When the Web Does Your Coursework

In my software engineering class, at one point they have to refactor their command line app (in Python) from handling all argument handling by hand given nothing but a list derived from the invocation string to using the built in library argparse. They then have to write an essay comparing the two and providing a technical recommendation. It’s a great set of interlocking coursework (and lectures).

Kyle Purdon has a really nice blog post comparing Python command line libraries. (There are others!) Of course, it’s not exactly my essay assignment because I saw Kyle’s post (and others like it) and was worried about confusion and academic malpractice. But perhaps I overthought it? Maybe I could find a library not covered and ask them to extend the analysis?

Most of my students, I’m guessing, don’t look for stuff like this anyway.

Perhaps I should keep my essay the way it is, point them to Kyle’s post, and then have them revise it?

This is a very complex era to design coursework in.