I think Wilhelmina has touched on an very important point that, for some, in order to learn--or want to learn--something, the material has to be relevant to them. Some folks can get through the boring, "calculators can do this" parts of because they anticipate the long-term benefit while others learn more effectively if the material helps them achieve a goal they already have or a goal that is within their area of expertise or interest.
(Hi! I'm new to this listserv)
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Wilhelmina Randtke
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 8:47 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] back to minorities question, seeking guidance
"Probably it was the wrong course. I think coding should start with building web pages. A calculator can't do that."
HTML is called "markup language", but does anyone here really think it's a programming language? Even though is gets more complicated over time, it pretty much doesn't have variables or do interactive things, and is for displaying things, not manipulating things.
My point about math and programming is that the curriculum for the average intro programming class appears to have been developed circa 1972 and never tweaked. I'm in Programming for Engineers right now, which is the prerequisite for the classes that looked useful. So far we have written lots of small programs to add numbers, find modulos, make a simple loop.
All this would have been exciting before calculators. But, yeah, we have calculators now. And, actually, we had calculators before we had widespread access to affordable computers. Writing a page long program to add some numbers makes no sense. It's probably the least efficient way to solve the problem. Nothing about the coursework shows computers as useful at solving problems. Everything about the coursework shows computers as clunky inefficient, difficult to use calculators. And... here is something we haven't done... We have not yet called a function from inside a function. So, the whole object oriented thing has not yet appeared, and it's past midterm time.
From having looked at a bunch of syllabi online for different intro level programming classes, I think my experiences are the norm. The intro classes cover things you can do more easily without coding.
This type of curriculum is off putting to at least some people. It also isn't necessary. I think it's possible to design a curriculum where students could have something to show that would be worthwhile now, as opposed to worthwhile in 1972 when adding many numbers at once was a big deal.
On Sat, Feb 23, 2013 at 1:57 AM, Thomas Krichel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Wilhelmina Randtke writes
> > Pretty much the whole entire entry level programming class for the
> > class covers using code to do things that you can do much more
> > easily without code.
> Probably it was the wrong course. I think coding should start with
> building web pages. A calculator can't do that.
> Thomas Krichel http://openlib.org/home/krichel
> skype: thomaskrichel