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After Course Resources - do we publish sample answers. Example from Java Exceptions module.

At the end of each module on our courses, there's an exercise for the delegates. It lets them make use of many of the elements they've learned about to consolidate their knowledge. And it helps me evaluate, as they work through the exercise, how they are progressing; I can "mop up" any major elements of the module just taught which they would like me to go into deeper, or explain from another angle. Some delegates complete exercises much faster than others - they may be naturally quicker (some folks are), but it's more likely that they'll be quicker because they already have prior experience in a related subjects. So many of our chapters have additional exercises at the end that provide a deeper opportunity to explore for the more advanced people.

Should we publish the answers in the notes? Well - firstly the word "the" is wrong. There isn't just one answer to most programming jobs - even short exercises, so we could do no better that provide "an" answer. So I would be worried about giving something that the print would give the aura of being near perfect. And I would also be concerned at the too-tempting ease with which people could look down or turn the page too early - when a little bit of thought would gain them rather more than the cop-out of copying. So - no - there aren't answers in the notes that delegates use to accompany the course.

But ... delegates want to look back at the courses they attended, and see sample answers. The delegates who only complete the first exercise in a section want to learn a little from the second exercise (in just a few minutes) by looking at a sample answer. And I want to have pre-written answers to hand so that I can review the question, and solution(s) before we move on to the next module. So we have the sample answers on our web site, indexed module by module, and delegates used to how to look them up during and after the course. We're almost alwasy on line during courses these days - ALWAYS at Well House Manor, and usually through mobile broadband when running a private course at your office. And I carry a full backup / development copy of our website with me so that we can look stuff like the examples up even if we're out of Internet range / not allowed to use it on a secure site.

How to find the source of an example that's in the notes from a course you attended

Training Manual - Well House Consultants Java Course1. Look at the top of the page in the notes ... and you'll find the module number. That's a letter followed by a three digit number - and I'm going to take the Java Exceptions module as an example - it's J712.

2. Go to the page named from the module in our resources directory - so that's
    http://www.wellho.net/resources/J712.html
in my example.

3. In the notes, you'll find a sample of how each program runs and that will include the program name. You'll find the resources lists out all of the blog articles on the subject in question, then below that list you'll find each of the source and sample (and usually data ...) files by name, and with a one line title too. Simply follow the link to the source!

Our notes, and the source, remains our copyright. However, you are welcome to cut and past examples to see how they function, and to make use of what you learn from them in your work - we exist to teach you, and to help you move forward, after all. There are just two "proviso"s to this:

a) It is up to YOU to ensure that a sample from our web site shows and does what you need - they come without any form of warranty, and indeed many of them show examples which the notes will tell you are not ideal solutions. After all, we have to provide examples in early chapters which make use of a very limited subset of what a language can do, which makes for very clunky code. Input validation is often lacking too, as this could double or treble the size of a piece of code, turning it from a short demonstration of the key points into a longwinded example in which you couldn't see the wood for the trees.

b) We specifically require, within the granting of a very liberal set of reuse rules, that you do NOT use our material for teaching yourself, without out prior written (emailed OK!) permission. The examples and course notes are our livelyhood, we have a huge investment in them, and we ask that you respect that ... and we're happy to present the course almost anywhere in the world - see [here] for country by country details. If you're a past delegate and want to give a quick presentation within your company and use a handful of our examples - please ask. I'll almost certainly be delighted to grant permission!

How to find the sample answers

Java Course1. and 2. - same steps as above

3. The question in the notes will usually show you an example of the sort of results you're being asked to acheive, and that will include the program name ... the sample answer will be included within the list of examples, below the list of associated blog articles.

Finding other related examples, articles, etc

The resource index page for each module lists the technical articles, blog entries, examples (and even in some case pictures) that support the module. And in the right hand column, you'll also find a listing of other modukles on the same subject so that you can move forward and backward through the 'book'. In front of J712 - Exceptions in Java - you'll find J711 - Java in the Web Page and behind it you'll find J713 - More input and output

When you are displaying an individual sample from the notes, you'll see that all the other examples in the same section are listed down the right hand side so that you can move around easily, and each example also has a link back to any technical article(s) that link to it, so that you can find further documentation.

Where you're reading a technical article in the archive (that's where most people find them!), you'll find that there's a list of the modules that we feel they are relevant to after the main text of the article, with links to the index of that module, and also to other technical article in that module.

Our navigation scheme's not perfect - in fact, you'll often find that a Google search, limited to our site, will work wonders for you:
Search Google for [add keyword please]:

Our own search box may help you too - that uses a context based algorithm too - but (as I write) the Google folks have something that's so much better and you should make use of it. Their technology is licensable too - and it's something for us to consider using in the future.

But I'm not a past delegate - can I access / use your resources?

Yes - to a very great extent you can. And indeed you are welcome to do so. You'll not have the printed materials / training notes available to link the articles and materials together into a complete course, but we'll be delighted if our resources help you answer those questions that you've found so difficult to resolve. And - who knows - if you find our answers helpful, you may decide that you would benefit from attending a full public course or having us run a course at your office for you and/or your colleagues.

And Finally

Typical Resource PageTo complete my example, here's a guide to the examples on "Java Exceptions" which inspired this article and explanation ...

wadswick.java is an example that fails when you try to run it - it's designed to show you what goes wrong if you don't consider / catch exceptions. neston.java is the same program, but with additional code added to fix the problems illustrated by wadswick.java. You can get the names of both of these fles from our training notes. We have also provided on the web site the following extra source files - card_7.java which is an interface definition to provide commonallity to two other classes - playing_card_7.java and suspect_card_7.java. If you read the notes, or the source code of Neston / Wadswick, you'll find the calls to / need for these other classes.

At the end of the module, the exercise asks you to take a piece of code that will only work if you give it the sort of data it expects (an integer typed at the keyboard) and will crash otherwise ... the code is called E1.java - and asks you to complete it. There's also that sample answer that I told you about - it's [here] in the same directory.

Delegates on courses will - by this time - have become very familiar with our WellHouseInput class which is used on the first few days of our Java Courses; it provides easy user input for some of the earlier examples and exercies, celebrating Java's encapsulation ability to hide some of the more difficult things within easy to call classes and methods. Rather than repeat the WellHouseInput.java file withing many different directories on our server (repetition would make for duplicated maintainance!), delegates will know all about it already - and if you're not a delegate you can get it [here].

The last two examples on the web site in J712 don't come from the notes at all - they're an extra example that I wrote during a course, and they showed sufficient new features to be worthy of being added. They're Keira.java which includes the use of your own class of exception, multiple exception handlers on a single try, and a finally block - things which are only covered in passing in the notes - and Jane.java which is the file in which we show you how to define your own exception. Of course - just dropping extra examples here, unannounced, would be something of a waste of resource, rather like hiring a phone line and offering anyone who calls it a free ticket to the new Harry Potter ... but then not publicising the line. So they're indexed, and they're listed by title, and they're commented about on the blog too. And when we revise the notes in due course, the new examples might appear there is they are mainstream.

As I write the article - that's all the examples that I've got on the web site in the Java Excpetion area. But that's not to say it will stay that way - as we run more courses (next public Java course - February 2011) more examples get written, and a selected few that are significant get added in. So - watch this space.





Link to Java Exceptions module index - [here]
Full list of modules - [here]
Link to Java courses - [here]

Illustrations - delegates on last week's Java course. Did I tell you that our course manuals are now full colour?
(written 2010-11-13)

 
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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