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An introduction to computer science for non-majors using principles of computation

An introduction to computer science for non-majors using principles of computation An Introduction to Computer Science for Non-majors Using Principles of Computation Thomas J. Cortina Computer Science Department Carnegie Mellon University tcortina@cs.cmu.edu ABSTRACT In this paper, the design and implementation of a novel introductory computer science course for non-majors is presented. This course focuses on the major contributions in computer science from the perspective of the process of computation. This course differs from most introductory courses in computer science in that it does not include programming using a computer programming language. Students focus on algorithms and the principle of computational thinking, and use a flowchart simulator to experiment with various short algorithms and build simple computer games without dealing with programming language syntax. Steadily increasing enrollments and interest from various departments on campus indicate that this course has become a successful addition to our introductory CS offerings. Observing my students for over a decade of teaching introductory computer programming, it became clear that for non-technical non-majors (i.e. students in majors that were not purely mathematical, scientific or engineering oriented), the preciseness and detail needed to write computer programs correctly was overwhelming. Additionally, informal surveys with these students indicated that they took the course because they were required to, yet http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

An introduction to computer science for non-majors using principles of computation

Association for Computing Machinery — Mar 7, 2007

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Datasource
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by ACM Inc.
ISBN
1-59593-361-1
doi
10.1145/1227310.1227387
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

An Introduction to Computer Science for Non-majors Using Principles of Computation Thomas J. Cortina Computer Science Department Carnegie Mellon University tcortina@cs.cmu.edu ABSTRACT In this paper, the design and implementation of a novel introductory computer science course for non-majors is presented. This course focuses on the major contributions in computer science from the perspective of the process of computation. This course differs from most introductory courses in computer science in that it does not include programming using a computer programming language. Students focus on algorithms and the principle of computational thinking, and use a flowchart simulator to experiment with various short algorithms and build simple computer games without dealing with programming language syntax. Steadily increasing enrollments and interest from various departments on campus indicate that this course has become a successful addition to our introductory CS offerings. Observing my students for over a decade of teaching introductory computer programming, it became clear that for non-technical non-majors (i.e. students in majors that were not purely mathematical, scientific or engineering oriented), the preciseness and detail needed to write computer programs correctly was overwhelming. Additionally, informal surveys with these students indicated that they took the course because they were required to, yet

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