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CMS at North Carolina State University:
Tailoring a Time Sharing System
for Computer Science Education
by Lionel E. Deimel


This paper appeared in SIGCSE Bulletin in 1982 (citation). The Computer Science Department and Computing Center at NCSU had purchased a new IBM time-sharing system, and the paper describes how the department configured and enhanced the system to facilitate the teaching of programming classes.

Students at terminalIt is at least a little strange to reread this paper from the pre-PC era, when even some time-sharing systems were influenced by batch processing, electronic mail of any sort was a novelty, and the World Wide Web was still in the future. Nonetheless, the basic issues of providing a computing environment to students, faculty-student communication about assignments, grading computing assignments, and administering grades are still matters of concern, although we have substantial resources to deal with them that we can take for granted.

Read this paper to recall the old days (if you are so old as to remember them) or to get a sense of how strange older computing environments could be. What is perhaps most important here, however, is the attempt to assemble a coherent system to be used by instructors for teaching programming, and particularly for the collection and independent testing of programs. Long before “software engineering” was of much concern on most campuses, NCSU was teaching a disciplined approached to software development that began in the first computer science courses.

By the way, the paper only alludes to the documentation provided to instructors and says nothing of the materials developed specifically for students. Producing this material was a major component of making the new computer system useful to the department.

 

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— LED, 1/13/2003

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