A Concept-First Approach for an Introductory Computer Science Course
Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges
Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges
Several weaknesses have been identified to the programming-first approach often used in introductory computer science courses. Despite these weaknesses, programming continues to be the central focus in CS1 for many institutions. This paper proposes a concept-first approach that can be integrated into existing programming-first curriculum.The approach is based on three principles: a) drawing from the students' everyday experiences to introduce new ideas and skills; b) allowing students time to acquire a foundation in these concepts before introducing a high-level programming language; and c) separating fundamental concepts from language syntax. A feasibility study for integrating this new approach in a CS1 class at USU is described.
DuHadway, L, Clyde, S., Recker, M., & Cooley, D. (2002). A concept-first approach for an introductory computer science course. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 18(2), 6-16.
Originally published by the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges. Publisher's PDF available through remote link.