Unicode in the Curriculum?

Andre Schappo A.Schappo at lboro.ac.uk
Wed Dec 30 10:16:09 CST 2015

A few months ago I asked a class of 140+ first year Computer Science programme and Joint programme students -

Who has heard of Unicode?

about 20% of the students raised their hands.

then I quickly followed it with the question

…and who understands Unicode?

Every single student whose hand was raised put it down.

Some of these students were really experienced programmers, having programmed from an early age.

Many times over the years I have informally asked students studying in the UK (1st, 2nd, 3rd year undergrad, MSc, PhD, home students, international students) what they know of Unicode and the vast majority of the time they know nothing or next to nothing.

The fundamental problem, as I see it, is that the teaching of Unicode is not on the curriculum of Schools, Colleges or Universities in the UK. IMHO, It should be!

I do wherever and whenever I can, incorporate Unicode in my teaching e.g. recently I gave an introductory lecture on Regular Expressions and in my examples I demonstrated, using Unicode text and patterns and not just ASCII.

One such example I used was — /^人+鸭人+$/

This regex is a reference to Hongkong and the visiting giant floating rubber duck��

My regex examples also include Emoji and Egyptian Hieroglyphs��

Does anyone on this list teach Unicode at an Educational Establishment, School, or College or University?

André Schappo

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