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Maggie
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Default 10-31-2007, 08:55 PM

Thank you, Dick. I used some of your looping examples before and I have been looking through your materials when I have a chance.

I do teach Java, which is the Intro programming class at the university. I also teach C. I teach whatever they give me. :-P

This Alice course is new. I think it has two purposes: as a remedial course for students who shouldn't have been accepted into the CS program (IMNSHO), and as a sort of soft science course for non-CS majors. My bizarre version of the class is the honors version (of a remedial course, right), because the honors director thought the course sounded cool. He's right -- it is a cool idea, but I haven't exactly figured out what to do with it. I'm about to finish up with Alice and move on to ActionScript, and I'm not sure what I'll do next semester. Most of my students are not CS majors. I have a couple of art majors, an English major, and some students from other engineering and science majors. Some are bored and the others are able to build stuff but not well, and that is the norm in CS1 courses, in my experience. At least the bored ones are creating things they can have fun with, and the somewhat lost ones are able to build anything at all. That's the advantage of Alice over Java!

When I teach Java, I teach "design first." It's really hard to come up with examples in Alice where design makes things easier and neater -- it's a great big free-for-all! I don't think I have any business teaching any kind of programming without stressing good design.

That's my take. If just "get 'er dun" were my goal, then all of my students get A's. But I'd like them to take away the sensibility necessary to write a large or extensible project.

Thanks for listening to me complain. :-)

Maggie
   
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