[plt-scheme] Prereqs for robotic programming

From: Marco Morazan (morazanm at gmail.com)
Date: Tue Feb 17 10:23:50 EST 2009


That is a bitter pill to swallow.

Have you ever seen students sit and randomly tweak code to try to get
a robot to move in a circle? I have and it was disturbing. It was
clear to me that they had no real clue about: 1) what needed to be
done and 2) how to design code for what needed to be done.
Respectfully, I doubt they will ever learn enough to control the robot
in such a course. Nonetheless, I hear you and I need to think deeply
about it despite wholeheartedly agreeing that it is an embarrassment
to call such an activity programming.


On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 8:50 AM, Matthias Felleisen
<matthias at ccs.neu.edu> wrote:
> Marco,
> 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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