Mark Guzdial and Judy Robertson discuss the role of programming in introductory computer science.
Interesting post! Here at C-DAC Mumbai, the concepts of programming are introduced via theoretical lectures where the students are introduced to the concepts and techniques of problem solving and are given leads to language specifications and API level documentation.
During practical sessions, they are offered an, in-house built and managed, automated grading system called Parikshak. The students are provided with a variety of problems covering a large spectrum of classes of problems, the applicable strategies and techniques in both off-line and online modes. In an off-line mode, the students are provided with self-assessment assignments, and in an online mode, they are provided with machine graded programming tests proctored by instructors and subject to time constraints. During these tests, the students are required to spend half their time on paper, and the rest, with the machine.
The assignments and tests are composed of problem statements, assumptions, input and output specifications, and sample input and sample outputs. As per the student feedback, such a methodology has imbibed in students a greater confidence towards learning, modeling and applying programming skills to real-world problems.
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