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The First Year in Computer Science

Portland State University
1633 SW Park Ave
Portland, OR 97214, US (map)



The First Year in Computer Science Matthias Felleisen Northeastern University 2nd June, 16:40โ€“18:00 Location: Hoffman Hall Rm 109, Portland State University Abstract

My team and I have developed an alternative approach to the first-year courses on programming and computing. Unlike conventional approaches, ours focuses on designing programs in a systematic manner. The syntax of the chosen programming languages (both Java and Scheme) is only discussed as needed to support design principles. Field tests with over 500 high schools and a dozen colleges have shown that the approach produces better students than conventional approaches that use a single language. In several controlled studies, we could also show that students find our curriculum more appealing than the AP curriculum.

In my talk, I will provide an overview of the project, especially its intellectual premises and principles. My goal is to encourage you to think about the first year in a different way. The old ones are of questionable value. If we want our beautiful discipline to survive, we must find a good way of teaching it."