Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No girl power at comp sci class

On Monday nights, it's 17 vs. 2 in my computer applications class at Montgomery College. If you count Bill, 18 vs. 2.

I'm taking a night class to learn Adobe Flash, a computer program that creates flash animations for the web. (When you see a message on your computer that asks you to install Macromedia Flash Player, you're trying to view a file that I am learning how to create). I'm learning along with one other girl and 17 guys; Bill Humphrey is our teacher.

I expected a gender gap, but not this wide - after all, my class isn't advanced computer programming, it's an instructional course on a program that's becoming increasingly widespread.

According to a recent AP story, however, the programs themselves might be at the root of the discrepancy: new research suggests that they aren't designed with female thought processes in mind.

What this class has taught me in just two weeks is that those processes truly are different.

Right down to naming our files, I've taken a completely different approach to my exercises than my male counterparts. (I'm sure they enjoy glancing over at my screen to see short animations of dancing teddy bears and the like, but I could do without the World of Warcraft on theirs, so we're even.)

Seriously, though - should we be working towards a middle ground, or are separate programs for separate genders worth considering?

-JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor

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