During the 2018 Python Education Summit, held in conjunction with the PyCon 2018 conference, Lecturer Elizabeth Wickes will discuss how to help new Python learners be successful. PyCon, an annual gathering for the community using and developing the open-source Python programming language, will be held May 9-17 in Cleveland.
Wickes will give the presentation, "Hard Shouldn't be Hardship: Supporting Absolute Novices to Python." She will suggest methods that instructors can use to help learners succeed in intensive programming courses, such as making their expectations clear, helping students recognize when and how to ask for help, creating a positive emotional atmosphere in the classroom, and providing help efficiently.
"An instructor's expertise can become a blind spot," she explained. "We've learned what is normal through experience and can easily forget that we didn't know it from the start."
Wickes teaches programming and information technology courses at the iSchool. She was previously a data curation specialist for the Research Data Service at the University Library at Illinois and the curation manager for Wolfram|Alpha. She currently co-organizes the Champaign-Urbana Python user group and is a Software Carpentry instructor.