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-   -   Textbook suggestions after teaching with Alice this year... (http://www.alice.org/community/showthread.php?t=220)

Jeremy 04-24-2006 07:47 PM

Textbook suggestions after teaching with Alice this year...
 
We purchased a set of the Alice textbooks this year and had 8th 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students complete assignments. Here are my main suggestions:
[LIST=1][*]The CD should include mpg or quicktime movies of each problem. The book descriptions for students to read are too vague. I have to often fill in the exact specs of each problem. This can be fixed by including movie captures of each of the problems. I've done this with Camtasia, but that's timeconsuming and a general pain. Since the movie export feature is vaporware, the authors should add movies so that teachers don't have to. Students can just look at the movie when they have specific questions.[*]Content in each chapter should always have matching practice problems. There are many topics including in the chapters that don't have any matching practice problems. For example, the fog feature is discussed, but none of the practice problems require fog to be enabled.[/LIST]
I've made edits to this post after I reviewed the known bug list....

I'm happy to hear that a relationship with EA has been established. Alice is a great tool to use in addition to [URL="http://www.eecs.tufts.edu/g/10F/JKarel.htm"]JKarel[/URL], and [URL="http://www.cafepress.com/kareljrobot/609789"]Karel The Robot[/URL]

wpdann 04-25-2006 10:49 AM

Thanks for the suggestions... and some comments
 
We truly appreciate feedback such as this. It helps us to plan changes for the next edition of the textbook. :)

Your observation regarding the fact that not all the tips and techniques are used in the exercises for that chapter. In some cases, the tip or technique is used in the example or exercises in one or more of the following chapters. Overall, the Tips & Techniques sections and the Appendix are intended to be sort of an Alice User's Guide. It is very possible that our examples and exercises missed using some of the animation tips. We'll look into that and see what can be done.

A couple of suggestions that may make things easier for you with the next go-round:

1) As an instructor, you have access to [url]www.aliceprogramming.net[/url] where you can find the complete worlds for all the examples and exercises in the textbook. (If you do not already have an id/pwrd for this site, please send me email and I will provide it for you). One could download the selected example or exercise to the instructor's computer and run the world as a demo in class. This way, students can see the world run but not have access to the code.

2) Assign an "open-ended" exercise, where students are asked to *enhance* an exercise in the chapter so that it uses (in some way) one of the items from the Tips & Techniques section of the chapter that was not used in the exercises.

Thanks again for the posting -- your insights are most welcome.

Wanda

Jeremy 04-25-2006 03:07 PM

Movies...
 
[QUOTE=wpdann]
1) One could download the selected example or exercise to the instructor's computer and run the world as a demo in class. This way, students can see the world run but not have access to the code.
Wanda[/QUOTE]

I understand. However, it's much better if the students could play the movie whenever they wanted. I have students who are absent some days and have to make up work. If you could either add the export movie feature, or find a way to hide the code (perhaps add an instructor password feature?), or do movie captures with camtasia, it would be helpful.

Thanks

Jeremy

newdok 12-01-2006 10:22 PM

i'm not an expert but wouldn't truely hiding the content be impossible if it there?
 
even though alice doesn't support it, one can open up alice worlds as zip files and access the contents there. Combined with the availability of the source code, i doubt an instructors password would be all that effective at securing the information (ms word document protections come to mind)

maybe if alice supported "compiling" to some sort of cryptic bytecode, all but a few students would probably not be bothered to get the source that way.

MathMaestro 06-30-2007 01:42 AM

Alice documentation?
 
I'm trying to put together a CS curriculum for high school students, and like to make Alice an intro basis for CS. Aside from the tutorials, there are little documentation or good online texts. Does anyone know of any?

The best I have found is at

[url]http://www.dickbaldwin.com/tocalice.htm[/url]

On semi-related topic, are UML diagrams taught much in CS curriculums?

DickBaldwin 06-30-2007 06:19 AM

Thanks for the link to my online teaching material at [URL]http://www.dickbaldwin.com/tocalice.htm[/URL]

I am using this material for the first time this summer to teach a course in Programming Fundamentals at the community college level. Although I normally teach OOP courses using Java, I have taught this course numerous times before using C++, typically during the short summer session.

I am happy to report that student enthusiasm and attendance is much better for the Alice version of this course than for the C++ versions that I have taught in the past. Many of the students take the course only because it is required in some non-CS degree plans, and for the first time even those students seem to actually be interested in learning about programming.

I will cover all of the lessons up through and including Lesson 180, Arrays in the coure. Time permitting, I will also cover Lesson 195, Transition to Java in the hope that some of the students will enroll in the first OOP Java course in the Fall.

I have provided slides for each lesson up through Lesson 180 for classroom use. I have also provided an interactive practice test for each of those lessons. Links to the slides and practice tests along with instructions for their use are also available at [URL]http://www.dickbaldwin.com/tocalice.htm[/URL]

Finally Appendix A provides a description and examples of the behavior of each of the twenty primitive methods that belong to all or at least most of the objects that can be instantiated from the Alice gallery. I have not seen this information published anywhere else online.

Just in case you may be interested in my syllabus and other material for the course, it is available by selecting the link to COSC 1315 at [URL]http://www.austincc.edu/baldwin/[/URL] (Links to the other courses that I teach are also available there.)

Faculty and staff of public and private non-profit educational institutions are granted a license to reproduce and to use this material for purposes consistent with the teaching process, so please use the material in whatever manner works well for you.

Thanks again,
Dick Baldwin

hippieman2828 10-10-2007 05:44 PM

User ID/Pwrd
 
[QUOTE=wpdann;582]We truly appreciate feedback such as this. It helps us to plan changes for the next edition of the textbook. :)

Your observation regarding the fact that not all the tips and techniques are used in the exercises for that chapter. In some cases, the tip or technique is used in the example or exercises in one or more of the following chapters. Overall, the Tips & Techniques sections and the Appendix are intended to be sort of an Alice User's Guide. It is very possible that our examples and exercises missed using some of the animation tips. We'll look into that and see what can be done.

A couple of suggestions that may make things easier for you with the next go-round:

1) As an instructor, you have access to [url]www.aliceprogramming.net[/url] where you can find the complete worlds for all the examples and exercises in the textbook. (If you do not already have an id/pwrd for this site, please send me email and I will provide it for you). One could download the selected example or exercise to the instructor's computer and run the world as a demo in class. This way, students can see the world run but not have access to the code.

2) Assign an "open-ended" exercise, where students are asked to *enhance* an exercise in the chapter so that it uses (in some way) one of the items from the Tips & Techniques section of the chapter that was not used in the exercises.

Thanks again for the posting -- your insights are most welcome.

Wanda[/QUOTE]

I am an instructor at my College and High School and I am teaching Alice at both schools and have yet to receive the ID/Pwrd, so can you or anyone provide me with one? Thx.

DickBaldwin 10-10-2007 05:49 PM

[quote=hippieman2828;3823]I am an instructor at my College and High School and I am teaching Alice at both schools and have yet to receive the ID/Pwrd, so can you or anyone provide me with one? Thx.[/quote]

I can't provide the password that you are seeking, but I can point you to supplemental material that does not require a password for access, and which you and/or your students may find useful. Pay particular attention to Appendix A.

[url]http://www.dickbaldwin.com/tocalice.htm[/url]

Dick Baldwin
[url]http://www.dickbaldwin.com/toc.htm[/url]

marriott 10-13-2007 08:57 PM

[QUOTE=hippieman2828;3823]I am an instructor at my College and High School and I am teaching Alice at both schools and have yet to receive the ID/Pwrd, so can you or anyone provide me with one? Thx.[/QUOTE]

You have to contact your Prentice Hall salesman for the password. This is to ensure that you're someone who bought a classroom set of books, and not (perhaps) some high schooler with the login "hippieman2828" that is trying to sound professional (yet abbreviates "Password" and "Thanks"), and is looking for easy answers to his homework.

My turnaround time for receiving the password was 1-2 weeks, so be patient if you've already called PH.


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