Coding Comradery

students discuss experiences with BV computer science classes

Coding Comradery

Stephanie Kontopanos, Web Editor

Sophomore Arjun Joshi is currently taking the Virtual Honors Java Programming course, in which he learns the Java coding language and applies it to other assignments.

The class typically retains a consistent structure, part of which includes coding through a browser website instead of using a particular software.

“We start class with Canvas assignments, like a discussion board,” Joshi said. “[Then], we go to vocab and slides so we have a general understanding of the concept we are doing. Then we go to codeHS and start programming. After that we do a closer.”

For Joshi, the process of coding itself is the most interesting part of the class.

“It’s fun to see the work you put in and seeing it execute correctly,” Joshi said. “Even if it’s wrong, it still allows you to use brain power in order to figure it out.”

Part of what makes the class so enjoyable is also the instructor, Joshi said.

“[TJ] Slade is a great teacher,” Joshi said. “He is good at teaching the class, and he’s also nice.”

Besides learning Java, Joshi learned a variety of skills that can be applied outside of coding, such as how to work with other people.

“When you’re coding, you have a lot of problems — you’re generally not able to get through those problems by yourself,” Joshi said. “You have to have people help you.”

Occasionally, students also have to rely on their problem-solving skills.

“[If] you don’t have anyone who can help you, you have to figure out what’s wrong,” Joshi said.

After this class, Joshi hopes to continue taking more programming courses.

“I’m planning on taking AP Computer Science A and AP Computer Science Principles later on — probably my end of sophomore year and junior year,” Joshi said. “Apparently we only go over [about] half the units of Java that are available during the Honors Java unit, so I’m looking forward to learning the rest of it.”

Joshi wishes BV had addition classes that allowed him to learn more coding languages, such as Python and C Sharp.

“I know Java was a pretty good starting point,” Joshi said. “Computer science being one of the most top-picked career choices. It’s good to have a basic understanding of computer science before going into college.”

This semester, junior James Pressdee is enrolled in the virtual Computer Applications course, which is mostly centered around understanding the Microsoft applications.

“Right now we’re in our Word unit,” Pressdee said. “We’ve also done PowerPoints, and we do typing practice on the side. I think later we’re doing Excel.”

During class, the teacher, Allison Gossick from Blue Valley North, prepares the class for the homework.

“In class, she does examples of the homework,” Pressdee said. “[The homework is things] like making tables in Microsoft Word. We have to make and format them.”

For Pressdee, the most interesting assignment was creating an interactive Jeopardy PowerPoint.

“You could click on what question you wanted [with] the category and the number,” Pressdee said.

Besides learning how to use the Microsoft applications, students also prepare for future jobs.

“We’ve done some business etiquette — like how to write a professional letter and all the formatting,” Pressdee said. “The most general skill [we’ve learned] is organizing anything you make or submit, keeping everything neat and following guidelines.”

Like others, Pressdee believes these courses are beneficial in a digital age.

“I think [Computer Science classes] are important because everything we do in the world now uses computers,” Pressdee said. “If you don’t know how to use one you’re at an instant disadvantage.”

Junior Nemo Zhang is currently enrolled in the Web Design class, which mixes Computer Science with art and design.

“We do a lot of coding and HTML in that class and [learn] how to design websites,” Zhang said.

The coursework is done primarily through two programs.

“The classwork and homework are mostly done through a website called codeHS, where we just watch videos and then practice coding,” Zhang said. “We use Notepad++ to create websites.”

The course is taught by Dwight Williams, who is in his eighth year teaching at BV.

“He is a really nice teacher,” Zhang said. “He’s really easy to get along with.”

The school-issued devices make computer science classes more valuable.

“Teachers and students all use MacBooks,” Zhang said. “It’s really important to know how to navigate through the computer and use it properly.”

Besides allowing students to make better use of their MacBooks, the computer courses have long-term benefits.

“Learning coding and how to use HTML is important for future jobs,” Zhang said.