Saturday June 12, 2004
On behalf of not only my team of instructors but ATDP as well, I welcome you to the program and to the Introduction to Programming in C course. As Iím sure you have all read the intro blurb in the ATDP course brochure, Iíll not bore you with the details of what this class will be about or what you should expect to learn and explore in the process. Instead, I hope to instill a sense of excitement that matches, if not rivals that which I felt nine summers ago when I enrolled in such a class as the one you will be taking and also the eagerness I feel to be instructing this course.
The journey into the world of programming is an endeavor and an adventure that can be very exciting but also very difficult, thus adding to the sense of achievement one feels upon completion of a project. As your instructors we hope to aid you in this process of discovery and encourage you to not only be able to code and think like a programmer, but also to develop a comprehensive and useful set of problem-solving skills that can be applied not only to an infinitesimal bug in a heavily convoluted program, but to kinks in every-day life as well.
Once upon a time, programmers were a quiet and withdrawn bunch comprised largely of computer science scholars and geeks who invoked an image of pale skin, poor hygiene and long hours spent hacking away into the night; desk adorned with empty soda cans, fast food containers and plenty of nerd paraphernalia. Today, however, programmers abound and the inability to program even on a rudimentary level places you at a distinct disadvantage not only at the hands (read mercy) of other programmers from whom you might one day require services rendered, but also in the job market and with common every-day quandaries and other issues that donít pertain to computing at all, even.
In addition to teaching you the basic syntax and logic you will need to program in C over the course of our six weeks together, we will also discuss the past, present, and future technologies that pertain to this course and this area of study as well as other issues with regard to technology and intellectual property.
As there are a little over twenty of you in the course, there will be three instructors (Bigi Lui, Luis Garcia, and myself) as well as three Teacherís Assistants, or T.A.s, at your disposal. Bigi and Luis have been classmates of mine in high school and I have worked with them at ATDP on numerous occasions. We have all come a long way since then and Bigi is now majoring in Computer Science, Luis is majoring in Database Management Systems, and I am double-majoring in Computer Science & Electrical Engineering and Pure Mathematics, so I rest assured knowing that you have a top-notch team of instructors and T.A.s to assist you in the course and are generally in good hands. In addition to the instructors and T.A.s, you will have a plethora of online resources as well as a web forum that you can participate on at home and last, but certainly not least, you have each other. We encourage you to work together to solve problems and to ask questions of each other that will promote learning.
A typical day in class will consist of instruction and discussion and then a lunch break, followed by a hands-on period in the lab on the computers to put to use the concepts and ideas that were discussed. The course website will be your source of information for all things course-related and some things not as well. A detailed summary of the dayís activities and lessons as well as any other topics or links of interest can be found on the course site as well as links to various other online resources and contact information for instructors and T.A.s and other students as well.
I think that about covers all of the formalities necessary in this introductory letter. Below you will find information about your first assignment. Once again, Iím looking forward to an exciting and enriching summer with all of you!
Assignment #0: Read the first chapter, "Introduction," of the textbook. If you still don't know what is the course's textbook now, you can go to the about page to look it up. Don't worry too much about the details of everything in this reading, but make sure you at least actually go through the chapter.