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Pulling The Plug On The Pedagogical Pacifier By Placing Programming Courses On Line

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.433.1 - 4.433.12

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Paper Authors

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Thomas Walker

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Jan Helge Bøhn

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1353

Pulling The Plug On The Pedagogical Pacifier By Placing Programming Courses On-line Thomas Walker, Jan Helge Bohn Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


For decades, engineering classrooms have changed little. The blackboard is still very prominent in engineering classrooms as is the overhead projector. These two appliances are used more than any other to present material to engineering students in the classroom. Certainly, some classrooms have other mediums present that are used occasionally; the TV/VCR combination, the computer monitor, the computer/LCD projector are examples. However, in most cases, these are used in such a way that they are simply color blackboards and color overhead projectors.

There has been, on the other hand, continuous improvement in engineering text books; most significantly in the quality of the graphics and in the use of color, but also in overall readability. Additionally, many texts come with software to assist the student and the instructor. The CDROM that comes with the classic Halliday and Resnick physics text is an example.1 The reason for this continuous improvement is simple – there is tremendous competition among publishers and they are constantly pushing their authors to produce new testbook editions with multimedia content and/or computer-aided learning modules.

The most notable change is in student “equipment”. Powerful, programmable calculators with graphical user interfaces and constant memory allow students to solve differential equations and LaPlace transforms easily. Many of these calculators now have infrared input/output capability for connection to a personal computer. Personal computers offer the students more than the main frames of thirty years ago because of inexpensive application software, Web browsers and EMAIL. CAD software has replaced the drafting kits of yesterday. Availability is a key factor – these tools are at the student’s beck and call “24 by 7”.

Of course, instructors have access to the same tools with the same availability. The common bookkeeping tasks have become easier as well as those involving word processing and presentation. Instructors communicate with their students and have Web pages for their courses. Some instructors use internet “chat rooms” and “list servers” to encourage student interaction. Using software such as Microsoft’s Netmeeting, an instructor can take control of a student’s computer remotely and simultaneously talk to them over the internet. Even a small color camera

Walker, T., & Bøhn, J. H. (1999, June), Pulling The Plug On The Pedagogical Pacifier By Placing Programming Courses On Line Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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