Q: The first set of lecture slides is very concept-heavy. How much of this do you cover during the first couple weeks, versus getting right into coding? I absolutely know the concepts are important but wonder if it is more helpful to get the students working on something concrete right away, and cover the conceptual pieces along the way.

Corser: There exists a difference of opinion regarding slides and lectures. Some professors support a near 100% lecture concept for in-class time. I support a nearly 100% hands-on programming concept. Others professors fall somewhere in between. I give students access to the slides, but I only discuss certain slides I feel are important for the day’s exercises. When I present topics, I choose a program from the book and demonstrate how to design, code, comment and test the program. The students type the same things I type. It’s like an exercise class but instead of exercising our bodies we’re exercising our minds. I introduce concepts as they are needed. To develop abstract thinking I set aside special class sessions for quiz preparation.

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