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Interview with Harvey Deitel

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Dr. Harvey Deitel is an accomplished author, professor and trainer. Over the years, Dr. Deitel has authored several books programming languages. Considering the success of his publishing career as well as his in person and computer based training seminars, we asked Dr. Deitel to share his views on media based learning with us. In this interview, Dr. Deitel provides us with an insider’s view of the technology industry and what’s in store for the future.
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Why did you first get involved in media based learning?

We saw the potential for this as early as 1975 but the equipment and media were not yet in place. We came close to implementing our first CBT [Computer Based Training] system in 1985, but the costs were still prohibitive and capacities were still too small. In 1995, the pieces fell into place and we launched our Cyber Classroom series of CD-based multimedia educational products. We wanted to produce synchronous learning products for professionals who could not attend formal classes, and we wanted to create products that would enhance the learning experience of college students in traditional classroom settings.

What can readers expect from Deitel complete training course products?

These are comprehensive treatments of popular programming languages. They include the corresponding HOW TO PROGRAM SERIES textbook, usually in two-color or four-color, and an interactive multimedia Windows-based CD. They are engaging products that get the student actively involved in the learning process. They combine book learning with interactive CDs, the Web, and access to the authors via e-mail to create a dynamic learning environment.

How does the complete training course impact the students' learning experience?

These products are fun to use. They contains solutions to about half of the exercises in the corresponding textbook, students like the interactivity features including audio walkthroughs of the code examples, extensive hyperlinking, a text search capability, interactive self-review questions and answers, and often the ability to run each program directly from the environment.

What is a live code example?

This is the cornerstone of the Deitel methodology for teaching programming languages. Each concept is taught in the context of a complete, working code example with a sample input/output dialog. With this methodology, students learning a programming language with a Complete Training Course product work with hundreds of complete programs, both as they read the text and do the exercises.

Why are the audio annotations of the code significant?

There's something compelling about hearing a human voice present the material. It makes the Complete Training Course products come alive. Many students have told us that they feel like they have a mentor working with them. The audio annotations reinforce the key points made in the text. The audios are done personally by the authors.

We've heard that you receive lots of email from customers. Do you reply to all of then? Can you tell us what they are most often seeking?

W have received emails from students and professionals in every state and about 200 countries. Most of the e-mails come to deitel@deitel.com. We keep someone on that all the time during business hours to ensure rapid response. People ask a wide range of questions, including how to deal with hardware configuration and software installation, how to approach certain programming problems, clarification on language features, career advice, and how to pronounce "Deitel?" :-)

What advice can you give persons who want to learn Java or C++?

It depends on their backgrounds. We like to work with people on an individual basis. Take a moment and send an email to deitel@deitel.com describing your background and short and long term career goals. More generally, C++ and Java are important languages that will take a real commitment of time and effort to learn. The Complete Training Course products contain the software and teaching content you'll need. Use these products and, if you have a question send an e-mail to deitel@deitel.com and we'll respond promptly.

Will the Internet grow in importance as a learning medium?

The Internet is enormously important to the future of learning. Specifically, it's the Web that has made the Internet a dynamic multimedia-based publishing and learning medium. We are working hard to create the Web-based learning products of the future. Pearson publishes our Web-based materials for Blackboard, WebCT and its CourseCompass system. We are converting the entire Deitel content base to XML in preparation for launching a wide variety of dynamic, Web-based, SCORM-compliant e-learning products over the next few years.

What can you tell us about the future of technology? What technologies will successful software developers need to master?

Software development is complex stuff and it seems to be getting more complex. We are concentrating on Java and .NET language publications to meet the demand we see for these products over the next several years. UML is important. Object technology is important. Linux is important. Wireless technologies are exploding. Security is huge. Web services will be huge. The Web, in general, offers limitless possibilities.

Any closing words?

Thanks for considering our products. If you have the slightest question, please write to me at harvey.deitel@deitel.com and I will respond promptly.

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