JetBrains: Teach with pleasure!

May 8th, 2010 by Xerxes Leave a reply »

Whenever i’m teaching my class, my laptop is connected to the projector and i’m running through an example on the screen, I make a conscious effort to NOT use ReSharper because its refactorings do so much and the keystrokes are so fast that my students are unable to keep up with the content i’m presenting. Remember in most cases, these are students who don’t know how to create a property or a field or variable, so my “Extract Field” refactor just completely loses them. Just because I make a conscious effort not to however, doesn’t mean I subconsciously make the mistake every now and then. And almost every time I make the mistake I have to explain what just happened, what the tool was, and what it did for me. Most classes just nod their head and placate me so that we don’t run overtime (again). Keep the loud, talky-talky man happy and we might all get out before 10pm…

Except this semester. For the first time, I had students come up after the class and ask me about ReSharper, and what it did. I gave them a 5 minute whirl-wind tour of the tool, showing them the extract field/variable/method refactorings, move file refactoring, live templates and the integrated unit-testing. It seemed like they were hooked. In the weeks following, I was inspecting code they were writing on their personal computers, and noticed the ReSharper menu in the VS toolbar. Seemed like a victory! One step closer to bridging the gap between academia and industry.

This got me thinking about ways I could further motivate my students to put more effort into this subject, and had an idea of getting in touch with JetBrains to see if they’d be interested in partnering by providing a licence for ReSharper to give away to the student who performs best in the subject. The idea would be for me to dedicate 10-15 minutes at the start of my lesson to actually explain the tool to the class, why it’s important for them to use this particular tool and give them the demo to blow their metaphorical pants off. This all started to brew about 2 months ago…

Well as of last night, the first part of my plan fell into place. After long discussions with JetBrains, I’m pleased to say they’re happy to award a personal edition licence of ReSharper for C# to the best student in the class, for each semester as an ongoing initiative! I really wasn’t expecting such a committed outcome from them, but thoroughly pleased with the result!

Now all I have to do is evangelise…I figure that the students who get the best marks are the ones who have put genuine care and effort into the project, and one of them deserves to be rewarded with a tool which makes them more productive and helps them enjoy what they do more.

Just wanted to shout-out here to anyone who reads this blog and hasn’t used ReSharper – you really are missing out.

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2 comments

  1. That’s a nice story and it’s great that the Jetbrains guys are supporting students :)

  2. Troy Hunt says:

    Great story, I wish the open minded approach to self-improvement and learning how to use productivity tools like R# was as prevalent in the professional world!