[Haskell-cafe] Investing in languages (Was: What is your favourite Haskell "aha" moment?)

J. Garrett Morris jgbm at acm.org
Thu Jul 12 17:50:15 UTC 2018

On Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 1:24 AM Joachim Durchholz <jo at durchholz.org> wrote:
> > Maybe that's why Java replaced Haskell in some universities
> > curricula
> The considerations are marketable skills.

That's certainly a consideration.  I doubt it weighs particularly
heavy on the departments at Austin, Berkeley, or MIT however.  Their
graduates will be plenty marketable regardless of the languages they
see most as undergraduates.

Another concern is who the courses serve.  At my institution, our
intro programming courses serve both electrical engineering and
computer science, so we have to include the EE folks needs in our
considerations.  Many institutions (Harvey Mudd has done an excellent
job of this) are also serving the wider data science community with
the same introductory course (albeit different sections).  This is
great news for exposing people to computer science, but may impose
additional requirements on how you teach.

Yet another concern is teaching load.  At my (relatively small) state
institution, we teach something like 4 sections of programming I, and
at least another two sections of intro CS for non-majors.  If I were
to champion updating that part of the curriculum, it'd be on me to
teach those sections, or to work with/train instructors to be able to
do so.  This is a non-trivial time commitment, and there's not
necessarily any guarantee that whoever ended up with the intro
sequence after I ran out of energy/time/employment would have the same

A final note is that, just because a department chooses to teach their
introductory course in an imperative language doesn't mean they're
teaching C-style procedural programming.  Look at Harvey Mudd's CS 5
book: https://www.cs.hmc.edu/csforall/.  It's taught in Python, but
the first half of the book focuses on functional programming


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