Teaching foreign policy majors to code

Four lessons about what to (not) do with first-time programming students.

Colin McCormick
Aug 13, 2018 · 5 min read
Sample code from STIA 315 at Georgetown University (Spring 2018).

As a result of having to manually type in the code, the students got all the typical errors when compiling, like missing parenthesis and misspelled variable names.

Why were there so many different ways to make the name of a parameter represent a number? As I quickly discovered in trying to explain my reasoning, there just shouldn’t have been.

If you were learning to write in kindergarten, and the teacher gave you a crayon on the first day, a pencil on the second, and a fountain pen on the third, you’d be confused.

Colin McCormick

Written by

Technologist, physicist, energy policy expert. Georgetown University, Valence Strategic, World Resources Institute, Conservation X Labs. I also play trombone.