[Edu-sig] CS0 course

Andre Roberge andre.roberge at gmail.com
Fri Jun 29 18:45:00 CEST 2007

Hi everyone,

As most people on this list are aware, I am very much interested in
promoting Python in education (think rur-ple and crunchy).  However, I
feel I could do more locally and want to do more but for this I need a
bit of help and guidance.

To explain things properly, I have to make a small digression (which,
I hope, won't be construed as spam ;-) to explain the background.

In my day job, I am President of a tiny but wonderful university
(Université Sainte-Anne, www.usainteanne.ca) in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Sainte-Anne is an undergraduate university (400 students,
Faculty/student ratio: 1:10) offering programs in French Immersion,
Education, Business Administration, Bachelors of Arts (majors:
English, French, History), as well as a general B.Sc.  (3 year degree,
no major).  While it is located in a primarily English Canadian
province, Sainte-Anne is arguably the *best* place in North America to
study French.  Our summer French immersion program (two 5-week terms)
attract a total of 550 students (more than during the regular year,
with every available bed in residence occupied!), about 125 of which
come from the U.S.  and the rest from elsewhere in Canada; we have the
longest waiting list of any other similar programs offered in Canada.
(enough bragging ...)

We do not offer a course in computer programming.  Business
administration student have a requirement to take two semester long
courses in "computer science"  ("informatique", in French) - the
courses offered are one introduction to some standard business
software (read MS word and eXcel primarily) and one course on creation
of web pages, etc.  Not exactly what I consider to be computer

I'd like add a CS0  course (intro to computer science [read:
programming] for non cs students) that would introduce Python.  Since
the courses we offer are all in French, the number of available
resources is rather limited...  As I'm the only one that knows about
programming around, I'd have to teach it.  While our students are
usually fluent in English, we do strive to provide a completely French
learning environment; as President, I could not give a bad example by
assigning a textbook (or other main resource) written in English.
Since I've never taught a programming course in my life (and only took
one, a fortran course, some 30 years ago), I can't draw very much on
previous experience.

Because of the demands of my job (read:fairly frequent travelling), I
can't plan on teaching 2 1.5 hours (or 3 one-hour) lectures a week,
every week.  I'd like to have a course that could combine classroom
teaching combined with small projects that could be done in a
self-study mode (with me available to answer questions by email).
Something half-way between an independent study course and a
traditional lecture-based one.

Does anyone have experience with teaching a CS0 course structured like
this?  Are you aware of any resources that I could use, mostly in
terms of assignments idea? (note: they have to be either in French, or
things that are short enough that I could translate them without
having to invest too much time)

Thanks for your time reading this message, and I welcome any
suggestion you may have.

André Roberge

More information about the Edu-sig mailing list