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Simon Xu
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Joined: Aug 16, 2000
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I will teach the first two introduction to Computer Science courses for Computer Science major. we are teaching Java in these courses. Can you please propose several good text books? Thanks.
SImon
Thomas Paul
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Joined: May 05, 2000
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There are quite a few good ones. I think you should look at a few and decide for yourself based on what you intend on covering.
"Beginning Java 2" by Ivor Horton is a good book. I have used it. Some students like it and others hate it. Good end of chpater questions.
"Java How to Program" by Dietel is a typical Deitel book. They are huge and expensive and cover a lot of ground. I have tried using this book and it was a struggle in some ways. Too much concentration on Swing. Lots of end of chapter questions but some are so trivial as to be worthless. Really way too much material although they do give a lot of code samples.
"Murach's Beginning Java 2" by Andrea Steelman is a good beginners book but it is a little old and needs an update. Very little coverage of inner classes or Collections. I didn't like the questions at the end of the chapters. Some of my students loved this book.
"Java 2: A Beginner's Guide" by Herb Schildt. I can't tell you much as I just got my copy. It looks good from what I have seen. Worth taking a look at.
You should note that most of these publishers have supplemental material for teachers so you should always check with the publishers. You might be able to get a free copy for review also if you are affiliated with a institution of higher learning.


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Andres Gonzalez
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Joined: Nov 27, 2001
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have you guys considered using Head First Java by Kathy Sierra and Bert bates? or is it not appropriate?


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Simon Xu
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Joined: Aug 16, 2000
Posts: 235
Thanks for your reply.
Have anybody read these two?
Computing Concepts with Java Essentials, Third Edition by Cay Horstmann, San Jose State University
Big Java by Cay Horstmann, San Jose State University
Regards,
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Andres Gonzalez:
have you guys considered using Head First Java by Kathy Sierra and Bert bates? or is it not appropriate?

I don't think it is appropriate as the main text in a class. It could be useful as supplemental reading material.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Simon Xu:
Computing Concepts with Java Essentials, Third Edition by Cay Horstmann, San Jose State University
Big Java by Cay Horstmann, San Jose State University
Regards,

Let me guess... you teach at San Jose State and Cay Horstmann is the head of the department.
Until you mentioned them I had never heard of either one. From the amazon reviews it looks like both books have problems. "Big Java" got better reviews but it is almost two years old. Both look overpriced.
Kenneth A. Kousen
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I've taught an Object Structures graduate class at Rensselaer at Hartford for a couple of years now. It's basically a data structures class using Java. Most of the textbooks recommended for that class are very good at teaching the data structures, but very bad at teaching Java.
This semester, for the first time, I added _Head First Java_ as a recommended text, and the students love it. I will definitely keep doing that in the future, for any course that needs Java knowledge or experience.
In the past I tried Eckel's _Thinking in Java_ and Horton's _Beginning Java 2_. _Head First Java_ is miles ahead of both of them. I still believe it's the best intro Java book I've ever seen, and have no hesitation recommending it for a college course.


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Simon Xu
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Joined: Aug 16, 2000
Posts: 235
Sorry, I am not. By chance, the publishers sent me these two books. Thanks for your evaulation for the two books.
Simon
Let me guess... you teach at San Jose State and Cay Horstmann is the head of the department.
Until you mentioned them I had never heard of either one. From the amazon reviews it looks like both books have problems. "Big Java" got better reviews but it is almost two years old. Both look overpriced.
Kathy Sierra
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Joined: Oct 10, 2002
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Originally posted by Andres Gonzalez:
have you guys considered using Head First Java by Kathy Sierra and Bert bates? or is it not appropriate?

I think it depends on the course... but I can tell you that so far, the following schools have Head First Java as the *required* text for either an intro to CS or intro to Java course:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Northeastern University
Carnegie Mellon
Rensselaer at Hartford
And that it is also the recommended text (but not required) for several other schools, and is also the required text for dozens of high schools.
It's the required text for a course put on by IEEE as well as other private courses.
So, it *can* be appropriate, and in some cases great to work with, but it depends a LOT on the course topics and the teacher's style, and depending on the course, you would probably have to make some supplemental materials. Your students might love you for using it, though
It has been the number one best-selling Java book in the US since its release, according to Bookscan (which is the publishing industry's main source for book sales figures, and how the bestseller lists are compiled) so there are a lot of folks who are deliberately choosing Head First Java as their preferred way to learn it. Whether that's justified, I really don't know. But learners are making the choice...
If it is not your style, it would never work. But I woudn't discount it without a look. Some of it might depend on the age of your students, as well. Our book skews toward a younger brain.
And thanks Kenneth for your feedback!!!
cheers,
Kathy
Thomas Paul
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I think the problem with "Head First Java" as a textbook is that it forces a certain teaching style upon the instructor that the instructor may not be able to pull off.
Kathy Sierra
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I think the problem with "Head First Java" as a textbook is that it forces a certain teaching style upon the instructor that the instructor may not be able to pull off.

Yes! It would definitely do that, and I myself don't like it when *I* am in that situation.
So, I guess that's really the point I should make -- that it is too strong a *style* as opposed to most of the other more neutral books -- to be appropriate for *any* teacher, even if there is a good match in topics.
But it should at least be up for consideration, and if there's a match, then some have found it to be a fun, effective teaching tool.
cheers,
Kathy
Barry Gaunt
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Joined: Aug 03, 2002
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Take a look at "Objects First".
(Finally got it right...)
[ October 29, 2003: Message edited by: Barry Gaunt ]

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Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Kathy Sierra:
Yes! It would definitely do that, and I myself don't like it when *I* am in that situation.
I do recommend "Head First Java" to my students as supplemental reading. But I warn them that I will not be nearly as entertaining.
Kathy Sierra
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I do recommend "Head First Java" to my students as supplemental reading. But I warn them that I will not be nearly as entertaining.

Oh, but you KNOW you get extra 'cool' points just for recommending it

And of course, you know that now you're actually IN the EJB book, Thomas... page 451
cheers,
Kathy
 
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subject: Java Textbook