Shoptalk - Teaching first semester students

Dania Games needed help with teaching the new first semester Computer Science students about object oriented programming. Each day before the normal classes there is going to be one module of Shoptalk. Here the students need to talk to each other about what they learned the day before to help them get more comfortable with the knowledge.

The goal was to prepare them for their upcoming two-month project where they have to make a game using the MonoGame Framework while documenting their OOA, OOD and OOP choices along the way.

Me and Jonas signed up for teaching this class. Together we prepared for the 45 minute module by creating slides with different questions based on the class from the day before. We tried to focus on the things we could remember as being hard topics from back when we started. We also focused more on the items which, we knew the students would be using more often.

There is a huge difference between what the students already know about object oriented programming. Some students know a lot, some know next to nothing and others have a huge bias from programming only in Unity. This is why shoptalk is hugely important to help spread their knowledge between them. It is also an important step in keeping dropouts of the class low in the beginning where everything is very theoretical.

The module was a mixture of us presenting to the class and discussions between the students. We usually asked them a question such as: What is the difference between value types and reference types? While showing them some example code. After a few minutes of them discussing with each other, we would hear their answers together with the rest of the class and also come with our input. At the end of the class, we answer questions about the topics learned, the school or programming in general. We continuously iterate on our class structure using input from the students to make sure they get the most out of it.

We did a total of seven modules with the first semester (about 30 students). Teaching here helped me train my presentation en explanation skills. It also brushed up on my skills on theoretical OOD and the MonoGame Framework.

Together with:
Jonas Maretti Gress

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