CS:2820 Survey, Fall 2015

Part of the CS:2820 Object Oriented Programming Collection
by Douglas W. Jones 201H MLH, 1:00-2:00 MWF, 335-0740, jones@cs.uiowa.edu
THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA Department of Computer Science

Background: On Aug. 25, 2015, the first day of class, a survey was distributed to the students in Object Oriented Software Development. The results are summarized here.

Survey Results

Computer Support: What kind of computer do you routinely use?
         Apple Mac______  9
Linux ______ 1
Windows ______ 24
Windows +Mac 8
Windows +Linux 7
All of em 1

CS/CLAS Linux Experience: Have you used linux.clas.uiowa.edu or linux.cs.uiowa.edu?
         Yes______  23
No ______ 27

If yes, how did you access it?
         NoMachine______  2
PuTTY ______ 6
SecureCRT______ 2
SSH ______ 5
NoMachine+PuTTY 5
NoMachine+SSH 1
None of em 1

Shell Experience: Have you used the Linux or MacOS command shell?
         Yes______  39
   No ______ 11

In sum, the majority of the class have some experience with using some dialect of the Unix shell (MacOS and Linux are both derived from UNIX), but under half of the class has used an SSH to access the CS/CLAS Linux servers, and even fewer have used NoMachine to use a remote desktop on them. Therefore, we definitely need to spend class time on these topics.

Programming Languages: What programming languages do you know pretty well?
         C ______  14
C++ ______ 21
C# ______ 3
Java ______ 41
Perl ______ 0
Python ______ 39
Ruby ______ 1
Other ______ 13

The other languages listed included (in no alphabetical order): Agda, COBOL, Javascript (2), Lisp, Matlab (3), Objective C, Ocaml, PHP, Swift (3), and Visual Basic (2). (Parenthetic numbers indicate the number who claimed that language.) Languages such as HTML and CSS were not counted as, while they have syntax as elaborate as programming languages, they are not usually considered to be programming languages. Everyone who listed one of these other languages also listed Java.

One person did not report knowing any programming language. This is obviously a serious concern.

Two people only listed Python, these two students may face a bit of culture shock with the C-like syntax of Java.

One only listed Java; so long as they really do have both CS I and CS II in this language, they should be OK.

12 listed just Java and Python; and a few had just C++ and Python or C++ and Java. Presumably these students had CS I (or its equivalent) using one of those languages and CS II using the other. If people took this course where it was intended in our curriculum, these 2-language students would make up the majority of the class, but because many students take it late, they are a decided minority.

In summary, while many students have Java experience, it is not universal and the range of prior experience is extreme.