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Programming for IT Students Quintin Gee Learning Technologies Group.

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1 Programming for IT Students Quintin Gee Learning Technologies Group

2 2 Introduction  Which students are we talking about?  What do they study at the moment?  Why teach them programming?  What are students fearful of?  Can we teach only algorithms?  How do we assess these students?  How do we handle diversity?  Future work

3 3  Direct from school  Transfer from Computer Science  Mature students (23 and older)  Other institutions and Overseas IT Student recruitment 2004/05: 70% – 3% – 7% – 20%

4 4 IT Graduates  IT Management trainees  IT Operations/Network/Technical  Unemployed, seeking work  Further HE  Started own business 2004: 35% – 35% – 10% – 10% – 10%

5 5 Syllabus – Level 1 Information Systems Strategy Computational Systems & Problem-Solving Contemporary Information Handling Operating Systems Personal Development Understanding Organisations & Management Algorithms & Programming Computer Architecture Electronic Communication & The Individual First Integrative Project ( both semesters, 30% )

6 6 Reasons for teaching prog.  because they are studying computers  “common to all computing programmes … At its heart is programming”  understand the uses and limitations of computer technology  appreciation of the software that drives the computer, and how it is generated  Students want to learn a usable skill

7 7 Reasons against  Student apprehension  Students have limited time  It is wasteful if they are not going to become professional programmers  Can manage with algorithms only approach [!]  “Students need to see from the beginning how to connect abstractions to actions”

8 8 Student Apprehension  Before  After Number of Students Level of Confidence

9 9 Programming vs. Coding  Algorithms only  What data structures?  What language?  How are they implemented for testing?  What IDE?  What constructs?  What syntax? Isn’t this just duplication?

10 10 Language  Assembler  TGF High Level Languages  System language  Application language  Prolog/LISP and their derivatives  Iconic languages: B# and RAPTORB# RAPTOR  Application Generators

11 11 Does it matter?  IDEmust be simple enough  Syntaxmust be simple enough  Data structures must be complex enough  Problemsmust be varied  Processmust be exciting/fun/…

12 12 Assessment mark allocation for programming project

13 13 Diversity  Space Cadets  “rocket scientists”, confident with programming in the language  Space Monkeys  “strugglers”, apprehensive, little or no knowledge of language  Paired working  Self-chosen, individual assignments

14 14 Future Work The work has been taken forward:  Java used at the moment with BlueJ  VB.NET was to be re-introduced  JavaScript is the likely route  Comparisons of before and after will be undertaken  New group set up to discuss this

15 15 Programming for IT Students Quintin Gee Learning Technologies Group

16 16 B#

17 17 USAFA Raptor


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