Teaching a Java-based CS1 Course in an Academically-Diverse Environment — education

http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/563340.563396

Abstract:

The Texas Christian University (TCU) Computer Science Department was established in 1981. From the outset, the Department's CS1 course has presented significant teaching challenges due to the wide diversity of student's taking the class. Traditionally, only 25-35% of the students enrolled in the course are computing science majors, the remaining being students from a wide diversity of disciplines, many of which are non-science based. Despite the diversity, it has been necessary for the course, and its content, to be structured to satisfy essential core requirements for students majoring in computer science and computer information science as well as to meet program requirements for the many non-computer science majors taking the course. This paper discusses some of the unique issues associated with teaching a Java-based CS1 course to a very diverse group of students, the majority of which have very unsophisticated problem solving skills, and little or no programming expertise. A representative set of experiments and programming assignments are included.

Their CS1 course is taken by people from lots of courses.

Oooh, interesting idea: experiment component as part of most programming exercises. Students are required to conduct experiments. - questions about the code. This is pretty nice. In fact, they introduce API reading and inheritance early...

Let's experiment with AWT-first next semester. Might be fun.