Back to LC & Inventive Users

Richmond Mathewson richmondmathewson at
Fri Aug 12 02:29:21 EDT 2011

On 08/12/2011 01:01 AM, Judy Perry wrote:
> 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 with/know.
> 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.  ;-)

I, in these type of situations, get them to make a "copy" of a pocket 

However, I "don't know" what " IDE, Stack-Card metaphor, commands, 
functions, conditionals, variables..." are . . . I "do know" what 
'containers' and 'beads' are!

Certainly, a calculator that can do +, -, * and / in 90 minutes is 
fairly good in the instant grats stakes.

> Judy
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