[Chicago] teaching intro programming to geoscience undergrads, via swc list

sheila miguez shekay at pobox.com
Thu May 21 20:11:02 CEST 2015

On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 12:30 PM, Lewit, Douglas <d-lewit at neiu.edu> wrote:

> This was really interesting.  There are so many different philosophies
> about the right way to teach programming.  I have met people who are very
> traditional and hard-core, and believe in the "pure" paper and pencil
> approach.  Just write everything on paper, and then use the computer to
> test your programs when you get back home from the class.  Personally, I
> hate that style of teaching!  That's exactly the reason I'm not a math
> major anymore! [...]

Different pedagogies can be applied to math education too, but not everyone
uses them.

One of the coolest classes I had for my CS degree was a combinatorics and
graph theory class taught in the math department by a prof who was also in
the education department. Cool things about the class:

*  He had people interact by doing combinations of students to work with
each other on assignments. This caused small groups of students to interact
and teach each other. He encouraged everyone to collaborate and talk things
* He would intersperse lectures with demonstrations involving poker, math
physibles, maps, etc.

After that class I was pissed off that combinators and graph theory weren't
taught in the k12 program I went through. Calculus etc are okay but there
are so many different types of mathematics and the CS kind is really cool.

I was double-degreeing CS and psych and another fun math-focused class I
had was statistics for psychology students (I tool a stats for engineering
students too). That one was fun because it talked about experimental
methodology and the math required for it.

It was pretty cool followed by a human factors class taught in the CS
department where we had a class project to implement an interface to
something followed by experiments with it. The other students in my team
didn't know much about experimental design and statistical analysis of the
data and I was able to help out a lot due the experience in the psyc
department. (This was also the class where I learned tcl/tk and wrote a
simple ZUI program that also measured reaction times).

shekay at pobox.com
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