Employing Object Technology to Expose Fundamental Object Concepts

Woodman, Mark; Griffiths, Rob; Holland, Simon; Robinson, Hugh and Mcgregor, Malcolm (1999). Employing Object Technology to Expose Fundamental Object Concepts. In: Proceedings: Technology of Object-Oriented Languages and Systems (TOOLS 29), IEEE, pp. 371–383.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/TOOLS.1999.779081


We explore technical issues in the design of programming tools, development environments, simulations, code examples, user interface frameworks and pedagogies for a university-level course on object-oriented software development. The course, M206 Computing: An Object-Oriented Approach has been specifically developed for distance learning, and is enrolling over 5,000 students per year (average age 37) in the UK, Europe and Singapore. The course introduces computing via an object-oriented approach. M206 is substantial in extent representing one sixth of a degree. It embodies a practical, industry oriented view of computing and includes programming, analysis, design and group working. Considerable effort has been invested in making the simplicity, consistency and power of object technology accessible to and capable of being applied by beginners. A diverse set of educational media, such as CD-ROMs, TV and the Web, have been deployed as learning resources. We describe the agenda for the course; its object-oriented pedagogy and our strategy for delivery. We explain measures taken to avoid misconceptions about objects, our analysis and design method, and the Smalltalk programming environment we have developed specifically for learners and which is crucial to our approach. We outline how our adherence to the separation of view and domain model leads to technical innovations. Concluding remarks reflect on the benefits a reflexive strategy, both in education and training.

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