[Edu-sig] Re: Developments on the Urner front

Greg Baker ggbaker at cs.sfu.ca
Fri Oct 15 21:41:36 CEST 2004

On Fri, 2004-10-15 at 11:33, Toby Donaldson wrote:
> Here at Simon Fraser University we are using Python in our new
> first-year programming course.

Hi, long-time lurker, first-time poster.  I'm one of the other
instructors doing the first year Python course here are SFU.

I intend to release the course materials that are created for this
course under the GNU FDL.  The main Study Guide is still unfinished (I
blame the students), but what I have at the moment is here:
I plan on releasing the LaTeX source once it's at a complete first-draft
stage.  I will be posting most of the the second half of the course very
soon (as we are getting to the second half of the semester).

A goal in the design was to teach a more broad "computer science"
course, instead of just programming.  My feeling is that Python has
allowed this since I have to spend less time fussing with the details of
the language.  I can spend time giving an introduction to "real" CS
topics (algorithms, running time, binary representation, etc).  Students
get a better sense of what CS is and get a little break between
programming language concepts to absorb and appreciate.

On the other hand, I've found it hard to motivate using pseudocode to
plan a program, since the pseudocode that I write looks so much like
Python.  That would never be a problem in C.  :-)

Greg Baker, Lecturer
School of Computing Science
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6
E-mail: ggbaker at cs.sfu.ca

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