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Computer Programming: Fail Fast to Learn Sooner

  • Miguel A. Brito
  • Filipe de Sá-Soares
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 73)

Abstract

Computer programming is not only to know about the languages or the processes, it is essentially to know how to do it. This involves a constructivist approach in learning. For a newbie in computer programming it is hard to understand the difference between know-about disciplines and the know-how-to-do-it ones. This leads to failure because when they understand they aren’t able to solve a programming problem it is usually too late to catch all the time meanwhile lost. Our solution is to get them to fail soon enough. This way they still have time to recover from an eventually bad start.

For an average student to realize a failure it is required a failed examination. This is the fourth year we are adopting automated weekly tests for fast failure and consequent motivation for study, in the university first year discipline of computer programming fundamentals. The results are convincing.

Keywords

programming education learning and teaching computer programming to novice students constructivism 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel A. Brito
    • 1
  • Filipe de Sá-Soares
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of MinhoGuimarãesPortugal

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