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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
jim hopper <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 1 Dec 1999 13:02:34 -0500
"Richard L. Conn" <[log in to unmask]>
"Richard L. Conn" <[log in to unmask]>
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Hi, Jim,

You raise some very good concerns.  I'm glad to say
that VB is not the only language the CS dept uses.
The approach I'm taking with my Freshmen is that VB
is fun, easy to learn, and there is a lot of object
orientation there.  You can see my course slides
on my University website for the objects and classes
part of the course.  VB is kind of like a hook in
this case.  I also talk about Ada, by the way, in the
VB class.

Later, we use Ada in data structures and C++ for other
courses.  To me, this makes sense:
  1. VB to start and get hooked.  C++ is an alternate
start.  In either case, the students start thinking about
objects, classes, and reuse.
  2. Ada for data structures.  Cudos to Mike Feldman ...
his book is on our list.
  3. C++ is also in the mix.  Some faculty like C++,
some like Ada, some both.  That's normal, and it fits
a lot of possible directions.

I'm a firm believer in building in the students an
infrastructure they can use to move in any direction,
regardless of language or technology change.


Richard Conn, ASE and PAL Manager

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of jim hopper
> Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 1999 10:18 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: What the competition looks like
> Richard,  your post was interesting, but very scary.  if all the kids
> in university are learning is how to use visual basic to do visually
> stunning, but irrelevant programs (mind candy) than we are indeed in
> big trouble.  how does a person make the jump from a dependence on
> precanned libraries using such tools to the real world??  are we
> going to graduate an entire generation of university students who
> think programming should be that easy?   visual basic and other such
> tools it seems to me should be forbidden to cs students until they
> learn the fundamentals and how to do it the correct way.  how many
> bridges and buildings have fallen down around the world (and other
> catastrophes) because some engineer was just taught the formulas and
> not the basics of how the equations are derived, and where they are
> valid and where they are not.
> I already dispair over the younger people i work with today because
> they don't have any idea of what their code really does because they
> seldom are taught much of anything about assembly language and the
> guts of processors.  Now you are suggesting that and even more
> ignorant group are on their way, who think that writing a program is
> just a matter of sticking the proper libraries together!  Sounds a
> lot like the engineers who think that building a bigger bridge is
> just a matter of sticking the same old equations and designs together!
> Jim
> At a recent computer software engineering course in the US, the
> participants
> were given an awkward question to answer.  "If you had just boarded an
> airliner and discovered that your team of programmers had been responsible
> for the flight control software, how many of you would disembark
> immediately?"
>                      unknown author