A $2,000 grant from Course Hero allowed popular adjunct professor Matthew Weathers to revamp his Intro to Computer Science course last year, improving the course and encouraging students through full immersion into programming immediately.
“My philosophy of teaching Intro to Computer Programming is that they should just jump into the code right away,” Weathers told Course Hero. “So right from the first week we were looking at something moving on the screen.”
Weathers, who has gone viral multiple times for his in-class comedic antics utilizing his computer programming skills, was one of four grant recipients to be featured by Course Hero. He shared his passion for impacting the world through programming with them.
“I'm hoping that more and more people will stay in the field of programming,” said Weathers. “Because in today's world, everything is technological and the world needs more programmers. Yes, these students are learning first semester programming, but ultimately they're going to become the programmers that change the world in the next few decades.”
Today’s students may not be familiar with classic 1980s style arcade games like Atari and Pac-Man, but Weathers had them create just that for their final project in his updated course.
“I think that learning is easier for students if there is intrinsic motivation, not just the extrinsic motivation of trying to earn a grade,” Weathers said. “Since it's their own creation and own idea, I think this provides that intrinsic motivation to do well and spend time working on it. In general, I try to incorporate graphical programs in their assignments, in an attempt to make programming visually interesting rather than just text-based programs, which aren't as engaging.”
According to Weathers, these type of assignments which encourage growth, but are also achievable take ample time to create so when Weathers heard about the Course Hero Teaching Grant in Spring 2022, he applied. In May 2022, he found out he was selected. The grant allowed him extra time over the summer to update his course materials including graphics-based assignments and final projects.
“I tell my students that by creating a computer program, they're exercising one part of how we are "created in the image of God." God was creative, and we can be, too,” he said.
Weathers started learning programming on simple computers before he reached high school.
“Even back then it was easy to write programs that used graphics,” he said. “So I've always liked writing code that makes visually interesting programs.”
Weathers has been featured in multiple publications for his creative class engagement Buzzfeed, Huffpost, and Time Magazine.
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