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"Robert I. Eachus" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Robert I. Eachus
Fri, 3 Dec 1999 19:57:13 -0500
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At 01:11 PM 12/3/1999 +1100, Geoff Bull wrote:
>"Richard L. Conn" wrote:
>> The VB controls
>> operate at such a high
>> level of abstraction that you don't have to worry about
>> the low-level details and can concentrate on the problem.
>Actually, I wonder if that's not part of your problem.

     I totally agree.  When teaching Ada in a programming course, I have found it is very gratifying to the students to be given a package specification and a description of what they have to do to implement correctly the body of the package.  This completely eliminates the need for the students to know anything about with clauses, Text_IO, program organization, etc. to complete the first few assignments.   Two other advantages are that you can provide decent diagnostics in your driver, so they don't have to get into the debugger or for that matter exceptions.  And second you can write a grading program to make it easy on the instructor.   Some examples--I certainly haven't used all of them:

     Towers of Hanoi (works nicely as an intro to tasking...)
     Runge-Kutta (great for engineers.)
     Grammar recognizer (Finite state machines)

     Now obviously I haven't taught Ada at a CS1 level in (hmmm...) 15 years, but for grad level course not directed at CS majors it is great.  Spend one hour on an intro to Ada (that notes that a lot is delayed until later) and the students can concentrate on the algorithms.

                                        Robert I. Eachus

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