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能同时成为哈佛和耶鲁最受学生欢迎的课程,这门课有啥不一样?

葛继甫 2019年09月26日

学生们甚至说,上这门课已经成为一种生活方式。

面对去年成为哈佛大学(Harvard)最流行课程的CS50,守旧派人士可能会目瞪口呆。这是一门入门的计算机科学课,主讲人是酷爱牛仔裤和黑色T恤的年轻教授大卫·马伦。他的课程仿佛精心打磨的快节奏演出,在大量运用道具和展示的同时调动学生积极参与。而学生不必亲身出席。讲课以多机位拍摄,制作品质堪比商业电视剧,大部分学生都选择在网上观看。此外,它不仅是哈佛大学排名第一的课程,还同时可供耶鲁大学(Yale)的学生选择,也由马伦执教。在这两家充满竞争关系的大学同时存在的318年里,这显然还是第一次。

不过,CS50绝非为被宠坏的学生提供的简化版抚慰课程,而是在当今技术和社交环境下为如何教授学科所树立的一个精心设计的典型。它的要求极高,到了学期中期,大部分学生每周会用超过12个小时解答问题集。如果他们需要帮助,十余位助教都能提供每周10小时的个人指导,这比传统课程要多得多。

在大一时选择CS50课程的耶鲁大学大三学生艾米丽·舒斯海姆表示:“这门课提供的支持太多了,社交性也很强。”其他学生将它称为一种现象、一种奇景、一种时尚和一种生活方式。

CS50还支持在EdX教育平台上免费学习,目前已有超过100万学生参与了该课程。舒斯海姆接受《财富》采访时表示,她上大学时本计划主修经济学,甚至没有“真正打算”选择一门计算机科学课。然而,她现在的专业是计算机科学和经济学。今年秋天,她就要成为CS50的助教了。(财富中文网)

本文的另一个版本登载于《财富》2019年9月刊,标题为“火爆现象”。

译者:严匡正

Traditionalists may look aghast at CS50, Harvard’s introductory computer science course, which last year became the school’s most popular course of any kind. It’s taught by a young professor in jeans and a black T-shirt, David Malan, whose lectures are highly polished, fast-paced performances filled with props, demonstrations, and student involvement. Students aren’t required to attend, though; lectures are recorded in a slick, multi-camera format with production values that rival commercial TV, and most students watch them online. In addition to being Harvard’s No. 1 course, it’s offered simultaneously at Yale, with Malan teaching, an arrangement apparently unprecedented in the rival schools’ 318-year coexistence.

But far from being a dumbed-down sop to spoiled students, CS50 is a carefully crafted model of how to teach any subject in today’s technological and social environment. It’s extraordinarily demanding; by mid-semester, most students are spending over 12 hours a week on problem sets. If they need help, dozens of teaching assistants are available for in-person assistance 10 hours a week, far more than in traditional courses.

“There’s so much support,” says Emily Schussheim, a Yale junior who took CS50 as a freshman. “It’s also really social.” Other students have called it a phenomenon, a spectacle, a cult, and a lifestyle.

CS50 is available for free on the EdX education platform, where it has been taken by over a million students. Schussheim tells Fortune she came to college planning to major in economics, with “no real intentions” of ever taking a computer science course. Now her major is computer science and economics, and this fall she’s a teaching assistant in CS50.

A version of this article appears in the September 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline "A Crimson Phenomenon."

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