[racket] Whither ProfessorJ

From: Stephen Bloch (sbloch at adelphi.edu)
Date: Tue Jan 17 11:13:59 EST 2012

On Jan 17, 2012, at 8:27 AM, Matthias Felleisen wrote:

> For the book itself, I now think I took the wrong approach. While  
> it is theoretically arranged properly -- especially the decision to  
> model information with class based data w/o creating methods -- it  
> doesn't suit the psychology of most students and teachers.

Students (and teachers, including me) want to be able to actually DO  
something as soon as possible.  I liked the approach in HtDP: here's  
a data type, here's how to write functions using that data type;  
here's another data type, and here's how to write functions using it.

The last time I taught a Java-based first-year course, I started with  
Strings and how to call methods on them;
then how to write static methods with String parameters;
then numbers and how to write static methods with numeric parameters;
then classes with fields and how to write static methods with  
parameters of such types;
then non-static methods; then conditionals on built-in types;
then polymorphism via conditionals;
then polymorphism via interface inheritance;
then class composition and how to write methods on composed classes;
then recursive classes and how to write methods on them;
then Java collection classes and looping over them; etc.

I think this was a lot more concrete and fulfilling than building a  
whole lot of different kinds of classes, through polymorphism, class  
composition, and recursion, before ever writing a method.

Stephen Bloch
sbloch at adelphi.edu

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