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How to keep a programming course interesting? [closed]

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( 4 months ago )

I guess, the following is a standard problem on every school or university:

It is Your job to teach programming. Unfortunately, some of the students are semi-professionals and have years of experience while others do not even know the basic concepts, e.g. the concept "typed variable".

As far as I know, this leads to one of the following situations:

  1. Programming is tought from its very basics. The experienced students get bored and discontinue to visit the lectures. As a consequence, they will miss even the stuff they do not already know.
  2. Teachers and professors claim that they require basic knowledge (whatever that means). Inexperienced students cannot follow the lectures and a lot of them will focus on unimportant stuff (e.g. understanding every detail of a complex example while not getting the concept behind the example). Some of them will give up.
  3. Universities invent an artificial programming language to give experienced programmers and newbies "equal chances". Most students will get frustrated about the "useless language".

Is there a fourth solution, which is better than those above?



( 4 months ago )

I think the best way to keep it interesting is to bring up practical and interesting exercises along the theory. Taking a problem-solution approach is great (with interesting, funny, exciting, real-world problems). This requires the professor himself to have hands-on experience, work with new technologies and know them pretty well and not just teach what he had learned a couple decades ago.

The thing is, programming should be learned by practice. The instructor should focus on motivating students to code and try to solve problems themselves. This can be done by assigning a complete life-like project at the beginning of the course and working through the subproblems that occur in the project in the class. This way, students will have an idea why some specific feature in the programming language exists and where it might be useful.

Just a thought though. Not tried it! ;)

what's your interest