Hot answers tagged

61

This is a very common problem. Students tend to focus on the stuff they can see, which can be to your benefit (visual programs are more engaging than command line applications), but like you've discovered, it can also be very distracting. I think a lot of the problem can be prevented by adding a disclaimer at the top of assignments. Something like this: ...


25

Make the bells and whistles part of the problems you want them to solve. This is actually a great situation, since your students seem to be really interested in those things and show some intrinsic motivation on working on them. Just think about this, they are actually spending time doing extra work that you didn't even ask them to do! Now you just need to ...


14

I am dismayed that students seem to spend an enormous amount of time straining at gnats, trying to get picky details of the appearance correct. So they are tackling a front-end programming assignment in a way that reflects the reality of the majority of front-end programming. Getting this stuff right or wrong can make the difference to the viability of a ...


14

If you are just trying to teach core programming concepts, and don't want students to be distracted by a GUI, which you yourself avoided by learning in command line programming, have you tried teaching them in command line programming? The GUI can come when they need to learn about the GUI. Get the students to learn the core programming concepts they need ...


9

Part of it may be wanting to have pride in their work, and not knowing (yet) how to direct that urge productively. I also learned in a predominantly CLI environment and I can remember, with a certain degree of chagrin, the things I did beyond the scope of the assignments that are entirely analogous to fiddling with backgrounds and layout. One of the ...


9

Just to check, are you setting expectations correctly? For example, perhaps the reason why the students are focusing so much on the visual appearance is because they think that's the core "point" of the lesson (or the class). If so, that could perhaps be something you could clarify in your rubric or syllabus -- make it clear that you care more about the ...


7

This is an important teachable moment One of the most annoying traits in newer engineers is their "helpfulness." They may not realize that working on tasks outside of their assigned scope can actually be harmful. Often there are separate team members who are specifically assigned the visual stuff, and sometimes there are strict standards, compliance issues, ...


5

I'll have to admit to not actually using Windows Forms Programming, but MS seems to indicate that it is a variation on Model-View-Controller (MVC), in which an underlying model is viewed by one or more Views and controlled by one or more Controllers that connect the Model to the Views. Other systems, such as most of early Java GUI programming fit the same ...


2

Engagement Get them hooked. Find interest for them. Give them some software, and real life items, that have poor user interaction. Have them use them, and then tell you and the class, what they think of them. What they would to to improve them. The book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum — Alan Cooper, has some very good real-world and software examples. ...


2

The last time I took a session on UI, that was when I was teaching these students who had finished a course on C sharp (dot net) and now wanted to build simple UI so they can turn their just learned programming skills into visibly usable software. Since they were on dot net, I advised them to start by building a calculator using WPF. When I say calculator, ...


2

I feel that there is a little bias at play here. In addition to all the answers above, I'd like to mention that you feel that tweaking UI is a waste of time. That's because you inherently feel that such tweaking is off-topic as far as your course is concerned. However, isn't software development all about the complete package? While everyone from your ...


2

I think these are actually two separate problems. Tweaking very specific details Wanting to do stuff beyond the scope of the course The former is potentially harmful. Stress that they will get no points for having a good looking website and that they only get points for functionality. Perhaps even enforce this by restricting the students to using a ...


1

I was today thinking of creating a UI heavy program. It would be some sort of logic game. A possible 1st GUI program could be lights-out. It is mostly GUI, with a little logic ( as a bonus you could explore how to do the logic, XOR, selection, modulo 2 …) You could first model this with cards. Pupils should see that automation would make this easier. But ...


1

I train full stack development and that includes user interfaces (which falls under if not cover the entire gamut of interaction design). When it comes to examples, I talk about the infamous case of how Microsoft screwed up Windows 8. I use Windows 8 because a lot of people are familiar with it and may have actually used it. Or at least read about it. Or ...


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