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Sender: "Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
From: "Brashear, Phil" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2000 13:47:57 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-To: "Wisniewski, Joseph (N-COMSYS)" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "Brashear, Phil" <[log in to unmask]>
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I've been teaching CS2 at the University of Dayton for a number of years.
Until about 2-3 years ago, both CS1 and CS2 were taught using Ada, with the
standard CS1 and CS2 content as far as structures and algorithms are

Then we switched to C++.  It's been much harder work, because students have
to be taught to apply more self-discipline -- something that's very
difficult for college freshpersons.  Not only do they have to deal with
abstractions (that are hard anyway), they also have to deal with the
"touchiness" of the C family (such things as the "=" vs. "==" that Martin
mentioned) and the peculiarities of C++ compilers that don't adhere to the

I think we've been successful in making the switch -- but there's much less
freedom to explore ideas, since we have to spend so much time on picky
syntactic details.  I think my students are learning as many techniques
(abstract and concrete), but they're much more rigid than my Ada students
were because of the tight focus.

I've taught this course in Pascal, Ada, and C++ and have absolutely no
question that C++ is by far the worst of the three.  If anyone wants, I can
solicit opinions from the other instructors who were on both ends of the


Philip W. Brashear
Software Quality Assurance
EDS Corporation
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-----Original Message-----
From: Wisniewski, Joseph (N-COMSYS) [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2000 11:31 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: C++ as a first language

My wife teaches mostly C++ over at a major community college outside
of DC. (No it isn't quite as bad as Carville/Matalin at home although
this morning there was a discussion of "our individual opinions" wrt
readability of C++   :--)        )

Anyway, apparently there has been a switch recently from Pascal to
C++ for the intro class. The intro C++ is being taught without the object
oriented aspects of the language, so I guess it really becomes a
"C class using the non-object oriented constructs specific to C++ and
not in C, and using a C++ compiler",
from what I can tell.  The professors there are very concerned because their
students are performing much more poorly than they did with Pascal as an
intro language.

Now factoring out issues such as "teaching C++ for the first time" (which
is more important in all of this than the language) ..... well what are your
thoughts on this.