[plt-scheme] Prereqs for robotic programming

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Tue Feb 17 08:50:33 EST 2009


morally you are correct. It is as irresponsible to call the 'robot  
programming' that currently pervades universities and colleges  
'programming'. Worse, these departments (especially ECEs) tend to  
then add two or three courses on top of such a course and call the  
graduates 'software engineers' simply because states and universities  
grant Engineering schools the right to hand out Engineer titles and  
deny it to other departments. Such students are software engineers  
just as much as a person with two or three courses on pharmaceuticals  
is a pharmacist or a student who has taken physics and two or three  
civ eng courses is a nuclear engineer.

It is simply an embarrassment that we must allow such people to call  
this activity 'programming.'

Pragmatically you are fighting the wrong fight. We have lost the  
fight over 'programming' pure and simple, and we need to conquer the  
upper end of the spectrum. So first and most importantly, don't call  
anything 'programming'. Use 'program design' instead, and on  
occasion, make it very clear that whatever they are doing, program  
design it is not. Second, instead of fighting this effort, embrace  
and attack from the back. Let him teach this course. Then advertise  
with "In Course Robot -1, you have learned just enough to control the  
robot. If you want to understand how software is really designed,  
join my course now and take the next step."

Save your energy and spend it on important fights. Get the best kids  
launched on the path of 'program design.'

-- Matthias

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