I've developed a Java library for my CS1 course that SIGCSE members may be interested in using for assignments. It includes:
- An implementation of Karel the Robot that is
more full-featured than most. We use it to get students started in using objects, extending classes, stepwise refinement, practise with control structures, and to help understand polymorphism.
- A set of simplified input and output classes. One
novel feature are methods such as intIsAvailable(). Such methods allow students to write robust code with error checking.
- A number of user interfaces, each accompanied by a
Java interface. Students write a class to implement the interface and pass an instance to the UI. The result is a complete and satisfying program.
- A combination lock: students write a class to determine when the lock is locked or unlocked. It only unlocks if the correct combination is passed as parameters. Students practice instance variables and parameters.
- An AM/FM radio: Students write a "tuner" class. It remembers the current frequency, tunes up or down, seeks up or down, and has presets. Students practice with instance variables, looping, parameters.
- A equation grapher: Students write a class implementing an eval function. The provided user interface displays the corresponding graph. Three different Java interfaces allow practice with only parameters, parameters and instance variables (for the coefficients) or parameters and arrays (arbitrary degree polynomials).
- An image transformation program: Students write a class to transform an image stored as a 2D array of integers. The provided user interface reads the image from a file and calls the appropriate transformation methods in the student class. Transformations can include rotating, scaling, brighten, flip, mirror, etc. I believe a similar assignment was included in the SIGCSE 2003 Nifty Assignments panel.
- A marks "spreadsheet": gives students practise with both 1D and 2D arrays. The 1D arrays store student and assignment names. The 2D array stores the marks.
The library is available for download at http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~bwbecker/robots Click on the Software link to see demos and download the library. It requires Java 1.3.1 or greater.
If you end up using it in one of your courses, I'd appreciate hearing about it!
E-Mail from Byron Weber Becker