Two insights on teaching computer programming

Henderson Peter phenders at
Tue Jan 3 12:53:37 EST 2006

Another key factor impacting the students views of, and reactions to, a 
course is the individual instructor.  To be considered a succes a model 
for a course should be taught effectively by a wide varietly of 
instructors at different institutions for the intended student audience.

Matthias model has passed this test and Peter's model is making good 
progress.  However, the student audiences are different - novice vs second 
year college.  It ould be very interesting to study the impact of the 
sequencing these two approaches.

Thanks for this interesting thread.  Good way to end one year and start 
the next.


On Sun, 25 Dec 2005, Peter Van Roy wrote:

> David Klappholz wrote:
>>> (...) Not a single student out of 300 has complained to me that
>>> I should be teaching them Java.  On the contrary, feedback about the
>>> course is mostly positive.  (I first taught using this arrangement in
>>> 2004, and this lack of complaints caught me much by surprise.
>>> Especially since my students are not especially docile: they don't
>>> hesitate to ask me questions about technical issues.  This lack of
>>> complaints doesn't seem to be the same in US universities.
>> You may very well be wrong in your conjectures about the Europe-US 
>> difference.
> I agree with you, the dividing line might not be US/Europe but something 
> else,
> such as how the institution is funded (direct/indirect) or the historical 
> traditions
> at the institution.  I have not done a serious study of what makes the 
> difference
> in attitude.  All I know is that UCL and our department seem to be more
> enlightened than many others I know of in both Europe and the US, in letting
> me teach the course the way I want to teach it, and I am grateful to them.
> Peter
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