[plt-scheme] Prereqs for robotic programming

From: Anthony Cowley (acowley at seas.upenn.edu)
Date: Tue Feb 17 10:43:37 EST 2009

On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 10:29 AM, Marco Morazan <morazanm at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The gravest concern is that they will come OUT of your colleague's course
>> thinking they know how to program.
> That is, indeed, the gravest concern and why I would like Prof. BW to
> embrace program design in his intro to robotics course. The resistance
> to this suggestion is overwhelming. It is like an article of faith
> that program design does not apply to programming robots......
> I must admit that distinguishing program design from programming feels
> most unnatural to me.....

Many robotics courses also feature CS students trying to solder. Most
don't come out of the course thinking themselves experts in
electronics, much less electrical system design, but the experience is
still valuable if it engenders in the students a greater respect for
that which they do not know. As others have suggested, some students
will come out of the course with a newfound desire to understand why
programming was so hard in the robotics course, and these students can
ride this new motivation into becoming proper programmers.

Also, just to set the record straight, students can be remarkably
resourceful. You will often have some students who came in with little
programming knowledge produce final projects of several hundreds lines
of code evincing fairly complex behaviors. Again, it's not pretty
code, but a significant positive outcome is how the experience
demonstrated to them the limits of bunging all your ideas into one big
Matlab script.


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