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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Steven Deller <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 10 Mar 2000 09:46:58 -0800
"Robert C. Leif, Ph.D." <[log in to unmask]>
"Robert C. Leif, Ph.D." <[log in to unmask]>
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From: Bob Leif, Ph.D.
To: Steven Deller et al.

What you are describing is referred to as a clinical trial. Splitting an
introductory course into halves would only confuse the students. The correct
way to do this is to run two courses in parallel or perhaps sequentially.
The students for the two sessions theoretically should be drawn at random.
However, I do not believe that this would be possible in a normal university
environment. A reasonable check of equivalence would be their grade-point
average in other subjects. The placebo effect should be balanced out. The
popular enthusiasm for Java should be more than equal to the well-based
Professor's professional knowledge. If possible, the second course in the
curriculum should be taught in the other language (Ada to Java; Java to Ada)
and the ratios of the grades in both languages compared.

The ultimate and most accurate test is a double blind study where the test
procedure or drug names are hidden. I do not see how this can be done with
software languages. Another very good test is to measure maintenance costs.
As far as I know, this has not been done by any branch of the US Government.

-----Original Message-----
From: Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Steven Deller
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2000 8:58 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Help -- ammunition wanted!

On Friday, March 10, 2000 7:02 AM, [log in to unmask]
[SMTP:[log in to unmask]] wrote:
> Also if anyone has taught CS1 using Ada with an OO approach from the
> start, I would be interested in hearing of their experiences.

Building on the reference by W. Wesley Groleau about John McCormick's
experience with C and Ada, is there any possibility of doing a side by side
comparison of Ada versus Java in an introductory course?

That is, rather than fight the system, could you suggest that Aston
University do some fundamental research into the comparative capabilities of
the two languages vis-a-vis teaching OO programming. Are there enough
sessions to do half in Ada and half in Java, and then compare somehow the
student results from each (dropout rates, finished projects, student
responses, subsequent grades in computer science courses, language
independent "concepts grasped" exams)?

I could easily argue that preparing an OO class to be taught in *both* Java
and Ada would force the OO issues to become clearer, and would result in a
better OO-concepts course than doing OO purely in only one or the other


Steven Deller, Apex Ada Marketing
[log in to unmask], (410) 757 6924
Rational Software Corporation,
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