The biggest challenge is when to teach Elm. There aren't a lot of jobs that
even ask for Elm (http://www.indeed.com/q-Elm-Developer-jobs.html).
But the issue isn't going to be *knowing*. It's going to be experience.
Junior Developers are expected to already know so much and have 2 to 3
years experience (if you search the job boards).
get a job right out of school for Junior Developer positions (at least not
how they're listed).
You have to ask yourself a few questions:
1. Is this a vocational school or college?
2. I'm I qualified to teach Elm or do I need more time working with it?
3. Are my students ready for Elm?
4. Is Elm ready for my student?
#1: If it's a vocational school, then by all means do NOT teach Elm. But if
this is a college where students are going to learn things that will last
their whole career (not just to get their next job), then I think
functional programming concepts are valuable.
#2: You may be excited about Elm, but if you haven't written enough Elm,
you're NOT going to teach it well. When I was in college 35 years ago, I
took an assembly course on the 6502 microprocessor. I knew more about it
than the teacher. It was clear that he was excited to teach the course but
he struggled. I'm not sure if the students learned much in that class. I
know I didn't.
#3: What groundwork has been laid for learning Elm. If you students have
taken Haskell or at least been introduced to another ML language, then I
think they are ready for Elm. If they've been introduced to functional
concepts, then teaching Elm will be simply understanding TEA and the
language syntax. But if they're hitting this cold straight out of a Java
class, then they will struggle and they will need more time on concepts and
not so much on Elm which doesn't seem appropriate in a Web Apps class.
#4: The learning materials aren't quite there yet. Richard Feldman's books
isn't finished yet. It would probably be a great text for students (I
cannot say, as I haven't read it yet). But it's the only book available
(that I know of). The online materials are lacking. There are complex
concepts that aren't really covered well, e.g. Html msg, Cmd msg, Sub msg.
The nuts and bolts are there, but the concepts aren't. Error messages,
while more helpful than ever, are still difficult to deal with when you
have a misuse of a variable. The location of the error and of the mistake
don't always coincide.
There's a lot to consider and there is no simple answer. I'd personally
error on the side of conservatism.
On Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 7:10:40 PM UTC-7, Robert Muller wrote:
> Greetings. I've been writing functional programs since about 1978, first
> in LISP 1.5, then Scheme, and finally ML for the last 25 years or so. I've
> volunteered to teach a Web Apps course at Boston College this spring. I've
> never taught it before. In the absence of job-hunting constraints that my
> students face, I'd probably teach it in Elm, focussing only on the
> front-end. But my students will be looking to launch actual careers and
> obviously they deserve the best shot possible to get launched. So I am
> wondering what folks in the Elm community might recommend. I'd like to do
> the right thing on both counts.
> Thanks in advance for your perspective.
> Bob Muller
> Computer Science
> Boston College
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