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6

Since you've described this a standalone course, I'd treat it as a "computer literacy" sort of thing. I wrote another answer yesterday that got me thinking about what topics everyone should know about computer science, which I'm adapting here. I like that you're starting with basic computer architecture. People should understand that there are logical rules ...


5

I am not so certain about teaching people to program by starting out with something like modding Minecraft. There are a lot of technical details that someone just learning to program shouldn't be required to understand or worry about. However, Minecraft can still be excellent playground to learn to program by using pre-made mods like ComputerCraft that add ...


4

My recommendation is draw from Brian Kernighan's course at Princeton that is designed for a similar audience to what you have. Here is the course material from Fall 2014. A few key lines from the course summary: This course is meant for humanities and social sciences students who want to understand how computers and communications systems work and ...


3

I am currently using Minecraft (especially Minecraft realms) to teach my developers (not starters but folks who have already covered some distance) how to work in team and also to improve their spatial and logical thinking. Also math, to some extent. So, first up, I am using Minecraft to teach, but not the basics of programming. If you wish to introduce ...


3

I'd really recommend adding some materials on security and cryptography. You don't need to get into the nitty gritty details of how it's implemented. I think that everyone should learn a bit (pun intended) about what encryption is and how and why security works so they can be informed. I think what's particularly practical would be a lesson on how to use ...


3

I would start by showing them a few natural language examples, where changing one letter in a sentence completely changes the meaning, perhaps into nonsense. Most computer languages respond similarly to almost any syntax change. Then show students program lines with correct and incorrect syntax (of typical mistakes, perhaps taken from previous sessions of ...


1

There are two things you can do (among others). Fixer Upper: Having students finish or repair a program that you create is a useful early exercise. In particular, you can give them a program larger than they would be expected to write themselves. It needs to have excellent design/coding. But you have either removed or carefully broken a few parts before ...


1

First, a caveat: I usually teach software design, and have only taught basic programming to maybe 150 to 200 students. That said, I'm not a huge fan of visual devices in teaching basic program structures (like selection, loops, and variable manipulation) because the art of programming involves writing at its core. Doing that feels like I'm teaching somepony ...


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