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ClassHints - What To Expect From This Class This class is...

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What To Expect From This Class This class is designed for students who have never written a program in a high-level computer language. However, unlike other introductory courses, simply reading the book and memorizing "facts" won't necessarily lead to success in this course. The first goal of this class is for students to understand the syntax and semantics of C. This sounds complicated, but let me break this down: 1) Syntax: The rules of the language. In English class, you learn rules one must adhere to in order to speak proper English. Similarly, C has rules that you must follow, otherwise your program can not be executed. 2) Semantics: The meanings of the symbols and expressions of the language. Not only do you have to follow the rules of syntax of C, but you will also have to learn WHAT those grammatically correct C statements MEAN to the computer. This understanding is the basic goal of the class. However, just because you understand the syntax and semantics of a computer language doesn't guarantee that you'll be effective using it to solve problems. Similarly, one can speak grammatically correct English that has some meaning, but doesn't effectively communicate the solution to a problem. The ultimate goal of the class is for students to be able to take the tools provided by the C language and use them to write programs that solve various problems that range from simulating a real-life situation to carrying out mathematical calculations.
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So how can I succeed at this? This answer, as with most other aspects of life is practice. Although I will only assign 6 programming assignments, in reality, this is simply not enough to ensure that a beginning programmer will feel comfortable solving new problems. Reading the textbook is important, but writing extra programs on your own is even more important to succeeding in this class, especially if you have never programmed before. Furthermore, many lectures will involve looking at programs, some of which are reasonably long. Typically, it's difficult to understand exactly how these programs work unless you run them yourselves. Also, it's usually instructive to take a program given in lecture, cut-n-paste it into your compiler, and edit it to see what changes occur in execution. In this manner, you can get a better feel for what particular statements in C do. Also, it's important to note that some people write programs much, much faster than others. This is simply a fact of life. For whatever reason, whether it is experience or getting the hang of things quickly, there will be students who find the assignments in this class very easy. This should be irrelevant to other students. It's important to spend the time YOU need to understand the material to the point that you can produce programs to solve problems. It's okay to spend more time than
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