[plt-scheme] HTDP - evidently not for everyone.

From: Robby Findler (robby at eecs.northwestern.edu)
Date: Fri Feb 12 09:15:02 EST 2010

With all due respect to your students, wooks, an academic filter is,
in some cases, simply "do you have the money" plus "do you submit an
app". Even at some of the best places (for some of the degree


On Friday, February 12, 2010, wooks <wookiz at hotmail.com> wrote:
> On Feb 12, 12:10 pm, Noel Welsh <noelwe... at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 11:25 AM, wooks <woo... at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> > Insofar as there is a claim that everyone can be taught to program - a
>> > single counterexample  is sufficient to refute that.
>> Sure. I think the claim might be better specified as "everyone can be
>> taught to program, provided sufficient resources are spent".
> See below.
>> > If anybody HTDPer (expert or not) is willing to share their experience
>> > or offer suggestions to overcome the specific problems I have
>> > mentioned and help these students to pass, I'm all ears.
>> I don't have much experience teaching undergrad programming.
> You're subliminally thinking of people who have been academically
> filtered which is not what I am dealing with.
>> That
>> said, my suggestion is to drill the heck out of them. If you show them
>> how to add up the elements of a list, can they then
>> multiply/divide/subtract the elements of a list? Can they then
>> string-append the elements of a list of strings? These are tiny
>> variations on the same problem; hopefully they can make these tiny
>> leaps. I would also demand then follow the recipe. Get them used to
>> the idea that this is like following a recipe -- no thought required.
> I don't know if you read my earlier posts. I'm satisfied I have posted
> enough to claim to have tried all that. I've lost count of the number
> of times I have said and shown how much of a program can be written
> just from knowing the data structure. I have repeated whole lectures
> when it is evident they have not grasped an important point.
> Let me repeat the essence of what I am seeing.
> My students understand sufficiently what is shown in class but cannot
> translate that to the  writing a program (or even a template)
> unaided.  They also cannot cope with a task that is only a slight
> variation from what they have seen and understood in class - like for
> example write count list after being shown and understood how to write
> sum list.
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