Fourteen students withdrew from Applied Mathematics 110. "Introduction to Computer Programming" last Monday, following the Administrative Board's unusual decision to extend the deadline for withdrawal from the course by three weeks. Jay A. Halfond, associate registrar, said yesterday.
The Ad Board extension came after weeks of student complaints that technical difficulties and a lack of computer space made the course excessively difficult Enrollment in the class has now dropped to 142.
The unforseen computer problems arose from a decision to teach the course in a more advanced computer language than had been used in the past. Nathan Goodman assistant professor of Computer Science and the head instructor of AM 110 said yesterday. He added that it was "very responsible" of the Ad Board to extend the deadline.
The students who withdrew are "certainly people who are not doing well" in the course, Goodmkan said.
Students in the course have expressed worry that the withdrawals will unfairly weight the course's grading curve. But section leaders have said they will take such considerations into account when grading.
This year's computer difficulties should not reappear next year because a lower-level language, similar to those used in past AM 110 courses, will be used, said Goodman, who will not be teaching the course next year.
But Goodman added that using a lower level language would diminish the quality of the course, and make it "old-fashioned."
"I think it's a damn shame," Allan B Langerman '85, a teaching fellow for AM 110 agreed yesterday, adding that using a less advanced language would be "cutting back the goals of the course."
Thomas E. Cheatham, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, who will teach AM 110 next year according to Goodman, could not be reached for comment.