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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.