I am teaching Unix II this term. Unix II: The Sequel.

And Im teaching it to the same class who were so stubbornly quiet last term. I tried this:

Having told them only a little about the unix file system and how it works, I pulled a floppy out of my pocket in the lab.
“This floppy is formatted with the Unix file system”, I told them, “so you can’t read it in a Windows PC. It contains a file with the instructions for this lab.”
Then I walked over to the server on which they themselves installed RedHat 9 in last week’s lab, and put it in the floppy drive. Then I walked out of the room.

OK I came back a few minutes later and they had migrated from their seats to a clump aroun the server and were actually talking about the problem and, gasp, even trying things out. (like cat < /dev/fd0 which, though wrong, is the right kind of thinking. If you're reading this wondering **what the hell?**, just trust me, its the right kind of thinking)

With a little help and a lot of patience they managed to get on pretty well with my lab. They managed to mount the floppy, read the file and copy it onto the hard disk. The file told them to do the latter and then reformat the floppy as a MS/DOS disk (using Unix commands) and copy the file back on to the floppy. I think the floppy was formatted by the end of the two hours, but they were tired by then and had forgotten how to copyfiles. The lab ends when we **can** read the file on a Windows PC.

All this despite being told, recently to "teach them to pass the exams, not to think". I'm not in the best mood lately and neither in the best of health as my head-col is moving to my chest.

But the weather's nice 🙁

Comments are closed.