On 3/17/06, anne001 <anne / wjh.harvard.edu> wrote:
> I was wondering if anybody taught the traditional computer courses in
> ruby.
>
Not traditional in the sense of being basic courses in the starting
univ years but in later years yes; see below.

> With a google search, I found Dr Cripps at mtsu using Rails (not clear
> if he is using something else as well) to teach programming theory,  Dr
> Lewis at Duke using ruby and rails to teach web application
> development, Tinkham and Kaner at Olin university using ruby in a
> course on software testing. A few using ruby as a 4th or 5th language
> briefly mentioned.
>
> Does anyone know of any college course?
>
I use Ruby in several of my courses:

* Software Engineering (Practical tasks from "Personal Software
Process" done in Ruby)
* Software Development through Modeling (UML and other modeling
formalisms, Ruby as example for OO design and design patterns,
students encouraged to use Ruby for their projects)
* Verification and Validation (executable testing with examples and
tasks in Ruby)

Apart from the latter course Ruby has not been a requirement; students
can still use C# or Java or some other OO language for their projects.
However, during lectures and discussions I tend to use Ruby for
examples. The brevity makes it easier for me to focus on the essential
idea/technique without the language being "in the way".

My students are 4th year students who have in their previous 3 years
been exposed to mainly C, C++, Java and (maybe) C#. They tend to find
Ruby a bit "odd"/different when starting out. After a few weeks/tasks
a majority tends to like it though although I must admit there is
still a percentage who tends to dislike that we go outside of the
"languages strong in industry". I find this a bit sad but such is
life.

The most impressive thing in the courses tend to be when I
code/refactor tests "live" using Watir or something similar to
automate the testing of a web site. This tends to be a major "selling
point"... ;)

> If this sample is representative of the thousands of universities
> offering their syllabus on line, does that mean that ruby has not
> penetrated the fortress of universities/colleges? Is it a matter of
> time, or are universities conservative, and they can only teach the
> language most used, ie C++ and Java for a while yet.
>
It is a matter of time and what happens to the industry at large. I
would say that many univs are farily conservative and that funding
agencies tends to encourage the use of the main "industrial" languages
(which they often equal with C, C++, Java, C#). This makes especially
senior faculty a bit reluctant to use new languages.

However, there are also quite a large number of univs who do research
on some language / paradigm they prefer and their choice tends to be
to use that language / paradigm in their education.

My 2 cents,

Dr. Robert Feldt
;)