Summary of today

Finished the draft of my article for Crossroads. Submitted it already,
but haven’t received any confirmation yet. They’ll notify me of
acceptance or rejection within a few days. Had been thinking of
writing an article on constructivism and collaboration in computer
science education, or perhaps an article on the challenges we face in
a small liberal-arts college, or perhaps the need for alternative
teaching methods that do not require Internet access and fast
computers. Found myself unable to write a coherent article based on
those ideas, though. Grabbed my notes on tutoring and organized them
into a rough article. Come to think of it, those notes are more useful
for Crossroads’ target audience of students.

Also worked on the CS21A syllabus. With some trepidation, have decided
to go for an objects-first approach using the BlueJ learning
environment. Need to make sure to deliver results or the senior
teachers will frown on my experimentation. Feel, however, that this is
the right way to go. Want students to be able to _see_ how their
programs work, how it fits together. Expect them to outgrow BlueJ
eventually. Looking forward to teaching them Eclipse in CS21B, but in
the meantime, BlueJ offers many tools to help beginning programmers
learn.

Should also package BeanShell just in case I want to use it to
demonstrate other concepts. Its interpreter is more powerful than
BlueJ’s, but it has non-Java constructs.

Have also spent time browsing through BlueJ mailing list archives. If
am going to use experimental technique this semester (a few days from
now!), must make darned sure I know how to use it.

Sketched out opening day plan. Lots of tasks. Significantly more
housekeeping on the first day in order to support certain experiments
(study buddy, blogging), but hope that students do not get lost.
Revised classroom policies to explain _why_ things were prohibited.

Most students not content with teachers who read off the slides. In
fact, have not yet found anyone happy with that, although many okay
with it because it makes reviewing for tests easier. Still, it’s a
colossal waste of time.

Tomorrow: Will go to school for early morning meeting (yikes!), file
for new ID, install software on lab computers, have CDs burned, write
documentation, and prepare for school. Have way too much to do, but do
not have time to pack tonight so will end up coming home. (Must be
fetched, probably.)