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ITEC 120

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Principles of Computer Science I
ITEC120 archive

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ITEC120 is an introduction to programming. It approaches programming as problem-solving, emphasizing:

The material is approached by taking a selected problem, and seeing how to program a solution (introducing language features only as motivated by the problem). Although the course currently teaches these concepts using Java, the content transcends particular langauges and environments. The only pre-requisite is some sort of previous programming experience (or permission of instructor), and high school algebra2. Most students find the course demanding, but also rewarding. Those who want a preparatory course in programming find it helpful to take ITEC 109 before taking ITEC 120.

More concretely, here is a partial list of topics; see also a more complete list.

Course pages, past and present

Can't find (much) info for a particular semester? This might be due to that particular section using course management software such as Desire2Learn or Blackboard (WebCT). (Such pages are available only to enrolled students during that particular semester).

1 This is similar to Extreme Programming's “test-driven design”. Although one purpose of stressing testing early in CS1 could be to ingrain this methodology early, the actual reason it is used here is more practical: writing two to three test cases helps clarify both (a) the problem statement (what the function is supposed to compute), and (b) what steps are involved in computing the answer. Both of these result in students completing their assignments more easily.      

2 In particular, the only concept needed from algebra is that that of a function: something which takes an input and returns a value. Learning to program reinforces the distinction between calling a function and defining a function. While this is easy to say, it takes a while before this concept is ingrained.      

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©2013, Ian Barland, Radford University
Last modified 2014.Jan.18 (Sat)
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