Harvard Banishes CS50 TF to New Haven

It was bound to happen sooner or later. The day has come when even Yalies themselves admit that they want to to take Harvard courses, and Harvard is responding by loaning their best and brightest to charitably compensate for the lesser institution’s department.

Well, perhaps it’s not as dramatic as that.

It was recently announced that Harvard and Yale have each approved a joint-institution venture for Computer Science 50 to be taught on both campuses. Yale students will have the opportunity to take CS50 under Harvard’s instruction beginning Fall 2015 via livestream and recorded lessons on demand, as confirmed at the final 2014 CS50 lecture last week.

Of course, no announcement of any weight would be complete without the familiar and well-received antics of Sam Clark from “On Harvard Time” leading a tour of “actual Yalies” into gothic-architecture-free Sanders Theater. After explaining that Sanders would be the site of the livestreamed lectures for the new course, Clark and the Yalies posed for a humorous impromptu selfie with speaker David J. Malan ’99 before continuing on with the tour off stage.

Along with shared lectures, there will also be sections, office hours, and support staff at Yale to help students learn introductory computer science in tandem with Harvard, according to Malan. But perhaps the most noteworthy detail of this new joint venture between ivy universities is the new role of Harvard’s Jason C. Hirschhorn '15.

Hirschhorn will be sent to work full-time at Yale, working on the ground to establish the program and oversee the work of the other teaching assistants on Yale’s end.

While many people would (rightly) feel less than ecstatic about being assigned to live and work in New Haven, Hirschhorn described the effort as “an amazing opportunity to bring together students from two universities in an immersive and shared educational experience.”

Much as we love to display the (many) ways Yale cannot (and will never) match up to Harvard, you can’t begrudge the incredible opportunity at Hirschhorn’s disposal. After graduation, the enthusiastic Harvard senior will have not only a full-time job as an instructor, but also the chance to engage in work relevant to his thesis and interests.

“I'm very much looking forward to helping form a community and culture among students in New Haven that meets (and maybe even exceeds) the exceptional one that already exists for students in Cambridge,” Hirschhorn said.

While Yale reaching Harvard’s standard of excellence is highly unlikely, you have to give him props for his good attitude.

Godspeed, Hirschhorn. We wish you well.

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