Animation, visualization, and interaction in CS 1 assignments
Programs that use animations or visualizations attract student interest and offer feedback that can enhance different learning styles as students work to master programming and problem solving. In this paper we report on several CS 1 assignments we have used successfully at Duke University to introduce or reinforce control constructs, elementary data structures, and object-based programming. All the assignments involve either animations by which we mean graphical displays that evolve over time, or visualizations which include static display of graphical images. The animations do not require extensive programming by students since students use classes and code that we provide to hide much of the complexity that drives the animations. In addition to generating enthusiasm, we believe the animations assist with mastering the debugging process.