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On Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 10:30 AM, Phillip Gawlowski <
cmdjackryan / googlemail.com> wrote:

>
> > When I used to do software engineering training for a company I used to
> work for, one of the
> > more popular courses I ran was called `Programming for Non-Programmers',
> aimed at giving
> >  people exactly that framework. A lot of beginners get stuck there, and
> can't easily move
> >  forward without a bit of help.
>
> Considering you have educational expertise, how would you go about this?
>
> I don't think that a link to Chris Pine's Learn to Program
> http://pine.fm/LearnToProgram/ is sufficient.
>
> Considering the target audience (non-programmers with slight, if any,
> technical background running Windows of some sort), there's a a lot of
> stuff that needs to be included:
>
> - Ruby (obviously)
> - text editor (simple enough to be easily learned, malleable enough
> that it could be customized for a Beginner's Ruby package)
> - guide to programming*
> - guide to Ruby*
>
>
When I was first learning to program I got into Ruby (on Windows at that
time). The download from ruby-lang.org had the option to install SciTE with
it and it was all hooked up so that you just pressed f5 to run your program.
If it wasn't that simple, I probably would have gotten overwhelmed and given
up.

As for my schoolwork, in C, I had to get my school's sysadmin to install
linux on my laptop and hook up gcc and everything. If not for that, I
honestly would have changed majors to math. It was another couple of years
before I figured out Linux well enough to understand most of the things I
initially had so much trouble with.

Maybe these things were easier for other people, IDK, but for me, if there
hadn't been simple ways to get started, I'd be doing math now, thinking I
was too dumb to program.

I think newbies need as much of the tangential tasks abstracted away as
possible. If I don't program and I'm thinking about checking it out, I want
to play with Ruby, not have to learn a thousand bits of arcane knowledge
before I can even begin. I think it is important, in general, to be as
accessible as possible, but especially for someone who just wants to come
and try it out. They can invest into all the tangential knowledge (how to
install Ruby, the devkit / compiler, editing the path, rvm, which version to
use, which implementation to use, which editor, ide, os, etc) after they are
sure this is something they want to delve further into.

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