Archive for April 18, 2012
Interesting question, beyond asking what is computational thinking: If you require “programming,” what counts as “programming”? The Chronicle asks, does typesetting in LaTeX count?
I’m interested in how the non-CS community will answer that question. What will programming look like for “everyone else,” the non-CS majors, those who aren’t professional software developers? I’m fascinated by CSound, the music and sound synthesis language. There are no looping structures, just go-to. If your first thought is “it looks like assembly language,” check your CS-informed biases at the door, please. If you don’t know what “assembly language” is, what is CSound? Almost none of the examples include looping or conditionals. But for me, it’s definitely programming. What is our bottomline of what is programming, and in particular, for what communities of practice?
We’ve discussed this before here at the blog, and I suggested that the definition of “programming” be broadly defined to include any creative work that gets a computer to work beyond its basic feature set. So, for example, learning to use MS Word to write a paper — while that’s important — would not count as “programming”, but learning to typeset a research paper in LATEX with a bibliography would (probably) count. Georgia Tech’s approach of using of media computation would seem especially attractive to students who wouldn’t normally count themselves among CS enthusiasts.