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The Freshman Programming Course: A New Direction

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.462.1 - 1.462.10

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Paper Authors

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William H. Jermann

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

Session 1532


William H. Jermann The University of Memphis


For decades typical Electrical Engineering curricula have included a freshman-level course in computer programming. In earlier days, this course included segments related to operating a card punching machine as well as detailed coverage of the FORTRAN programming Language. Now the course frequently involves use of a more modern programming language such as c or c++ operating under a system that supports integrated developmental environments [1], [2]. Typical engineering freshmen may already be highly computer literate. Not only may they be competent internet surfers, but they frequently enter college experienced in using many software packages, and may even have developed significant skills in program writing. A traditional freshman-level course in computer programming may no longer be appropriate. An introductory course that emphasizes program modularity and code reusability may have sound educational benefits. The concept of code reusability not only relates to developing subprograms that can be used subsequently, but incorporates use of previously written code that may have been developed in a different programming language. Course material that emphasizes these concepts may introduce both sound problem solving techniques and principles applicable to engineering design. WHERE WE ARE AND HOW WE GOT HERE

The University of Memphis is a somewhat traditional academic institution. Rather than being just a major network node connected to student nodes on the network, we still have classes for real-time students, and still view education rather than information interchange as our primary mission. Yet, the onset of the information age has not completely passed us by. The introductory freshman-level course in electrical engineering at one time concentrated on types of engineering jobs with an introduction to the engineering profession. Now it includes searching the internet for information, turning in assignments both on floppy

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Jermann, W. H. (1996, June), The Freshman Programming Course: A New Direction Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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