Coding Commons puts students in command

Danielle Ransom

Students use computers for a large portion of their day, but they may not know what exactly makes them tick.

Last year, graduate students in the School of Information created Coding Commons, an organization that provides a collaborative workspace for students of any discipline who are interested in learning more about programming and the inner workings of computers. 

Kristin Sullivan. communications liaison for the Association for Information Science and Technology, said that students can learn many skills in Coding Commons.

“I think Coding Commons is effective in introducing UT students to various tech topics ranging from software design to programming to Wikipedia editing,” Sullivan said. 

Students can apply what they learn in the Coding Commons to any discipline. 

In last week’s session, students learned how to use the program command line, which connects the user with the internal workings of the computer. If they can program in command line, students can manipulate the mechanical and electrical components that make computers work, such as processors. They can also gain administrative authority to pull up many files and run applications such as the Internet and Facebook. 

Students that know these layers can use their computers for many applications, such as creating video games or designing websites.       

Althea Logan, co-director for the Association for Information Science and Technology, said she thought it was beneficial for students to know more about computers.

“I think it is really practical for most jobs that deal with computers to understand what’s under the hood,” Logan said. “It’s really helpful to understand how to use a computer for your needs.”

At their next session, Coding Commons will present an introduction to programming in the School of Information at 5 p.m..

Computer science junior Hannah Perry gives students insight on ways to understand a computer beyond the surface level. Perry is a member of CS Roadshow, a group teaches kindergarten through 12th grade students about computer science.

“It is essential to understand the layers that make up a computer in order to understand how to use computers beyond the user-interface level,” Perry said.