Byron Weber Becker is interested in helping students new to Computer Science obtain a solid understanding of the discipline's fundamentals. He often teaches the introductory courses for CS majors and often ranks in the School's internal list of top teachers.
Byron was instrumental in UW's transition from an imperative programming language (Pascal) to an object-oriented language (Java) in our first year CS courses. He developed the curriculum, including lecture and practicum content, lab exercises, and assignment problems. The curriculum featured an innovative "use-then-write" approach to objects in which students first used a suite of classes implementing a virtual robot and then learned to write their own classes. This curriculum formed the foundation for a textbook, published in 2006.
More recently, Byron pioneered the use of audience response systems ("clickers") within the School of Computer Science. Student feedback has been positive and Byron has subsequently convinced several teams of instructors to adopt them.
Administrative and service responsibilities
Byron is part of the School's team of academic advisors. The advisors provide academic advice to students, facilitate entry into courses, make decisions regarding promotion and graduation, and act as a resource to other faculty members. Byron also provides formal leadership for the team.
In addition, Byron serves on the Undergraduate Academic Plans Committee (curriculum issues).
Degrees and awards
BA (Goshen College), MMath (Waterloo)
Industrial and sabbatical experience
Before entering academia, Byron worked in the IT department of a small insurance company where he led a major systems development project. He was also one of the first four employees of Open Text, which has become a world leader in document management software.
B.W. Becker, Java: Learning to Program with Robots Course Technology, 2006.