[Edu-sig] Announcement: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist -- Interactive Edition

Brad Miller millbr02 at luther.edu
Sun Sep 4 18:09:57 CEST 2011


I just added another sphinx extension that takes a step in the direction you are talking about.

I created an exercise extension. At a minimum it creates an editor with controls to run, save and load. You can see these in place for chapters 1-3 now.

Optionally you can provide the student with some scaffolding code. For example in a temperature conversion problem The exercise might open up with the following code already in place.

def c2f(degC):
 # your code here

assert c2f(0) == 32
assert c2f(100) == 212

You could also make use of the simple test function provided in the original book as well rather than rely on assert.

It doesn't have the nice graphics of codebat for giving you feedback, but that could all be added down the road.


Brad Miller
Associate Professor, Computer Science
Luther College

On Friday, August 26, 2011 at 9:07 PM, Carl Cerecke wrote:

> Looks good. Nice work.
> How about exercises in a similar style to codingbat.com (http://codingbat.com)? That would be really valuable I think.
> Cheers,
> Carl.
> On 27 August 2011 02:23, Brad Miller <millbr02 at luther.edu (mailto:millbr02 at luther.edu)> wrote:
> > Hello,
> > 
> > As part of my Sabbatical this past year I've been working on a new edition of How to Think Like a Computer Scientist (by Elkner et. al) with my colleague David Ranum. The idea behind this new edition is to make it interactive, to encourage students to learn by doing and to explore. The three main features we've added to previous editions are: 
> > Videos: Each section has (or will have) a 5-10 minute screencast explaining the written concepts verbally.
> > Interactive Python interpreter. Using Skulpt -- an open source javascript implementation of Python.
> > Codelens code visualizer -- Based on the Online Python Tutor by Philip Guo this element allows students to step forward and backward through the code and to see the values of variables
> > 
> > To make it easy to add these features I wrote 3 new sphinx directives, so adding the interactive code features is not onerous. When we finish our last pass through the book, we'll make all the code available on bitbucket.
> > 
> > We'll be using this book in our introductory course this fall at Luther, and adding more videos as we move through the semester. 
> > 
> > You can take a look at our work here: http://thinkcspy.appspot.com 
> > 
> > You'll need a gmail account to access the book. You'll also need a modern browser that supports html5, the interactive features rely heavily on Javascript and the canvas element. (Safari, Firefox 6, Chrome) The reason is that the interactive code allows you to save your changes and reload them again later. I've added an administrative back-end to the book so that we can have students do homework right in the browser. I'd love to hear your feedback and ideas for other interactive features. 
> > 
> > Brad 
> > 
> > -- 
> > Brad Miller
> > Associate Professor, Computer Science
> > Luther College
> > 
> > 
> > _______________________________________________
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