Reaction for: MIT by Amanda

The course taught at MIT comes at the introductory course with a radically different approach than that of Brown. While both courses are taught in Java, the course at MIT includes many of the ideas that we have discussed in class.


First of all, they have a text. CS015 does not. Well, it's supossed to. I mean that we got the first 3 or 4 chapters. But the rest has yet to be finished. I think this would probably help us. The chapters that we did receive were very helpful. I've looked over the text for MIT's 101 and honestly, I'm disappointed. This really corresponds to my reactions in to general...the book is BORING! Why do text have to be so boring? I suppose that maybe it's because the material is boring, but it's not! The book that we received for 15 was interesting to read and made us understand the concepts. I'm NOT trying to suck up to anyone either...this is honesty. (Be quiet Saul, I know what you're thinking.)


Now, the other thing that they have that we have discussed before is theidea of labs. They have programming assignments that you read up on before you come into the lab. The plan for in-lab work is that you get an assignment and then you write a program that works and then BUILD upon it. Novel! Then after the lab you have a lab write up. I don't really know how I feel about this.

The pre-lab assignments include hand simulation, questions that beg the design. They generally seem to be a good preparation for a program. Now, the actual labs seem kind of large to me. The first lab is to track a point around the creeen an make it leave a trail. The pressure of four hour labs might be great and cause fear. I like the idea of having all the time until a certain date to finish a project.

If we were to include that in our curriculum I don't know how it would fit. The assignments that are given to the students are so large that basically all the time is lab time.

The Basic Idea

So, the course is based on the labs...which I don't like. In fact, there's not much that I do like that isn't too similar to our own course.

But the thing that I do like is the prelabs...not the LABS but the prelabs. They include hand simulation and basic pseudocode that teaches the kiddies the basics of syntax and such. These could be very useful for particular playing with arrays before Tetris.

The Brilliance

I know, I know, thank you very much...

So this is my idea: we have this little problem, they are called "help sessions". The problem that is usually associated with these "help sessions" is that the students are generally not prepared for them...they haven't even thought about the program at that point. We use the mini preprogram assignments as admission to the help sessions. I know that I didn't think this up...I think it was Danah that suggested that we have the students prepare questions as admission to the help sessions. But this is better! (Not that she was off her just needed to be modified.) This way the students actually have reason to do it...they'll be graded upon it! And the help sessions would theoretically actually be able to help! Like a mass of TA hours all at once. Everyone can come up with their questions that are drawn upon the preprogram assignments that have direct correlation with the programs. That way people have thought about the program before they come to help session. TA DA!

This is the link to the prelab exercise that I adapted to 15. Below is the adapted version. The prelab for MIT focuses on GUIs in awt. Because we use GP I adapted it to GP. This prelab is intended for MoviePlayer considering that it is where we learn the most about GUIs. I'd say it was the "intro" to GUIs.

Welcome to organizational skills 101!

Silly Premise

Shock, horror...there's is no silly premise other than the fact that you have to work on understanding the concepts and principles that underly GUIs for this course. Get to know GP, make it your friend...the sooner the better.

That way, later, when you use it for ALL YOUR OTHER PROGRAMS you'll hear GP say your name just like "Norm!" on Cheers.

Concepts Covered

Assignment Specification