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Murdoch's AP Computer Science MOOC Goes Live

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the training-tomorrow's-workers-for-today's-market dept.

Education 67

theodp writes "Friday saw the launch of Rupert Murdoch's AP Computer Science MOOC. Taught by an AP CS high school teacher, the Java-centric course has students use the DrJava lightweight development environment for the exercises. 'If this MOOC works,' said Amplify CEO Joel Klein, 'we can think of ways to expand and support it.' Only the first week's videos are posted; course content is scheduled to be presented through March, with five weeks thereafter set aside for AP Exam prep. Might as well check it out, you may have helped pay for it — a MOOC-related Amplify job listing notes that 'This position may be funded, in whole or in part, through American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funds.'"

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Lesson one: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745183)

public class HelloWorld {

        public static void main(String[] args) {
                System.out.println("Hello, World. Obama is a muslim.");
        }

}

Re:Lesson one: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745379)

public class HelloWorld {

        public static void main(String[] args) {

                System.out.println("Hello, World. Obama is a muslim.");

        }

}

Well, given the close-minded leftist bent of most wackademics, competition on multiple fronts is a good thing.

Re:Lesson one: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745515)

Well, given the close-minded leftist bent of most wackademics, competition on multiple fronts is a good thing.

It's so sad when people parrot opinions heard in the media as their own.

Re:Lesson one: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745555)

Yes, two wrongs make a right.

Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#44745205)

I really find it a tedious stumbling block explaining to my kids all the ``public static void main'' stuff --- really wish that Oberon had made it instead. Niklaus Wirth at least has his manuals heading in the right direction (Pascal, hundreds of pages; Modula, a hundred or so, Oberon, dozens).

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745249)

NO.

Python or javascript to start tinkering - the Khan academy stuff with processing.js is quite fun.

Then C when they're ready to start learning how a computer works under the hood.

Followed by scheme & SICP to understand some important principles.

And finally, perhaps java to understand all the OOP crap.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745283)

Javascript is a terrible choice. While many claim that it allows you to get something working quickly because there's nearly no compiler or interpreter type checking, what they really mean is that it allows them to get something not-working quickly, and then very slowly fix it as they discover the problems. When you're learning, it's much better to be told "no, that's wrong" immediately, than to just be told "yeh yeh, it's fine", and have things break in odd ways. Something that enforces fairly strong rules, but doesn't produce nasty error messages that are near impossible to understand is where they should be starting (and your other suggestion of Python is probably a pretty good idea).

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745581)

Python is good in this regard then, as syntax and structures are fairly rigidly enforce.

Perl would also be a good choice, as well as Lua, but it's not nearly as clean-looking as Python (though just as functional), and I have always loved the Perl motto "There Is More Than One Way To Do It."

For it's purpose, though, java works just fine. It's high level enough that you aren't in the weeds dealing with memory locations or garbage collection, yet you can still uncover more advanced material like OOP, threading, etc.

Personally, though, I would still prefer a scripted language for learning the first time.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44746521)

Python would be an even better choice if it weren't dynamically typed. Personally, I think a first learning language should be statically typed - because the concept isn't that hard to learn, and it's better to start with static typing before you move to dynamic typing. This is not to say that Python is a bad language, or even that it is a bad language for first learning; but I think the dynamic typing is the one problem with it as a teaching language.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769291)

As long as it is strongly typed, and python is, it is a decent first language.

Try explaining to a newbie why you have to do this in Java:

ArrayList strings = new ArrayList();

..... String str = (String)strings.get(0);//if you don't explicitly cast it, it will not compile.

WTF is that shit?

Java is not strongly typed, it is stupidly typed.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44784039)

ArrayList<String> strings = new ArrayList<>();

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44745297)

Does anybody know about the historical genesis of the choice?

Was there some aspect of Java that was seen as particularly useful pedagogically, or did somebody get seduced by the 'Java is the Enterprise Language Of The Future, don't you want students to be learning Relevant Job Skills?' line?

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44745381)

As best I can determine:

It was Pascal for many years, which had once been widely used as an introductory language. But by the late-'90s Pascal was starting to be seen as an obsolete choice, and the exam was switched to C++ in 1999, with the justification being that C++ was widely used and more practlcal than Pascal.

However this move was seen by many educators as producing significant teaching complexities, since the classes (partly exacerbated by what material the exam chose to test) ended up spending an inordinate amount of time on accidental complexity that obscured real issues for novice programmers, like how iostreams works. I took AP CS in 1999, and we spent weeks on iostreams, along with miscellaneous other C++-specific nonsense. Dissatisfaction was high enough that the exam fairly quickly abandoned C++, but wasn't willing to go back to Pascal, which was still seen as obsolete. So they moved to Java in 2003, with the justification that Java could exercise many of the same concepts as C++ (you could teach OO and whatnot), but with less up-front complexity for novices. And it's stuck there since.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

Barryke (772876) | about a year ago | (#44745823)

This pretty much sums it up. The big downside to pascal was that it took more effort to run on multiple platforms. Java had that going.

Since then, FPC and Lazarus made things somewhat less complicated but still not easy, and Delphi is barely entering that market now, with Embarcadero recently releasing cross compilers and Firemonkey.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

Barryke (772876) | about a year ago | (#44745827)

I should also mention that there are a LOT of compilers and other solutions available based on the (object) Pascal language today, such as http://smartmobilestudio.com/ [smartmobilestudio.com]
Good times for pascal.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

biobogonics (513416) | about a year ago | (#44747227)

The big downside to pascal was that it took more effort to run on multiple platforms. Java had that going.
Not at all. UCSD Pascal was designed to be easy to port to various architectures. The bottom level was machine code. On top of that was P-code. Most everything including system utilities, editors, compilers was written in P-code.

Turbo Pascal, which I used both on CP/M and MS-DOS introduced a nice fast built in IDE.Compiler, editor and programs shared a common runtime. MS-Windows was written with Pascal in mind. Once upon a time STDCALL meant FAR PASCAL.

The main benefit of Pascal was that it was a good teaching language. It also was designed so that it could compile itself. Its design made 1 or 2 pass compilation easy.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

Barryke (772876) | about a year ago | (#44764957)

I hear you, but Java made that even simpler (to grasp).
You only build (and debug!!!) something (with a GUI) once, and it works for everyone (ok, over 99% of users) that has the (proper) VM installed.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year ago | (#44745861)

I can confirm as the 2002 test was C++. The test required the test-takers to be educated on test-specific classes. I think we used some class called "apstring". Of course you needed to know the ins-outs of that class, but most of the test assumed it was part of the C++ core language. Then you try to do something on your own...

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

SunTzuWarmaster (930093) | about a year ago | (#44747387)

I took the AP CS course in 2003 in C++, and again in 2004 in Java. "Slack off in the computer lab and learn a new programming language", count me in! Later, this proved to be a wise choice.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

devman (1163205) | about a year ago | (#44747491)

Ah yes, good old apvector, apstring, apstack, apqueue and apmatrix (If I missed one let me know.). All those classes were to teach the basics of data structures without getting to involved with the standard library . I took the AP Comp Sci AB exam in 2003 which I believe was the last year for C++ on the exam. The teacher spent the last 2 weeks teaching some basic Java as filler material since that was what the world was heading to he said. When I got to college I didn't see Java again till I took it as an elective in my third year as C++ was still the teaching language at the college.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (4, Informative)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year ago | (#44745525)

Every part of the method declaration you quoted is important for a student to understand. And not just the student who is learning java.

1. "public". This speaks to the difference between public, private and package visible methods. That is to say, information hiding, which is a key concept in object oriented design.

2. "static". This speaks to the difference between class and instance methods. Again, a key concept in object oriented design.

3. "void". Return types. Or, in this case, the lack of one. You'll be hard pressed to learn how to program w/o learning about functions that return a value.

4. "main". This speaks to the need for the operating system to know where to "start" your code when it's executed.

In fact, I'd even go so far as to to say that java being verbose and requiring that these modifiers be explicitly specified is a positive in the context of it being used in a teaching context.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (2, Insightful)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#44745575)

Right, that's 4 concepts which have to be explicitly explained (or passed over) before we even get to how to put a single character on the screen, or add two numbers....

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (2)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year ago | (#44745743)

I'm fine with pausing to explain. Putting "hello world" on the screen isn't worth much if you don't understand the other stuff. In an intro class you could give a cursory mile-high explanation and go into more detail later on. Glossing over the OO concepts is why you get guys in industry who write java like it's C.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#44754069)

To be honest, I find people who write everything like Java is a much bigger problem than people who write java like C. Almost all coders can manage to get their head around OOP, what's rare is one with the breadth of knowledge to understand how to write imperative (but not OO) programs well, how to write functional programs well, how to write logic programs well, and how to know when to use each one of them. The guy who sits there going "zomg, Java, must write OO code" is a moron.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (5, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about a year ago | (#44745969)

Right, that's 4 concepts which have to be explicitly explained (or passed over) before we even get to how to put a single character on the screen, or add two numbers....

Exactly this. It's accidental complexity that has nothing to do with the fundamental tasks of programming that are supposed to the focus of study.

A BASIC/Python "print" or a Pascal "write/writeln" is supposed to be obsolete and clunky, but System.out.println enclosed within a mandatory class that is just not a class, but a public one, with not just a main function, but a static one, and with its name exactly case-matching the filename that declares it while making sure that no other "public" class exists in said filename, that is supposed to be pedagogical progress </rolls eyes>

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (3, Insightful)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44746081)

Programming is hard. News at 11.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44747045)

Programming can be taught hard. But compared to other academic fields, it's relatively easy.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44746241)

Right, that's 4 concepts which have to be explicitly explained (or passed over) before we even get to how to put a single character on the screen, or add two numbers....

Right, that's 4 concepts which have to be understood before we get to put a single character on the screen.

It's a little like cabinet-making. You don't start teaching it by having your student's put together Ikea furniture.

Sure, with Oberon they may get visible results faster, but they entirely miss the fundamental concepts that underpin OO programming (e.g. information hiding, abstraction, polymorphism, etc).

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44747259)

OMG Computer science is Hard. woews meeee!!!

If some one can't understand the 4 basic thing, I don't want them programming computers, thank you very much.
And if you can't easily explain them, I don't want you teaching anyone computer programming.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44746037)

A more detailed description:

1. Visibility - required to show privacy intent of methods, such as restricting scope to internal usage of the module you are working on. Restricted visibility methods can still be used vis a vis java's reflection API, thus visibility is better thought of as an intent.

2. Static - determines whether you require an instance of the class in order to use said method and asserts that there will be only one shared copy of it. Choice of using static means that the method is available when the class is loaded, even when instances of the class do not exist. Static methods may be preferable for simple utility classes that do not require or work with a pre-defined or global class state (e.g. construction variables) or as an alternative to methods in a class using the singleton pattern. The caveat is that static methods can only use static class variables or variables passed in as arguments, "this" (the static method's class instance) cannot be used by static methods.

3. Return types - Java is a strongly typed language meaning that it is preferable to specify the exact type of your method result (you could use "Object" everywhere but this would cause other problems). This is not so much for the machine's benefit but to help prevent bugs, not necessarily compiler errors, that can occur in other languages (e.g. bad arithmetic such as printing the string "1234"+1 - which is not the same as 1234+1 etc.). It also allows you to perform type specific functions on your returned value, e.g. if you're using a String you may want to use myString.trim() which would not be possible.without specifying (at some point) that it is a String.

4. The method name - if "main" it is java application's first point of execution.

This looks complicated, especially 2, but as the basics of pretty much every C derived modern language it doesn't get much more difficult and if these concepts can't be fully understood arguably said individuals are working in the wrong field. If somebody taught me about plane flight controls and I roughly understood 80% of them properly, I could probably fly a plane but you wouldn't want me as a pilot because that 20% may have included the landing gear release. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing made worse by the fact it gives false confidence.

P.S. Have fun with transient, volatile and synchonized.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752519)

Why not dump object-oriented design and restrict an introductory programming course to the more intuitive imperative/structured programming model. If you started with C, you could remove "public" and "static" and easily explain what remains:

#include

int main(void)
{
        printf("hello, world\n");
}

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (4, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about a year ago | (#44745797)

I really find it a tedious stumbling block explaining to my kids all the ``public static void main'' stuff --- really wish that Oberon had made it instead. Niklaus Wirth at least has his manuals heading in the right direction (Pascal, hundreds of pages; Modula, a hundred or so, Oberon, dozens).

As a professional who has done Java for application (enterprise/web/web service) and system/network protocol development for 12 years, I would say no. Java is not a good choice for a beginning or even intermediate level programming curriculum. As a very productive platform for developing robust systems, Java delivers.

For pedagogical purposes, specially as a starting programming language, it is atrocious. I would have preferred Python or Ruby focusing first on procedural programming, leaving object and functional features for later (rarely does a student leverages OOP and FP cleanly without having a good grasp of procedural programming, data structures and algorithms.) Or *gasp* BASIC or a Pascal variant or even C (students need to know right of the bat what a segfault is.)

I would typically choose Java for development of robust systems. I would never use it as a language in an into-to-programming course.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745973)

Ruby and Python are scripting languages. Students are better off being exposed to Java or C++ from the start so they can see if they have the knack for programming or not. Sink or swim, as it were. Putting students on scripting languages just creates the perception that they are doing true software development when they are not. If you're going to use Python or Ruby you might as well put them on VBScript or JavaScript. Or go whole hog and put them on CoffeeScript so they don't have to deal with the agony of curly braces and proper formatting.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (2)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about a year ago | (#44746029)

Ruby and Python are scripting languages. Students are better off being exposed to Java or C++ from the start so they can see if they have the knack for programming or not. Sink or swim, as it were. Putting students on scripting languages just creates the perception that they are doing true software development when they are not. If you're going to use Python or Ruby you might as well put them on VBScript or JavaScript. Or go whole hog and put them on CoffeeScript so they don't have to deal with the agony of curly braces and proper formatting.

That's bull. Scripting or otherwise doesn't make a difference for the tasks of learning the basics. Again, based on my 12 years of programming experience with Java, Java is not a good pedagogical choice. And C++ (where I also have work experience)? Please, that's another bad choice. Too many semantic subtleties that have nothing to do with elemental programming tasks. Plain old C is a much better pedagogical option. Like C++, no memory management and plenty of segfaults and pointer management. Unlike C++, no semantic complexities related to OOP, STL, IO streams, clunky/incomplete exception handling mechanisms and the like.

At that level, I'm interested in a student to immediately know how to focus on the details of an algorithmic solution, and the essence of data structures and basic control flows. I'm interested in him/her understanding procedural programming principles.

All the additional semantic baggage that comes with Java and C++ (a function of what *WE* thought was essential language/compiler design principles at the time) just get in the way.

Moreover, this semantic baggage requires the learner to have a certain programming dexterity on the fundamentals that are better obtained when we focus on those alone. Yes, I believe in sink-or-swim as well. But do it with purpose by exposing the essential complexity of programming, not because we suck monkey gonads at choosing our pedagogical tools.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (-1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44747299)

Maybe the problem is you are too stupid to understand complex things?

" Too many semantic subtleties that have nothing to do with elemental programming tasks.
Apparently I am right.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about a year ago | (#44750113)

Maybe the problem is you are too stupid to understand complex things?

" Too many semantic subtleties that have nothing to do with elemental programming tasks. Apparently I am right.

Since insulting seems the way to prove you are right (or let me say "your right" so that you get a chance to bash teh gramm3r), maybe I should just let you assume the answer to your question since you seem to be the pedagogical expert here.

See, your typical answer indicates with almost certainty that you are a) either an inexperienced fanboi or perhaps b) an idiot savant that might have many years of experience, and still be an idiot savant. Perhaps you might be c) a software Sheldon Cooper, but probability alone would dictate that you are either a) or b).

This has nothing to do with me being able to grasp complex software/CS concepts. Perhaps your infantile reading comprehension betrayed you and did not catch the part where I said I've been a software professional for many,many years using Java and C++ for both application and system/embedded development. I'm pretty sure I can draw circles on those languages around many of the self-proclaimed geeks in this site.

It has nothing to do with me. But it has everything to do with teaching an elementary programming course. The consensus among most Java and C++ professionals has always been that either language is piss poor as a programming language FOR AN ELEMENTARY PROGRAMMING COURSE. The few who disagree either have a vested interest while selling Java or C++ books or are academics who have done little to no programming for a living.

Or maybe I'm stupid as you said. I'll weight the substance of each other arguments and see who is the most logically backed-up one. As for you, I will leave you with your high schoolish name calling.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44748899)

Unless you want your students to only use scripting languages and whitespace formatting forever, you're setting them up for failure. What are they to do when they get into the real world and run into "semantic baggage" languages in the enterprise space? Become website designers because programming is too hard? If they can't grasp OOP up front then they shouldn't be programmers.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about a year ago | (#44750599)

Unless you want your students to only use scripting languages and whitespace formatting forever, you're setting them up for failure.

This only true if the student does not cover anything but scripting languages. That is not an argument that I made, but don't let that stop you from building a straw man.

What are they to do when they get into the real world and run into "semantic baggage" languages in the enterprise space?

Well, what is a student to do in the real world when they encounter the "semantic baggage" of the enterprise with only one or two introductory programming courses using either C++ or Java? Would you expect a student to be able to be capable to deal with the real world with a course or two, regardless of the programming language used?

Obviously not. So your question is moot and not really meaningful. A person is supposed to get grilled through a curriculum of programming courses, ideally exposing them to a variety of programming languages and paradigms.

Become website designers because programming is too hard?

No. Selecting an appropriate kaleidoscope of programming languages and paradigms that allow a constructive introduction of hard subjects, starting from the basics of problem solving and control structures, models of computation with minimum baggage possible. Can be Python, BASIC, Lisp, Pascal or C. Hell, it can be even Assembly (that's how it was done before with good results anyways.)

I don't care what language you chose for teaching, one or two elementary courses will never equip anyone to the real world. Furthermore, Java, C++, Scala, C#, Erlang or Haskel are not appropriate for that level of teaching. They are great languages at the intermediate or advance level, after the prospective student has been grilled on the basics in a repetitive fashion in one or more of the languages I mentioned before (C, Python/Ruby kept proceduraly, or BASIC.)

Then, once a person has gone through a barrage of programming problems, and with a solid grasp of procedural programming, then they can move to object oriented and functional programming. Why? Because by now they can focus on those topics alone as opposed to having to deal them (quite ineffectively) while still wondering whether to use a for loop or a while loop (I see that a lot with schools that insist in teaching with Java or C++ from the start.)

If they can't grasp OOP up front then they shouldn't be programmers.

And yet, you see (or I least I see) the industry full of professional programmers who are shitty OOP programmers because they can't grasp the fundamental programming principles behind procedural and modular programming. They can't tell me for shit the difference between a class and a struct or plain record, or what makes them different from a ADT. Because they can't still get proper layering of their system because they never really understood what modular programming does for you. Because they never quite got enough homework or work that drill down the concept of divide-and-conquer.

People think "oh yes, I know OOP" and yet they can't tell me how they measure coupling or cohesion in a systematic manner. They can't tell me why delegation and composition is better than plain inheritance. But they can write classes in C++ and Java with their eyes closed like idiot savants.

They can't tell me how or why to layer their classes vertically and horizontally which is something a person can easily deduce if he knows modular programming in a cold-turkey manner.

They think they do not need to know about Cyclomatic complexity because he doesn't use functions but methods. Yes, I've seen people saying that (producers of hyper spaghetti code). They have no clue what basic things LCOM or "tell, don't ask" principles are for, but they sure know how to create class hierarchies in diagrams resembling the death start.

If you are a good OOP programmer, chances are this is so because you understand implicitly (or explicitly via a proper educational curriculum) what procedural programming, modular programming and ADTs are. OTH, if you are a shitty programmer, you have no clue when to shift from paradigm to paradigm or how one paradigm builds from another and how all contributes to developing real OOP systems. And chances are it was because you went to one of those Universities that turned themselves into Java or C++ vocational shops.

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44752583)

That stuff is for later courses. Everyone, not just CS majors, would benefit from a introductory course, so it's not wasting their time to start with something like C. And guess what, C is used an awful lot...

Re:Was Java a good choice for the AP requirement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44769667)

How are Ruby and python scripting languages?

You have an odd definition of scripting language.

Helpfull (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745277)

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Habitatfit! [habitatfit.com]

"Java" and "lightweight" in one sentence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745287)

...head explodes.

Re:"Java" and "lightweight" in one sentence... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44745367)

It's today's doublespeak. Rather than freedom is slavery etc, we get:

1. Slashdot is news for nerds
2. Java is lightweight
3. ...
4. Profit!

Re:"Java" and "lightweight" in one sentence... (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44745377)

...head explodes.

Be fair: I ordered an extra 16 GB of RAM not long ago, and the two DIMMs together only weighed maybe 50 grams.

Re:"Java" and "lightweight" in one sentence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745467)

I had to check the SO-DIMMs in my laptop: 8g/8GB-stick. Java has gotten crazy lightweight.

Re:"Java" and "lightweight" in one sentence... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44746045)

I haven't been able to figure out how I should calculate the nonvolatile storage requirements, though: HDDs are pretty heavy; but modifying the magnetic orientation shouldn't change their weight. SSDs tend to be lighter; but copying data to one means adding electrons to some of the floating gates (though exactly how many is tricky to calculate) and so there should be an actual change in mass.

MOOC (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745315)

Nothing on the site explained what "MOOC" stood for, including the FAQ where it should have been question and answer #1. Luckily Google helped me out, but it's still something that should be front and center on the site. This is like Communications 101: define your jargon/acronym the first time it's displayed, don't just assume everyone knows what you're talking about. It's indicative that these people are so far up their own ass they just assume everyone already is on the same page as they are.

Re:MOOC (2)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year ago | (#44745537)

What is a FAQ? I don't see it defined in your post.

Re:MOOC (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745623)

"Nothing on the site explained what "MOOC" stood for"

and your not going to tell us either.

I guess the MO stands for Massively Online
And C stands for Course

I can't guess what the other O is for

Some wear "O" for the rainbow
Weigh a pie

Re:MOOC (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year ago | (#44745875)

Maybe it stands for "MOO Cow". It is actually a Gateway computer in disguise!

MOOC: Definition (Massively Open Online Course) (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a year ago | (#44748249)

Das Wiki has it here [wikipedia.org] :

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs). MOOCs are a recent development in distance education.[1]

Features associated with early MOOCs, such as open licensing of content, open structure and learning goals, and connectivism may not be present in all MOOC projects,[2] in particular with the 'openness' of many MOOCs being called into question[3] raising issues around the 'reuse' and 'remixing' of resources.[4]

The three main present biggies are compared on this NYT article: Coursera, Edx and Udacity.

Rupert Murdoch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745429)

What does Rupert Murdoch know about computers? I know he doesn't actually teach the course, but why would anyone think his course is going to be any good?

It's unlikely anyone would go on the Tonka School for Watch Making, the Walmart School of Local Economics or the GoDaddy School of Customer Service, why does Murdoch get any love?

huh (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year ago | (#44745447)

Does DrJava really add that much over vanilla eclipse? If I were a student, I might prefer an environment that more closely mirrors what's actually used in the workplace.

Re:huh (1)

chill (34294) | about a year ago | (#44745945)

Eclipse requires a class or two unto itself. DrJava is easier to get started and focusing on learing JAVA and not the IDE.

Re:huh (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year ago | (#44748107)

There's plenty of complexity in Eclipse, but if all you want to do is create a simple project, run it, and watch the console output then it's not that hard. An added benefit is that whatever the student learns about the IDE at least has the potential to be relevant, which isn't the case with DrJava.

Why Java? (2)

ggpauly (263626) | about a year ago | (#44745473)

Python already has a dictator - no role for Rupert.

Lisp is illegal in Russia.

Google uses it so it must be good.

Java is maintained by a large corporation.

Java is not a functional language.

Too many third-world software designers already - first world kids should learn to become something non-exportable like plumbers, waits, or politicians.

Smart phones!

Rupert thought it was just like Javascript, only shorter.

Teaching a language they could use would be too dangerous. Leave cracking to the Nazional Sekurit Apparatus.

Paid off.

Re:Why Java? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44767703)

What? Java is required by the AP test; Murdoch didn't have a choice in the matter. I hereby declare your joke null and void.

Ugh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745509)

Great, a whole new breed of morons coding in Java.

Sesame Street to launch STEM MOOC (ElMO-OC?) (1)

theodp (442580) | about a year ago | (#44745551)

Sesame Street Widens Its Focus [nytimes.com] : On Sept. 24, the material - as well as new videos, online and mobile games, and parent and teacher resources - will find a new home online when Sesame Workshop unveils a hub on the Sesame Street Web site called Little Discoverers: Big Fun With Science, Math and More. In one game, little fingers manipulate a virtual spring to launch pieces of trash into Oscar the Grouch's trash can, a Sesame Street version of Angry Birds.

The K-12 education market .. (3, Insightful)

codeusirae (3036835) | about a year ago | (#44745647)

'Asserting that the K-12 education market is “ripe for disruption [publishersweekly.com] " Joel Klein, former New York City schools chancellor, now executive v-p at News Corp. and director of Amplify, its education unit, offered a presentation of Amplify’s business model and plans to release hardware and software solutions`

No comment necessary ...

AP Speeling might be an appropriate pre-req (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44745727)

Eeeesh, do they have anyone edit the copy:

"A dashboard and a in-detail view of student progress and performance
A library of supplement resources for inrichment of remediation
Forums connection coaches, a dedicated support staff, and more"

Dwight Schultz: A-Team meets ST:Voyager (3, Funny)

Barryke (772876) | about a year ago | (#44745793)

Am i the only one that was hoping this to be a story about crazy ass pilot Murdock (actor Dwight Schultz) from the A-Team having built a computer laboratory/system much in the spirit of programmer Zimmerman (actor Dwight Schultz), the creator of the EMH (Emergency Medical Holographic) doctor program from Voyager?

I hope not..

Re:Dwight Schultz: A-Team meets ST:Voyager (2)

horm (2802801) | about a year ago | (#44746307)

Robert Picardo played Zimmerman/EMH. Dwight Schultz played Barclay.

Re:Dwight Schultz: A-Team meets ST:Voyager (1)

Barryke (772876) | about a year ago | (#44764897)

Right i must have been confuzzled.

IdeoneAPI in the backend (1)

kuszi (3040177) | about a year ago | (#44749333)

I was waiting for such a course with our API [ideone.com] in the backend and here it is :)

Safety can be bad (1)

miroku000 (2791465) | about a year ago | (#44749567)

Whatever language is used for introductory programming, I think a few bad features are automatic initialization of variables, and being case insensitive. If you learn to program on languages with these features, it is difficult to adapt to C. In other news, it is better to learn about addition before multiplication. Also, it is better to learn about summation before you learn about integrals.

Lesson 1: Don't teach JAVA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44750131)

Lesson 1: Don't teach JAVA.

MIT switched to Python years ago. With very good reason.

I'm from the age when we were taught FORTRAN66. I've seen and used lots of languages - Java made sense until around 2007, since then scripting languages make more sense, unless you need the power of C/C++.

The only people who should bother with Java are Android devs ... until a great implementation of "Go" is available on that platform.

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