Create notes that look like Javadocs instead of introducing Javadocs so students are scaffolded in reading Javadocs without being overwhelmed by all the material available.

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  • When your slides look like Javadocs, you can teach students how to find meaningful information in that format.
    • Print out slides as notes for each student so they will have reference material.
    • If you have an online learning management system, make sure to put all your notes up on it.
  • Have a slide that illustrates the different aspects of a JavaDoc entry.
    • Point out what and where the method name is, the parameters, what the method returns, and the explanation.
      • Literal arrows annotating the slides works really well!
    • This slides should be a bit more guided and detailed than Javadocs so that students understand what they’re looking at easily, both in form and content.
    • Include examples of the method in use in your slides to help students.
      • Even though Javadocs doesn’t always have easily accessible examples as a part of the definition, it’s extremely helpful for scaffolding students in reading documentation and learning about methods.
      • Javadocs has examples for each method that are searchable from the main definition page but are not a part of the original explanation.
  • When students have questions about the material after lecture, tell them everything they need to know is in their notes.
    • Require that they at least locate the relevant information in their notes before answering their question.
  • Next, create an assignment that requires them use a method they’ve never seen or had to use before.
    • This will force students to look things up on their own and get them using Javadocs.
    • Some students won’t think to look up methods on their own, so you’ll have to scaffold them into searching Google and Javadocs for the method.
  • As students become comfortable using their notes that look like Javadocs, direct them to actual Javadocs documentation online.
    • Tell them it’s the same concept, just online.
    • Don’t underestimate the importance of scaffolding students from your notes that mimic Javadocs up to the actual online documentation itself.
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Interview with Dani McAvoy

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