Presentation on theme: "Learning to Program With Alice"— Presentation transcript:
1 Learning to Program With Alice Wanda DannStephen CooperRandy Pausch
2 Alice is a solution to the current big problem in Computer Science Education: Attracting and Retaining Students
3 This isn’t just about selling books This isn’t just about selling books. It’s about keeping America economically competitive. And about eighteen year-olds not dropping a computer science major due to frustration and self-doubt.
4 You are going to revolutionize the way students learn to program computers.
9 The Alice Approach Uses 3D graphics to engage students Has a “smart” drag-and-drop editor that prevents syntax errorsAppeals to wide audienceStorytelling(young women, minority students)Interactive computer games(young men)Not threatening; Alice builds students’ confidence
10 Key Alice FeaturesMakes objects something students can see and relate toHas a java syntax mode to ease the transition to C++/Java/VB.net
11 Textbook Features Emphasizes design using storyboards Supports varying instructional approaches“objects-early”“objects-first"Allows an (optional) early introduction to eventsColor screen captures illustrate step-by-step construction of programs
12 Schools using Alice 2004-2005 Bucknell University California Lutheran UniversityCalifornia State University at HumboldtCamden County CollegeCarnegie Mellon UniversityClemson UniversityColorado School of MinesCommunity College of PhiladelphiaCornell UniversityDuke UniversityGeorgetown CollegeHaverford CollegeIthaca CollegeManor CollegeMississippi Valley State UniversityPlymouth State UniversitySaint Edward’s UniversitySaint Joseph's UniversitySaint Lawrence CollegeSan Diego State UniversitySierra Nevada CollegeSouthwestern UniversityTompkins Cortland Community CollegeUniversity of ColoradoUniversity of IllinoisUniversity of MississippiVirginia TechAnd several high schools
13 How Alice is being used In pre-CS1 course for majors and students considering a CS majorAs conceptual introduction in CS1, followed by a transition to Java/C++/VBIntroduction to programming coursenon-majors (in business schools, for example)attract students to become CS majorsComputer literacyproblem-solving componentPre-AP in high schools
14 Results of NSF-supported study As used towards retention of CS majorsGPA in CS1 improvedGrades went from C to Bat-risk students (students with little to no prior programming experience and/or weak mathematics background)Increased retention into CS2 from 47% to 88%Improved attitudes towards computing
15 URLs The software: www.alice.org Includes forums for discussion/help Supplementary instructional materials and solutions to exercises in the text:lectureslabsassignmentssample chapter of the textsample virtual worlds (programs)
16 Commonly Asked Questions How much does the Alice software cost?It is free! (and open source)Does Alice run on the Macintosh?Yes! Download Mac version fromWhere can I go for instructor support materials?Is Alice hard to install?Just copy files to the hard drive; no “install”
17 Commonly Asked Questions, Cont. Isn’t Alice just a toy? (it looks so “Fisher-Price”!)No -- Alice contains all the features of “real” languagesStudents can write 3,000 line programs in AliceHow do students go from Alice to Java?They have learned the concepts in Alice, then learn syntax in JavaThey have built confidence and are more persistentIs there any “hard evidence” that Alice works?Yes! An NSF study on “at risk” CS1 students who used Alice…Increased grades from C to BRetention (into CS2) went from 47% to 88%
18 Questions? Wanda Dann (firstname.lastname@example.org) Stephen CooperRandy Pausch