How would you teach a CompSci class?

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I'm teaching an adult/continuing education class on Swift using the Pearson Certification course, and I'm in a jam - it's designed to be a ~46 hour certification, but we only have 14 hours of class time. I'm not sure of people's level coming in, but I do recognize that we're short on time. Given that, I have some questions that I think you folks would be well equipped to help me out with:

  • What are some things that you wish you had learned as a beginning programmer?
  • What teaching style do you think is the best way to learn?
  • Do you think having students pair program would be beneficial?

I'd love to know the thoughts of the masses! Any nugget of guidance would help me out :)

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One lesson I always remember from my first programming class (which was in middle school)

The teacher gave us the code for a fully working game -- he showed us how to run it and play it. It was a slot machine. Then he told us to change the code so that we always win.

It was fun seeing a lot of code (way more than I could possibly write at the time) and to figure out how to navigate it and find things. The resulting difference was pretty small. This was long before code editors and IDEs (1983 PET Basic), but the idea of finding things in large codebases has been an invaluable skill.

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Mikol Aspinwall profile image
programming enthusiast, BA at 17, dev@*