John E. Darrow [
Student comments about the
Documenting Java and C++ courses
See also the Student
comments about the Java Programming courses.
Value to student
- I liked the fact that you repeatedly drilled us on the
information we learned. I will probably retain this information
better than from any other class I've taken at Sun. I'm actually
surprised to find out how easy it seems to document classes and
- I liked the direct focus of the class at what writers
"really" need to know to doc Java.
- The exercises were useful and reinforced concepts. I came in
knowing nothing about Java or documenting an API and feel like I
now can speak intelligently with a programmer and document an
- I liked the concentration on Java pattern recognition without
overburdening the student with Java code practices. Was exactly
what I needed.
- I like the fact that it distilled what we need to know to
document Java API.
- All doc people who will be involved in APIs should take it.
- I liked everything about the course. This was a most
enjoyable class. Like a good book--I don't want it to end.
Instructor did a very good job!!
- This is the best class I have taken at UCSC. I liked the
teacher's patient explanation to all levels of student. I now
know how to write a Java API from source code.
- My job prospects have definitely been improved. Object-
oriented programming knowledge is HOT.
- I now understand object-oriented thinking and terms.
Documenting C++ definitely opens up more job prospects in this
- I liked the focus on documenting, not programming. This
course will help in future projects at work. The course assumes
no programming experience (good), but does (and should) assume
some tech writing experience, though it's not absolutely
- I used the knowledge from this course on the job to get
clearer answers from software developers after the first night of
class, and I have very little programming experience. It got
better from there.
- I would recommend this course to colleagues if new to C++.
- I liked its immediate real world application to my job.
- A background in programming was not needed to understand the
course material and the instructor focussed on information
directly relevant in the real world.
- I'd highly recommend the class.
- The course was directed at the intended audience.
- Exactly what it said it was and what I needed. I really
- Now I understand exactly what our engineers are talking about
when they mention "classes," "instantiate," "methods," "Vectors,"
etc. I liked that there was no homework.
- What I liked were the materials, the instructor style, and
the fact that I learned more in 3 days than I learned in months
in other classes!
- It had an amazing amount of depth for a three-day course.
explained clearly and simply.
- This is the second class I've taken with John. These two
classes not only prepared me for documenting programs but have
convinced me I can learn programming.
- Exactly what tech writers need to know in looking at Java
code. The best tech writing class I've taken!
- Enjoyed the logical flow of the material, relaxed
presentation and how specifically targetted the material was--
just what we had to know--not lots of stuff that is cool
engineering but not pertinent. Thanks, John.
- I feel like I'm walking away with valuable knowledge which
will make me better at doing my job.
- I now feel confident about my ability to read a significant
portion of Java code.
- Good class. Fills a need for documenting I was unable to find
- I'm actually surprised to find out how easy it seems to
document classes and methods.
- What I liked was the fact that it was well geared to what
writers need to know.
- Relevant information.
- Worthwhile taking.
For all levels
- The materials are great: they're not something too technical
for me to understand. I always think code is some kind of
nightmare, but this class doesn't scare me off!
- Pace is appropriate for writers with little Java knowledge.
Lots of examples, lots of re-emphasis.
- This course is good for those with little or no programming
- The manual is very well organized and very helpful for note
taking and studying. I initially thought the course should be
longer, but now, at the end, I think the rapid immersion is a
good structure, especially for a non-techie beginner like me. I
am very glad I took this class. I am amazed at how much I have
learned and that I feel very encouraged to learn more both about
programming Java and documenting Java.
- I liked the in-class assignments to verify and validate
progress, and the homework assigments to expand upon in-class
- Liked the examples and discussion--good group interaction.
- The exercises were effective.
- I appreciate that it stayed task oriented and didn't get
bogged down in extraneous programming concepts that tech writers
don't need to understand. In that respect, it's a very efficient
- I liked the interactive nature of the course--doing in-class
exercises, both as a whole class and on own.
- I liked the chance to see the code and practice documenting it.
- What I liked most was the repetition. I walked out of class a
C++ documenting tech writer.
- I liked learning pattern recognition, making some sense of
- Liked learning how to read C++ code in order to write API
- I liked how he stressed pattern recognition.
- He made it interesting by having us work *lots* of examples
in class. It was also a good introduction to Java concepts as
well as documentation.
- Excellent materials for in class and later reference.
- I like the student notebook.
- I liked the way the course was organized--from overview to
- I liked the exercises that reinforced what was being taught
and the light-hearted "you-can-do-this" attitude of the
- I liked that all questions were valid and answered.
- I like the instructor's good humor, willingness to answer
questions, review materials, making sure we understand materials.
- John makes learning fun and easy. The relaxed atmosphere of
the class made it a joy to attend.
- Great examples, encouraging atmosphere, well-established
- I just have to commend you on the class - it was a very
positive learning experience. You kept it low key so that it
wasn't another stress factor for me. It was really pleasant to go
to class. You repeated the important factors as much as possible,
so that (I think) people learned a lot subliminally just by being
there. Most important to me was the fact that you "kept your
audience in mind" - that is, you didn't forget that we all have
demanding jobs, so you didn't overwhelm us with homework.
- Instructor was very friendly, patient and willing to help.
- I liked the relaxed atmosphere of the class--good instructor.
- The instructor was both entertaining and effective--it was
clear what he expected, and he was very helpful to those with
- I appreciate John's effort to make such a lame subject fun
and practical. Great white board examples.
- John pulls for all his students. He makes students
comfortable with the material in a relaxed atmosphere.
- Liked the instructor's delight when the material was learned.
Liked the instructor's reassurances and encouragement and email
- I appreciated John's positive attitude, willingness to stop
and answer questions and clarify.
- I liked the instructor's willingness to discuss issues.
- Fun. Didn't make coding seem threatening at all.
- Instructor is extremely patient and goes over material as
often as needed.
- Instructor was patient and helpful in trying to help students
understand subject matter. Good final.
- I liked the personal interaction with the instructor.
- I liked the instructor's humor (made the class interesting)
and willingness to answer/encourage questions.
- Fun atmosphere; instructor put us at ease and was very
supportive of our learning. He was responsive to questions, which
helped clarify difficult concepts. He has a genuine interest in
- What I liked most was the humor.
- Fun; interesting; thorough; useful information.
- I most enjoyed the real examples; humor of instructor.
- Instructor was very responsive to questions and homework
assignments. Gave thorough explanations.
- He was exceedingly helpful and patient with beginners such as
Instructor's knowledge, teaching skill
Student comments about the
Java Programming courses
- Instructor very helpful, has good interaction with class and
knows his stuff.
- Instructor was very knowledgeable about the information!
- I found John to be a great instructor, patient, thorough,
flexible and very knowledgeable. His programming background is
- John was patient and explained complex concepts well without
belaboring the programming aspects.
- I liked the pace and John's diligence in explaining difficult
concepts. Great structure for introducing Java and lots more.
- The instructor is what made the material clear and interesting.
- The instructor explained things clearly and has a good
knowledge of what a technical writer needs to know for basic
documentation of C++. The way he prepares information for the
students is terrific.
- The teacher has a comprehensive knowledge of the subject and
is an effective communicator. I liked everything.
- Very effective instructional style, kept moving, but had time
- Liked the instructor's presentation style and follow-up
- Teacher was well organized and informed. Relaxed but moved
things along and engaged students effectively.
- Very clear and concise. The instructor made complex topics
- Highly effective in relating the Java concepts needed for a
- John explained complex ideas clearly and with practical
examples. He was able to take the "mystery" out of some technical
- John did a great job of focusing the course and moving it
along. He kept us busy, focused, and has a comprehensive grasp of
the materials and the audience. His sense of humor was enjoyable
- Great instructor. Give him a raise.
- It was challenging, packed with information and very well
presented. The instructor is very knowledgeable about both
documentation requirements and developer practices.
- Liked exercises and instructor's ability to answer questions.
- I liked the instructor's ability to make concepts and
procedures clear, his ability to respond to questions, and his
understanding of the real world work environment.
- John understands programming in Java and documenting it. It
helped that he could field a wide breadth of questions.
See also the Student comments about the Doc'g
Java and Doc'g C++ courses.
Value to student
- Good presentation and very effective in suggestions given to
- Clear, to the point. Exercises and examples very relevant,
short. Examples very efficient; didn't get bogged down in
- The hands on exercises were very useful in demonstrating
concepts introduced in the class.
- Lots of hands-on, actual programming.
- A lot of hands-on work. The topics covered give me a good
base to start using Java.
- I liked that it was hands on for a programming class. The
only way to really learn is to do. John gave some great examples.
- Workshops were extremely useful for seeing if we understood
the concepts. Like the large time blocks given to get exercise
completed, especially if new to object-oriented concepts.
- I liked that there were lots of exercises and less lecture.
Gradually let us research problems on our own.
Instructor's knowledge, teaching skill
- Very helpful and knowledgable.
- The instructor was very knowledgable and approachable on the
- He is a great instructor. His teaching style never made me
sleep in class. His exercises kept us involved and we learned
more doing those exercises. He is great in explaining, pointing
out problems and letting the student solve the problem.