About CompSci superbasics

This little website came about in response to some beginner Computer Science students arriving with little or no experience of using their computers on a system level. Some come to college already having hacked their own distro of Ubuntu, but others might never have typed a command in their lives. That’s OK: they didn’t need to. Until now.

Specifically, using browser-based learning means some competent autodidacts have learned to program entirely on the web (I’m looking at you CodeSkulptor). Nothing wrong with this — on the contrary, it’s amazing — but it means assumptions colleges make about students’ tech exposure are much less reliable than they used to be.

The problem was exacerbated by 2020’s Covid lockdowns: if students are not physically in the labs seeing what other people are doing, some of this practical knowledge is even harder to acquire, especially if they do not (yet) have the vocabulary to search for it.

So here’s somewhere we can give a student a link to if they are unfamiliar with some of the basics that some courses take as a baseline.

Statue of Erinna at Royal Holloway

CompSci superbasics was originally built for the Foundation Programming (python) course run by the department of Computer Science at Royal Holloway, University of London. It went live January 2021.

This is a Jekyll website (designed to run nicely on GitHub pages) — the whole repo is available under the MIT license.

It’s currently a work in progress and maintained as a Beholder project. More topics coming as time allows.

Photo of Erinna having dropped her coffee in Founder’s North Quad, Royal Holloway, taken on a snowy day in 2008.