[CS-FSLUG] Intro to Programming Question

Tim Young Tim.Young at LightSys.org
Mon Apr 23 07:59:20 CDT 2012

I recently loaded a computer full of education software from 
educational-freeware.com to send to some relatives.  In doing so, I 
saw a few very interesting pieces of software which were set up to 
teach basic programming concepts.  Their primary draw was that they 
gave very good visual feedback for the minimal amount of work.  The 
idea being that it did not take too long to to build something that 
you could see.

The old, text-based, basic languages (which I learned how to program 
in) took a long time to make anything visual.  Never-the-less, some 
of my first programs were animated cartoons.  And most of my initial 
college-level programs that I remember were somehow visual in nature.

I think one of the draws of Java is that, if you are making an 
applett or something small that runs in a browser, you can make 
graphics relatively quickly.

I have heard of a number of universities using Java as their initial 
language.  Since that was not my first language, the first thought 
that always comes to mind is, "Wimps!" ;)  But Java does have most of 
the key points for a real language, and people are still paid to 
program in it.  So it is appealing because students starting out get 
"instant gratification" and it is something that looks good on the 

     - Tim Young

On 4/23/2012 4:16 AM, Don Parris wrote:
> I saw a college course whose "Intro to Programming" class covers MS 
> Access and Java.  That just seems weird to me.  I can kind of 
> understand using Access to introduce basic database concepts, but 
> I've never really thought of Java as a starting point for 
> programming.  I would have expected BASIC, PHP or Python.  In fact, 
> given that the class connects to web programming, I was a little 
> surprised PHP wasn't the choice.
> Any thoughts on Java as a starting point for teaching programming 
> concepts?
> Thanks!
> Don
> -- 
> D.C. Parris, FMP, ESL Certificate
> Minister, Security/FM Coordinator, Free Software Advocate
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