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M. Uhle sen. uhle at mt.mb.uni-dortmund.de
Sat Aug 18 12:17:38 CEST 2007


This seems to me to be another version of a very academic discussion about 
our "new" students, who all know how to "click"......Sorry, they are as the 
are.
Trying to teach "programming" to undergraduate students for years now, I do 
see the problem from a different point of view.
It is NOT a question of IDE's, debugging-Systems, sophisticated tools, not 
even languages. To me it seems to be a problem of missing applications.
What I mean?
Student: To program my first "hallo world" is simply boaring, I am not 
interested to print a simple sin-table.. and the like. What on earth all this 
programming is to be used for?

Some years ago Iswitched to:
A simple editor, a plain compiler, and a textbased console and AN INTERESTING 
JOB to do.
Say: simulate an atomobile on a 10 km long road with traffic lights.
Answer the question: does it make sense to ignore speed limits or does it not?

So jump, dive, and swim..

And the advice to our beginners is:
Start with a small program saying 
'Program Speed Simulation Start'
'Program Speed Simulation Stop'

If that works, you know: 
I can use the editor, it worked 
I can use the compiler, it worked
I wrote my first program, it worked.
I save it as version 0, copy ist to version 1, and I will expand it now to 
version n+1.
Output will be written to screen and (later) redirected to a file from where 
it can be plotted by eg. xmgrace or so.

We all in the teaching business should think about interesting 'real life' 
examples, it seems there are just a few! The sophisticated tools should NOT 
be used. To be honest: even the above example is - in my opinion - not real 
enough!
What I mean? try to use "Kdevelop" (or any of the like) with beginners. Even 
the "hallo world" project creates "thousands" of files in the associated 
directories, no beginner will understand that not to talk about keeping 
track. I dropped it completely (for beginners, not for later real work).


If I am allowed to add one thing: my students are still using GPC 2004.12.18
Why? There is no newer binary available on "www.gnu-pascal.de", and beginners 
are NOT able to compile GPC from scratch. And: most Pascal users are not 
experts for c!

Mathias Uhle 




-- 
Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Mathias Uhle,  Messtechnik,  Universitaet 
Dortmund
Leonhard Euler Str. 5,       D-44221 Dortmund
Tel: +49.231.755.3257      Fax: +49.231.755.2631
email: uhle at mt.mb.uni-dortmund.de   
http://www.mt.mb.uni-dortmund.de





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