it, you should not have to learn it. Next for the second research questions answer, what would change if the teacher was different? If the teacher was different, then the way the class would be set up would obviously be different. So this would basically change two, three, four, five and six of Swales rules for defining a discourse community.
This change in teachers could even cause this community not to be a discourse community anymore. This is because every teacher learns a subject differently. Furthermore, if one teacher learns how to code one way and another teacher learns how to code another, it just has to have an effect on the way they find best to teach the students in their class. In conclusion, the class comp. 1900 is a discourse community. This is because it follows all of the rules swales presents in his article contained in the book “writing about writing. ” The research questions are answered and the interpretation has been shown.