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Integrating Testing into the CS1 Syllabus at NDSU

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Integrating Testing into the CS1 Syllabus at NDSU. WISTPC ’ 10 Florida International University, Miami FL. Richard Rummelt June 24, 2010. Outline. Overview of Approach Addition to Course Objectives Modification s to Projects. Overview of Approach. Minimally Intrusive Approach

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Integrating Testing into the CS1 Syllabus at NDSU


Florida International University, Miami FL

Richard Rummelt

June 24, 2010

  • Overview of Approach
  • Addition to Course Objectives
  • Modifications to Projects
overview of approach
Overview of Approach
  • Minimally Intrusive Approach
    • Looked at the breakdown of class work to inject testing into existing assignments, and projects
    • Focus on tentative lab schedule for this discussion
    • Said “NO” to full-fledged JUnit at the beginning of the CS1 course
  • NDSU CS1 Syllabus Lab Assignments and Labs
    • Seven or Eight Assignments (Homeworks)
    • Seven or Eight In-Lab Projects
course objectives java projects
Course Objectives (Java Projects)
  • Computing and problem solving concepts
  • Object Oriented Programming techniques and terminology
  • Implementation of classes and methods
  • Variables and data types
  • Simple booleanlogic
  • Control structures
  • Exception handling
  • Collection structures & iteration techniques 
  • Sorting and searching basics
  • Inheritance and polymorphism
  • Standard style conventions
  • Program design concepts
  • Sufficient documentation
  • Testing and debugging concepts
project modifications
Project Modifications
  • Simplicity of projects 1 and 2 did not lend themselves to much discussion of testing
  • Project 1 was basic “hello world” and project 2 expands on that to include variables and the scope of instance variables
  • Instead we focused on integrating testing during the third week of the semester in both the lectures and the lab work.
project modifications cont d
Project Modifications (cont’d)
  • Project 3
    • Basic elevator problem where they have to implement methods of an elevator and existing requirement was to run a pre-defined scenario and submit the output file
  • Extension of Project 3 with Test
    • Get students to think about their own scenarios of system usage and the expected outputs and write this up manually.
    • Introduces concepts of test inputs, and expected outputs (oracles)
project modifications cont d1
Project Modifications (cont’d)
  • Project 4
    • String manipulation problem where they have to implement methods
  • Extension of Project 4 with Test
    • Get students to use BlueJ’s ‘object bench’ to test individual methods by predicting the return values and/or variable values given various input parameters and keep a simple log of this.
    • Continues and reinforces concepts of test inputs, and expected outputs (oracles)
project modifications cont d2
Project Modifications (cont’d)
  • Project 5
    • Poker game with many new elements: multiple classes, conditional statements, passing objects, Object class methods (clone, equals, instanceOf) randomization, etc.
  • Extension of Project 5 with Test
    • This is where debugging is introduced. JUnit could also be introduced at this point by requiring a few clearly defined (almost, but not quite, given)
    • Provides the first exposure to a testing tool.
project modifications cont d3
Project Modifications (cont’d)
  • Project 6
    • The game of NIM. New concepts are looping, validity checking, exception handling, pausing threads, more advanced math calculations, etc.
  • Extension of Project 6 with Test
    • The complexity of this project makes this a good point to require JUnit test cases. The numeric nature of this project makes it a good place to teach ‘boundary value analysis’.
    • This would be the point at which students would begin thinking of and writing their own test cases.
points to note
Points to Note
  • Initially we use some features of the existing IDE to introduce the students to practical testing without the complexities of a new testing tool
  • We use the Object Bench of BlueJ as a test driver
  • By the 6th project (of 8) students are familiar with JUnit, and using it independently
  • For the remaining projects they continue using JUnit and refine their testing skills.