Honors Seminar: Programming for the Masses
Michael L. Littman
Office hours by appointment
Time: Tuesday 1:40-3pm
Place: Hill 254
Semester: Spring 2010
"Programming For The Masses": This class is about envisioning what
programming might be in the future.
Computers are infiltrating everything from cars to phones to ballpoint
pens. In the future, will programming knowledge be as widespread as
computers? We'll explore this question from a number of different
perspectives: In a world of programmable devices, what programs would
people want to write? Is programming something arcane and best left
to the experts, like reading and writing Latin? Or is it something
with utility to everyone, like expressing yourself in written
language? What devices are currently programmable and what others
should we expect? What programming languages have the greatest
promise for being usable to the broad population and what makes them
so accessible? To grapple with these questions, we'll read relevant
essays and background information. We'll gather our own experiences
and mock up some programs of the future using existing tools.
Finally, we'll synthesize and share our thoughts by blogging what
Sakai. (All course administration will be done there.)
Each week, we will collect ideas individually, then blog a list to
share with the group. Here are some of the things we'll collect:
- What do use writing for over the course of a day?
- What learning topics have caught on and why?
- What learning topics have not caught on and why?
- What opportunities do you have to write simple programs over the
course of a day?
- What programmable devices have you encountered over the course of
- What can you do with Scratch?
- How do CS people react when you talk to them about the idea of programming for the masses?
- How do non-CS people react when you talk to them about the idea of programming for the masses?