Soliciting Thoughts & Feedback for Community Meeting on Introduction to Programming

Taliesin Love Smith ts14hh at
Tue Apr 5 19:03:28 UTC 2016

Thanks Alan :-)
I like Sambhavi's suggestion!

On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 1:43 PM, Harnum, Alan <aharnum at> wrote:

> Hi Taliesin,
> That’s great feedback, thank you! It makes me want to talk even more about
> what I think of as the “class stratification” of software development – who
> gets to call themselves (and think of themselves) as “programmers” vs.
> “software engineers” vs. “developers”, the longstanding discourse around
> “programming” vs. “scripting”, “front end” vs. “back end”, etc etc. What
> you describe are IMO the experiences of someone who’s entirely entitled to
> call themselves a programmer!
> From: Taliesin Love Smith <ts14hh at<mailto:
> ts14hh at>>
> Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 11:12 AM
> To: Alan Harnum <aharnum at<mailto:aharnum at>>
> Cc: "fluid-work at<mailto:fluid-work at>"
> <fluid-work at<mailto:fluid-work at>>
> Subject: Re: Soliciting Thoughts & Feedback for Community Meeting on
> Introduction to Programming
> Hi Alan,
> This is a great idea, especially for MDes students who might have more
> experience with front-end scripting or visual design.
> I have ventured down the road to learn to program many times! I still
> haven't thrown-in the towel, but have accepted that I will never be a whiz
> :-) I've read books, done courses, and even built a web-site using the
> python-based django framework. I am very comfortable with code, but still
> don't feel like a programmer :-)
> Like any new skill, it takes a lot of practice to get good. For novices,
> understanding how to transfer from basic stuff to more complex stuff is
> important. There's often a gap - the easy stuff is dead easy and the next
> step really hangs newbies up.
> A fundamental skill in programming is trouble shooting. Developing strong
> trouble shooting techniques is required in order to understand what the
> programmer is telling the code to do. Something on this topic might be
> really useful.
> Nowadays, no one can contribute to an open source project without
> understanding version control, so that might be a useful (but separate)
> topic as well for a novice.
> Related to version control and open source does a novice
> introduce herself (or himself) to an open source project that s/he is
> interested in contributing to.
> Unfortunately, I will be traveling on May 4th, but I will be in Toronto
> for the end of Grad Ex and the the beginning of the MDes Grad Extra. I'll
> check in with you to see how it went and what the next plans are.
> Taliesin
> On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 12:06 PM, Harnum, Alan <aharnum at<mailto:
> aharnum at>> wrote:
> Hi Fluid folks,
> Some months back we were discussing possible community workshops and I
> floated up “Introduction to Programming” as a topic – this received some
> interest and we’ve now scheduled it for May 4, which means I need to decide
> what to do for it. :)
> So I’d like to throw a few questions out to the community before I start
> down any road and throw the following questions out to anyone interested in
> this topic:
>   1.  What are the big or small questions you have about computer
> programming? These can be conceptual, historical, practical, psychological,
> whatever.
>   2.  Are you interested in doing some hands-on activities? I was thinking
> it might be fun to do some live programming as a group.
>   3.  If you’ve gone through any kind of “introduction to programming”
> material before and found it weird, alienating or otherwise negative, what
> was it that you think created that experience?
> I’d like this to be fun and informative (within the constraint of the time
> the community meeting gives us), and people’s opinions would be very
> helpful.
> E aharnum at<mailto://>
> 100 McCaul Street, Toronto, Canada, M5T 1W1
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