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Professor for a Day

Posted by bleonard on September 20, 2005 at 4:45 PM PDT

Last month at LinuxWorld San Francisco I had the good fortune to meet Leigh Jin - Assistant Professor of Information Systems at San Francisco State University. I say good fortune because I got to do something I love to do, which is speak to university students. You see, I hope my last job title in life is also "Professor".

Anyhow, I believe Professor Jin's opening line to me was: "I've been hearing good things about NetBeans lately". Which, of course, is no surprise to me anymore. Leigh then followed with: "I'm considering using it to teach my Java courses this semester". Great!

As a show of support, I offered to come and give the professor's class an overview of the IDE. All 3 of Leigh's Java classes meet on Tuesdays, so we picked the 6th of September for my presentations.

When I arrived on the 6th, it was evident Leigh had been spending some time with NetBeans, my first clue being the NetBeans Field Guide sitting on her desk. She had also worked her way through the Quick Start Guides linked to from our Welcome Screen.

As I thought about my audience and put together the presentation, I ended up talking about the history of Java, Sun and Free Open Source Software as well as NetBeans. It was strange to be in front of an audience that had never heard of James Gosling, or who's understanding of an IDE was the hard drive interface.

From what I hear, the presentation was well received. I believe the NetBeans feature that resonated most with the students was developer collaboration. Hopefully by now most of them have set up their free accounts and are collaborating with one another to foster their understanding of the language.

The presentation to SFSU has spawned a similar presentation at San Jose State University in early October. And hopefully that presentation will lead to others. However, now that word of this presentation has hit the blogoshpere, let me know if you'd be interested in having me come to your school as well. I enjoy getting to play professor for a day.

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