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Last year in the course Computer Networking, the teacher invented a relatively creative course lab to replace the legacy Wireshark labs from UMass, to let us write programs implementing some networking algorithms. Despite the lab idea itself being new and innovative1, everything after that was a complete joke.

The teacher told us, in the class that he announced this new lab, that he had instructed the TAs to provide lab docs and test cases "as soon as possible". In the next two weeks, fellow students had asked TAs in the group chat2 about ETA of the lab document, which should convey what to do and how to grade. The TAs did not even respond. The teacher, during this period, once told in a casual tone "Have they (TAs) provided the tests (test cases)? I'll ask them to expedite.", but didn't say anything more about that. It was only after two weeks of waiting, during which the teacher did not assign any other homework or lab, that the TAs published their first version of the document. Needless to say, it was plain horrible. A structure (struct in the C language) contained several fields of no clear purpose while lacking obviously required fields (e.g. length for a message). The TAs "went dead" for another week, forcing us to continue to ask for clarifications before they "were resurrected". A revised version of the document only introduced extra absurdity, and no one knew when the TAs were going to publish the test cases as promised.

During the next week after the revised document, I, according to my own understanding of the lab description, wrote a demo program, a starter framework wrapping up all parts the algorithm uses, and a set of test cases built on top of the framework, as well as documentations for these things. Only an hour after I turned my GitHub repository to public, one of the TAs contacted me expressing the interest in using my framework, test suite and documentation as official materials for the course, which I happily accepted. It wasn't hard to imagine that the TAs went dead again for a few more weeks, however, while I answered questions and provided support about the lab for fellow students.

Now I'm trying to populate my CV to include this experience as a demonstration of my productivity when the teacher and all TAs played dead. It's unmistakable that I should be professional on this (my CV), but I found it hard to word and describe this whole thing while avoiding being too disparaging or derogatory to the teacher and the TAs. I wonder if this is even possible as I want to show how I stood out in the disaster.


(Not directly related to my question)

This very professor was already known for misconduct as a PhD supervisor, and this teaching incident only added to his infamy, which I only learned after the course concluded, from the section for sharing experiences of our school BBS.

Footnotes:

  1. The lab is "innovative" at least compared to the WS labs that our CS department has employed for several years.
  2. It's a common practice in my area that group chats are used for communication and is considered a formal method.
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    There is far too much in this quesiton. Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 21:22
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    @AzorAhai-him- Can you elaborate a bit on "far too much"?
    – iBug
    Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 21:22
  • 1
    Too much domain-specific detail Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 21:23

2 Answers 2

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You can talk about what you've done that is positive, but don't talk about the failings of anyone else.

Sounds like you have a public GitHub with something you're proud of. Feel free to link to that and explain how this work demonstrates your readiness for whatever you are applying for. Keep the rants about a course you took between you and sympathetic friends.

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  • One predicament is the background story (the incompetence of the teaching authority) is highly supportive in this case, as both perceived from feedbacks from peers and felt from my own.
    – iBug
    Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 21:28
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    @iBug Maybe it feels that way to you, but it isn't likely to sound like a positive about you to someone else.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 21:29
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    To echo Bryan, people who want to educate you don't really want to hear how poorly you thought of earlier educations, no matter how right you are. Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 21:30
  • I see what it means. Thank you for your quick response, Bryan and Azor.
    – iBug
    Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 21:30
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During the course Computer Networking 123 you developed on your own an opensource framework [link], test suite [link] and documentation [link] for the course materials, that were more suited than the originally provided materials, to the point the course instructors adopted them -with your permission- as official materials for this course.

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