University courses in Cocoa/Objective-C?

  • Hi -

    I'm a professor at University of Montreal in Canada, and my lab does a
    fair bit of Cocoa programming for analysis of MRI data.

    It's become clear that there is much less opportunity for learning Obj-
    C & Cocoa in most universities than - say - learning Java and C++.
    Currently our comp-sci department offers courses in the following
    programming languages:  C, C++, Java, VB, C#.  McGill University
    offers courses in C, C++, Scheme, and Java.  Concordia University
    offers courses in C++ and Java, and lists required software for its
    courses as Eclipse, .NET, Visual Studio, etc.

    I'm in the early stages of evaluating whether a course on Cocoa and
    Objective-C would be feasible at my institution, and was wondering
    what's already out there - specifically:

    - has anyone taken any kind of secondary (high-school) or post-
    secondary (i.e. undergrad/bachelors) course in Cocoa programming?

    - has anyone taken a course on Objective-C that was not specifically
    about Cocoa?

    - has anyone heard of such a course anywhere?

    I am particularly interested in whether any such courses exist in the
    Montreal area, but of course would also like to hear about them
    anywhere.  Any feedback on the experience (was it useful, was it well
    attended, how did it come about, what department offered it) would be
    greatly appreciated.  I'm kind of worried that if I suggest it to our
    comp-sci department, they'll laugh me out of the room.

    I know there are plenty of ways to learn Cocoa and that most of us on
    this list just learned it ourselves.  However as the Apple platform
    grows in market share, it seems like less of a crazy idea that a
    university course on developing under this platform should at least be
    an option.  As far as I can tell there is almost a complete vacuum in
    Montreal.

    Cheers,

    Rick Hoge
  • There is a course at Stanford taught by some Apple employees:

    http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs193e/

    -Kenny
  • On Nov 8, 2007, at 11:53 AM, <cocoa-dev-request...> wrote:

    >
    > - has anyone heard of such a course anywhere?
    >

    http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs193e/
    http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/12/11/1633218
  • On Nov 8, 2007, at 11:49 AM, Rick Hoge wrote:

    > I'm kind of worried that if I suggest it to our comp-sci department,
    > they'll laugh me out of the room.
    >
    There shouldn't be any reason for that.  Particularly with Objective-C
    2, the language -- together with associated frameworks -- provides a
    useful vehicle for teaching many different aspects of Computer
    Science.  The Stanford class(*) (<http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs193e/>) was originally positioned as "User Interface Programming with Mac
    OS X & Cocoa".

    If any other academics on the list are interested in providing
    university courses, please let me know (off-list).

    mmalc

    (*) To preempt any questions about them, no the materials are not
    "publicly" available -- as in yes you can download the slides from
    Stanford, but no the original Keynote files etc. are not available.
  • >> I'm kind of worried that if I suggest it to our comp-sci
    >> department, they'll laugh me out of the room.
    >>
    > There shouldn't be any reason for that.  Particularly with Objective-
    > C 2, the language -- together with associated frameworks -- provides
    > a useful vehicle for teaching many different aspects of Computer
    > Science.  The Stanford class(*) (<http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs193e/
    > >) was originally positioned as "User Interface Programming with Mac
    > OS X & Cocoa".

    Sorry if that came off as flippant - I agree with you it's a great
    vehicle for OO programming, design patterns etc.  The worry I voiced
    was based on the cluelessness of some windows-centric IT and CS people
    when you suggest doing something serious on the Mac.  It's completely
    misguided, but more prevalent in some markets where Windows is still
    much more dominant (and Linux viewed as the only credible
    alternative).  Maybe I'm asking for trouble by suggesting that Quebec
    and some parts of Europe might fall in this category relative to the
    US in terms of Apple's acceptance.  Of course there are many
    exceptions but they may not always be dominant in CS departments.
    Anyhow this gets too off-topic and I thank you and other posters for
    the feedback.

    Rick
  • On Nov 8, 2007, at 2:49 PM, Rick Hoge wrote:

    >
    > Hi -
    >
    > I'm a professor at University of Montreal in Canada, and my lab
    > does a fair bit of Cocoa programming for analysis of MRI data.
    >
    > It's become clear that there is much less opportunity for learning
    > Obj-C & Cocoa in most universities than - say - learning Java and C+
    > +.  Currently our comp-sci department offers courses in the
    > following programming languages:  C, C++, Java, VB, C#.  McGill
    > University offers courses in C, C++, Scheme, and Java.  Concordia
    > University offers courses in C++ and Java, and lists required
    > software for its courses as Eclipse, .NET, Visual Studio, etc.

    I taught a Cocoa class at Carnegie Mellon University through the
    "Student College" in 2001. The course is offered now by Owen Yamauchi:

    http://www.cmu.edu/stuco/

    Perhaps you should look for students with sufficient background to
    lead a guided course.

    Cheers,
    M
  • > I am particularly interested in whether any such courses exist in
    > the Montreal area, but of course would also like to hear about them
    > anywhere.  Any feedback on the experience (was it useful, was it
    > well attended, how did it come about, what department offered it)
    > would be greatly appreciated.  I'm kind of worried that if I suggest
    > it to our comp-sci department, they'll laugh me out of the room.

    Why does the language matter at all?  Surely you're teaching courses
    on computer science topics, rather than on languages.  I always though
    the "what language do we use?" question was rather secondary to "what
    topics do we teach them?".  If you're teaching a course on something
    that Obj-C/Cocoa does well, like proper Object Oriented coding, or
    building user interfaces, then go for it.  On the other hand, if
    you're teaching a course on functional programming, you may be on a
    loser.

    Bob
  • On Nov 8, 2007, at 1:29 PM, A.M. wrote:

    > I taught a Cocoa class at Carnegie Mellon University through the
    > "Student College" in 2001. The course is offered now by Owen Yamauchi:
    >
    > http://www.cmu.edu/stuco/
    >
    > Perhaps you should look for students with sufficient background to
    > lead a guided course.

    And I taught the same course for two semesters after A.M. did, in 2003
    and 2004. I think we both found that it's not too difficult to have a
    great time teaching a bunch of people Cocoa when they're already
    talented programmers. Why should it matter what languages and
    environments get taught in universities? Good CS curricula should be
    largely orthogonal to any implementation detail.

    -> jp
  • On Nov 8, 2007, at 4:38 PM, Thomas Davie wrote:

    >> I am particularly interested in whether any such courses exist in
    >> the Montreal area, but of course would also like to hear about them
    >> anywhere.  Any feedback on the experience (was it useful, was it
    >> well attended, how did it come about, what department offered it)
    >> would be greatly appreciated.  I'm kind of worried that if I
    >> suggest it to our comp-sci department, they'll laugh me out of the
    >> room.
    >
    > Why does the language matter at all?  Surely you're teaching courses
    > on computer science topics, rather than on languages.  I always
    > though the "what language do we use?" question was rather secondary
    > to "what topics do we teach them?".  If you're teaching a course on
    > something that Obj-C/Cocoa does well, like proper Object Oriented
    > coding, or building user interfaces, then go for it.  On the other
    > hand, if you're teaching a course on functional programming, you may
    > be on a loser.

    Please do not take this in the direction of a language debate.

    That will lead to moderation-ville.
  • >> I am particularly interested in whether any such courses exist in
    >> the Montreal area, but of course would also like to hear about them
    >> anywhere.  Any feedback on the experience (was it useful, was it
    >> well attended, how did it come about, what department offered it)
    >> would be greatly appreciated.  I'm kind of worried that if I
    >> suggest it to our comp-sci department, they'll laugh me out of the
    >> room.
    >
    > Why does the language matter at all?  Surely you're teaching courses
    > on computer science topics, rather than on languages.  I always
    > though the "what language do we use?" question was rather secondary
    > to "what topics do we teach them?".  If you're teaching a course on
    > something that Obj-C/Cocoa does well, like proper Object Oriented
    > coding, or building user interfaces, then go for it.  On the other
    > hand, if you're teaching a course on functional programming, you may
    > be on a loser.

    I agree that comp-sci concepts are one thing, and that the specific
    language is another.  However the fact is that in many university
    environments, Cocoa and Objective-C are conspicuous in their complete
    absence in any form as an option for either type of course.

    It seems that Java is traditionally the language used to provide a
    gentle introduction to OO concepts - this clearly has the advantage
    that it is platform independent (Python might be another option these
    days).  There are also (widely available) basic courses simply
    targeted at teaching various languages such as C++ and Java - not the
    case for Cocoa/Obj-C.

    Your point is well taken that such a course should target the
    strengths of Cocoa/Obj-C.  It seems like it would be good to have a
    course (allowing students to get started developing on the Mac in the
    'native' programming environment), but what kind of course?
  • On Nov 8, 2007, at 12:34 PM, mmalc crawford wrote:

    >
    > (*) To preempt any questions about them, no the materials are not
    > "publicly" available -- as in yes you can download the slides from
    > Stanford, but no the original Keynote files etc. are not available.

    Are the lectures going to be available on iTunes U?

    -jcr

    John C. Randolph,
    VP, Engineering
    Stealth Imaging, LLC. <jcr...>
  • On Nov 8, 2007, at 14:49, Rick Hoge wrote:

    >
    > Hi -
    >
    > I'm a professor at University of Montreal in Canada, and my lab
    > does a fair bit of Cocoa programming for analysis of MRI data.
    >
    > It's become clear that there is much less opportunity for learning
    > Obj-C & Cocoa in most universities than - say - learning Java and C+
    > +.  Currently our comp-sci department offers courses in the
    > following programming languages:  C, C++, Java, VB, C#.  McGill
    > University offers courses in C, C++, Scheme, and Java.  Concordia
    > University offers courses in C++ and Java, and lists required
    > software for its courses as Eclipse, .NET, Visual Studio, etc.
    >
    > I'm in the early stages of evaluating whether a course on Cocoa and
    > Objective-C would be feasible at my institution, and was wondering
    > what's already out there - specifically:
    >
    > - has anyone taken any kind of secondary (high-school) or post-
    > secondary (i.e. undergrad/bachelors) course in Cocoa programming?
    >
    > - has anyone taken a course on Objective-C that was not
    > specifically about Cocoa?
    >
    > - has anyone heard of such a course anywhere?
    >
    > I am particularly interested in whether any such courses exist in
    > the Montreal area, but of course would also like to hear about them
    > anywhere.  Any feedback on the experience (was it useful, was it
    > well attended, how did it come about, what department offered it)
    > would be greatly appreciated.  I'm kind of worried that if I
    > suggest it to our comp-sci department, they'll laugh me out of the
    > room.
    >
    > I know there are plenty of ways to learn Cocoa and that most of us
    > on this list just learned it ourselves.  However as the Apple
    > platform grows in market share, it seems like less of a crazy idea
    > that a university course on developing under this platform should
    > at least be an option.  As far as I can tell there is almost a
    > complete vacuum in Montreal.
    >
    > Cheers,
    >
    > Rick Hoge

    What about Big Nerd Ranch in the "has anyone heard of such a course
    anywhere" category:  <http://www.bignerdranch.com>?  They do Cocoa
    Bootcamps and even throw Objective-C in with it!
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