RETHINKING THE FIRST YEAR PROGRAMMING COURSE

William David Lubitz

Abstract


The use of microcontrollers in beginning programming classes has been found to increase student learning and enthusiasm. Microcontroller programming has been successfully used in advanced undergraduate courses as a way to reinforce previous learning and to practice design, and in beginning undergraduate courses to introduce basic programming concepts in an engaging and relevant manner. Based on observations in a third year undergraduate course that included both traditional and microcontroller programming, a case is made for using a user-friendly microcontroller, instead of a traditional full-featured language, to teach fundamental programming concepts to novice engineering students.

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