Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fourth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Accessible C-programming course from scratch using a MOOC platform without limitations
Adrián Castelló, Sergio Iserte, Jose Antonio Belloch

Last modified: 10-05-2018

Abstract


The C language has been used for ages in the application development in multidisciplinary environments. However, in the academia, this language is being replaced by other higher-level languages due to they are easier to understand, learn and apply. Moreover, the necessity of professionals with a good knowledge in those high-level languages is constantly increasing because of the boosting of mobile devices. This scenario generates a lack of low-level language programmers, required in other less trendy fields, but equal or more important, such as science, engineering or research.  In order to revive the interest in low-level languages and provide those minority fields with well-prepared staff, we present in this work a MOCC C-programming course that is addressed to any kind of people with or without IT background. A feature that differentiates this course from others programming online-based courses is that we mainly focus on the C language syntax providing, via a self-tuned virtual machine, an encapsulated environment that hides any interaction with the command-line of the underlying operating system. A secondary target of this work is to foster the computer science degree students to enrol the computer architecture specialization at the Universitat Jaume I (Spain). For this purpose, the High Performance Computing and Architectures research group of that University has decided to use this C course as a tool for fulfill the gap of the current syllabus. The results show that half of the participants that completed the first session of the course have satisfactorily finished the course, and the number of computer science degree students that chose the computer architecture specialization the following academic course was increment by 3x.

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