Being a Course Rep for a year has made me realise more that people have no idea about reading lists or if they do, they don’t bother to read the books. The problem is that most students don’t bother listening in lectures if they find the lecturer boring, so they don’t take in any of the information that the lecturer is trying to put across to us. Then when it comes to exams, we all have to group together because one or two of us bothered to listen and take notes.
Also, when it comes to the examination period, people check the reading list and go and check out the books in the library, and with the limited number of books that the library can offer, it makes it very difficult to try and revise.
So, I would recommend that any new students starting computer science at the University of Hull (even though this may apply across all universities) purchase at least some of the books on reading lists so that you don’t hit these problems. Lectures give you the basics to get a pass, and it requires that extra bit of effort to do work outside of just sitting in a theatre listening to get the higher grades.
I would also like to say that although it’s great to buy your books brand new, there are probably many students currently studying who are willing to sell their books to the previous year group.
I’m not bigging up Rob Miles, but if he will be carrying on his XNA module for first years, it would be very useful to get his book. I was fortunate enough to get a copy from the man himself, and there is a lot in there that he doesn’t teach during lectures as it is more advanced, most of which I didn’t know about and have had fun playing around with.
Unfortunately, it seems that XNA is becoming a dead end and Microsoft are attempting to bring everything together with DirectX as with the Windows Phone 8 SDK, you are able to create a Direct3D XAML application in C#. Although this makes sense as you can also do this for Windows 8, and you can’t develop for XNA even if there are tools which allow you to sort of dev for XNA (Windows 8).
But besides that, it is great to have a physical book to turn to for reference as there is content in books that you may not find on the internet. For new CS students, don’t do what many before you have. Look at the reading lists and consider purchasing some of the books. They may even come in handy later on in your uni career other than just for your first year.