After completing a pilot study using the Python programming language to transition to Java within our first-year introductory programming sequence, our department opted to make a more radical change. We assert that our students are better served in their first year of study by a focus on problems in computer science and their solutions, rather than programming. Our new introductory sequence emphasizes algorithm development and analysis, object-oriented design, and testing. As in our pilot, programming is first done in Python, switching to Java when object-oriented design and static typing become advantageous. Students reported liking the problem focus of the courses, while the distribution of grades remained similar to those in previous years. As a result, our department will be discontinuing our earlier introductory sequence, and offering the new problem-based one to all the groups of students our department services beginning in Fall 2010.
Department, Program, or Center
Center for Advancing the Study of CyberInfrastructure
James Heliotis and Richard Zanibbi. 2011. Moving away from programming and towards computer science in the CS first year. J. Comput. Sci. Coll. 26, 3 (January 2011), 115-125.
RIT – Main Campus