Fall 2020, CS 1013: Programming Concepts-Beginner Level
Since programming has become an essential computational in many disciplines, this course will be made available to undergraduate students, across all disciplines, who have never programmed before. This course will primarily use the free-source
platform Alice, a block-based programming environment that will allow students to develop animation, narrative story-boards, and create simple 3D games. The block-based nature of the platform removes the technical and syntactic complexities of programming and instead focuses on teaching logical, computational thinking and fundamental concepts of programming (with a focus on object-oriented programming) through creative exploration. There is a textbook, “Alice 3 to Java: Learning Creative Programming through Storytelling and Gaming”, which the students can use for additional help. Towards the end of the course, students will be introduced to actual Java programming (using BlueJ as the IDE), where they will get to map and apply the concepts they learned with Alice. The final exam for the course will be project-based, where students get to ‘program’ a robot for an activity of their choice. The NeuLog Sense and Lego Mindstorms EV3 have a very simple block-based programming environment. For students, who want to challenge themselves, iRobot Create 2 and TurtleBot3 are a good place to start. Interested students can continue using these robots for pursuing undergraduate research even after the course is over.