Catherine and others,
The historical question may be more informative, in that this may help to
inform a unit of analysis that incorporates the needs of the student (e.g.
their intellectual development) into an understanding of how to construct
and deploy a curriculum.
However, for conventional institutions such an understanding does not exist
at a formal level of recognition and the needs of the institutions are put
before the needs of the students.
Historically, from a UK culture involving experiences with microcomputers
(e.g. BBC computers), those students coming through to universities with
computing knowledge exhibited certain problem-solving skills which are not
typically part of the official university curriculum, but that *might* be
informally introduced by a knowledgeable instructor.
The distinction between formalised and problem-oriented learning is often
apparent when it comes to participation in skilled labour. For example, we
may contrast the normative notion of "software engineering" as something
that is rigorous in the sense of highly methodological versus the etymology
of the word "engineer" which is concerned with ingenuity.
The third implied question concerns the nature of change in a university
course. The impression I have is that this is a function of how marketable
the course is, i.e. it is dictated by fashion and reputation. Fashion is
not necessarily a bad thing if we consider that a fashionable subject may
help to foster the motivation to get to grips with conceptually demanding
Given this long-running state of affairs, it seems to me that the middle
route is perhaps the most reasonable: provide a moderate degree of
formalised instruction that meets the requirements of exams, modules etc,
while giving as much freedom as can be given to encourage students to study
problems that they find interesting. Without an intellectual understanding
of the students needs, the planning of a curriculum is largely reduced to
institutional self-servicing, addressed to fashions, formalised core
concepts and endeavours to avoid obsolescence.
Regarding preparation for work in large institutional work places (i.e. the
large companies that attend graduate fairs) we can see that a considerable
premium is placed on students competently undertaking work at the behest of
others, i.e. work that is not primarily governed by the participant's own
inner problem-solving engagement (but that may involve it to a modest
If this picture is moderately accurate, then it follows that from a formal
position there is no particular institutional motivation to recalibrate a
formal curriculum on the basis of a student's prior knowledge, but that the
curriculum is considerably dictated by the formalised needs of graduate
employers. From an ethical, developmental perspective, however, it would
be of service to attend to the student's developed problem solving skills
and look to foster these.
On 17 February 2016 at 13:03, Catherine Letondal <catherine.leton...@enac.fr
> Hi Derek,
> > On Feb 14, 2016, at 8:30 PM, Derek M Jones <de...@knosof.co.uk> wrote:
> > Catherine,
> >> Are you aware of any specific issues related to teaching CS
> (programing) to
> >> 1st year university students having had some significant introduction to
> >> programing at school? I have heard of the Design and Technology
> > Are you particularly interested in any particular issue?
> > o the large number of bad habits students have picked up because
> > they have been so poorly taught (schools are having a very hard time
> > attracting teachers who know anything about programming because other
> > jobs pay better and have other attractions),
> > o students who know a lot more about programming than the lecturers
> > (not hard since CS does not reward programming skill).
> > I guess there are likely to be many more students in the first category
> > than the second.
> Thanks for your answer.
> I had no particular questions in mind, but indeed, how do lecturers for
> instance actually cope with bad habits (are there published results about
> this?), or also: how did this first programming education at school change
> the content of the lectures or the syllabus - if it did of course.
> >> for KS3 pupils in UK so there might be some PPIGers in this situation?
> >> Since french students will have a similar curriculum in the near
> future, I
> >> wondered about the changes that may have to be done in programing
> >> for CS students at the university.
> >> Any facts or ideas? Are any topics to be emphasized or any specific
> >> Thanks in advance,
> >> --
> >> Catherine Letondal
> >> www.lii-enac.fr/~letondal
> > --
> > Derek M. Jones Software analysis
> > tel: +44 (0)1252 520667 blog:shape-of-code.coding-guidelines.com
> > --
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