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Khan Academy Launches Computer Science Curriculum 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-with-the-learning dept.
joabj writes "Expanding beyond math and the physical sciences, Khan Academy has added a set of computer science courses to its popular collection of learn-at-home instructional videos. For the project, Khan tapped jQuery creator John Resig, who chose JavaScript as the first language to teach students. The initial set of tutorials cover drawing, programming basics, animation and user interaction."
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Khan Academy Launches Computer Science Curriculum

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  • by jmasha (2708237) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @06:07PM (#40990369)
    Different educational institutions have different goals. If you want to go be a programmer and hack source code to make games, apps, real world things, etc. than traditional University education is probably not for you. Unless you are writing a physics engine from scratch, your use of math is probably limited and often CS degrees require a lot of math. Remember that the S in CS stands for science. This is where the University education plays a role. They want to mould students to become scientists, researchers, and professors. A good portion of the science and research material requires strong mathematical backgrounds and im my experience doesn't require the ability to be a super elite programmer. Hell, lots of great ideas are proven and tested with MATLAB scripts. This also applies to the concepts such as runtime analysis and algorithm complexity that are core to developing and proving new approaches and systems. I applaud Khan for it's attempt, but unless there is a heavy math focus later in the curriculum, then they should advertise it as a programming class, not a CS class.
  • SICP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Orgasmatron (8103) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @06:20PM (#40990513)
    There is still no finer introduction to computer science than Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs [mit.edu] by Abelson and Sussman. Also, be sure to watch the videos [mit.edu].

    Computer science is about processes and structures, not computers, and not programs. LISP is still the ideal vehicle for learning about the important parts.

    On a personal note, a friend of mine had a CS 101 intro course some years ago that was Javascript based. It was absolutely terrible. I know that it was terrible, because I ended up re-teaching him each of the concepts using random old textbooks that I had lying around. He had no problem learning concepts in other languages (Fortran, BASIC, C, even some MIX when I used Knuth) and then applying them to back to the Javascript that he had to do the problems in.

    I know that Javascript wasn't entirely to blame there, but it sure didn't help. But why try to polish that particular turd?
  • by WankersRevenge (452399) on Tuesday August 14, 2012 @08:38PM (#40991853)

    Let me tell you where I'm coming from ... I hated JavaScript ... HATED IT ... for ten years, I endured it. A while back, I decided to finally wrap my head around it and actually study it the same way I studied languages like Java, C, and Objective C. Once I dropped the notion that it wasn't a class based language and that I needed to think differently in order to use it, I found it remarkably freeing.

    In fact, I grew so accustomed to it that I actually find class based languages constricting.

    Yes, it does have some dangerous gotchas, so the trick is to avoid those areas of the language, and then use static analyzer like JSLint for backup. It also helps to "use strict" on all your scripts

    The true irony is once I've come to enjoy the old dog, I've decided to move out of development. Maybe next lifetime :)

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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