I teach an intro programming course in a social science department. My field is geographic information systems. The goal for the course is for the students to understand scripting in an interpreted language so that they can automate analytical workflows or add custom functionality to off-the-shelf software. The language we use is Python, but the question is more general than that.
Programming languages have some way of obtaining input and displaying output. There is a long tradition in computer science of starting with
"Hello, World!" as a basic program that produces output. Additionally, output statements can be used to display the state of variables for debugging purposes. Introducing input and output is common in computer science textbooks (Think Python 1.3 The first program) as well as domain specific texts such as the one that I use for this course.
The problem I am running into is that beginning students can't seem to unlearn this after we move on to new material. Throughout the semester they turn in assignments that are littered with unnecessary
Q. Is it necessary or advisable to teach text-based input and output (e.g. Python's
print functions) in a non-CS intro programming course?
Is there pedagogical value? Does it teach something necessary? If so, can it be delayed? What are the alternatives, or is there no alternative?