December 1st, 2011, 10:36 AM
What most administrators and older students don't realize is that "computer science 101" has a prerequisite of "general computers 605." If they're not sufficiently advanced in general computer knowledge, they're going to be spending their time learning how to save a document rather than how to clone a variable.
The first thing you need to do is isolate their misunderstandings and their fundamental problems. You say they don't know what a variable is. Make a poster defining variable types, hang it in a visible area.
As for the project specifications, start them with the very basics. Make a form with two inputs, a button, and a label. When they click the button, the numbers in the inputs are added together and the result is put in the label.
From there, you can move on to slightly more complex math. Maybe doing a factorial calculation in a loop. Maybe calculating logarithms longhand (probably not). You can get through a lecture on every single control structure with the "two inputs, button, output" form. Once they're comfortable with control structures, then you can move on to other form elements. learn the algorithms first, then the interfaces.
As for the book, a "for dummies" guide might actually be good, but all the O'Reilly books are of high quality and they're available at local bookstores for the most part.
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