Back to LC & Inventive Users

Judy Perry jperryl at
Thu Aug 11 18:01:00 EDT 2011

I have a vague notion of a hands-on assignment for my classes next term 
involving having them use the 30-day demo and making something 
semi-interesting (to them) in LC.

Apparently I did a really sucky job of articulating this to the first 
person I asked, so, here I try, try again, this time including my 
necessary caveats and reasons why:

If you had a month, meaning, 4 long sessions or 8 shorter sessions, to get 
an absolute Joe Public to make something small but semi-interesting in LC, 
i.e., something they couldn't do in PowerPoint, what are the top 5 things 
you'd want them to learn about programming?

I mean, I'm guessing it's something like IDE, Stack-Card metaphor, 
commands, functions, conditionals, variables...  but I'm looking for those 
categories along with some specific examples per my caveats below.


1.  This is a General Education class meaning students either have to take 
this "Computers and Society" course or some biology course involving 
dissection.  This means they don't particularly want to take this class 
but it strikes them as less gross than dissecting worms or heaven know 
what.  But, seriously:  nobody really wants to be there.

2.  #1 above means that student engagement is a MUST.  The point of the 
assignment is NOT to make them hate using computers.  #1 also means that 
some of them barely know how to do attachments with email.  It also means 
that some of them are downright computer-phobic.

3.  No "Hello World."  Sorry, but "Hello World" is a distinct historical 
and cultural artifact to which this audience simply will not relate.  One 
of the rules of interactive system design is that using a computer to do 
something should always offer some seriously compelling reason to do it 
that way as opposed to the way they know, and writing three lines of 
script to put "Hello World" into a text field isn't likely to sound more 
compelling that simply typing it in the field themselves.  The point of 
the assignment is NOT to turn them into programmers but to help them 
appreciate some of the things that go into the applications they use 
everyday and some of the things those programmers have to contend 

4.  Each step or lesson along the way needs to result in something that is 
engaging to the learner.  Current adult learning theory is that adults 
need, yupp, instant gratification, or at least be able to see that they 
are getting somewhere.

5.  No standalone production (I don't want to have to guess at what they 
didn't do correctly).  We may do revlets though.

Ideas, suggestions gratefully accepted; otherwise, I'll just wing it like 
I usually do.  ;-)


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