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Integrating information technology and programming in a freshmen computer science course

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2 Author(s)
Raymond, D.R. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., US Mil. Acad., West Point, NY, USA ; Welch, D.J., Jr.

All 1100 first-year students at the US Military Academy at West Point are required to take the course CS105 (“Introduction to Computing”), in which we teach basic information technology (IT) concepts and introduce the cadets to problem solving that forms the foundation of the engineering design methodology. The cadets must leave our course with enough understanding to thrive as students and officers in an increasingly digitized Army, and our goal is to integrate the IT (particularly networking) and programming lessons without sacrificing understanding of problem solving and basic programming constructs. By teaching problem-solving in the IT domain, instead of teaching IT and programming in distinct phases, we hope the synergy will provide a deeper understanding of information infrastructures. We ran a pilot during the Spring term of the academic year 1999-2000 to evaluate our success at achieving synergy between the IT and programming topics. The results from the pilot are very encouraging. Based on subjective evaluations by instructors and term-end exam results, it seems that we've achieved our goal of improving the cadets' understanding of both IT and problem-solving concepts

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 2000. FIE 2000. 30th Annual  (Volume:1 )

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