We propose a full-day of presentations and collaborative sessions to study:


Many people have been exposed to introductions and course material on OO concepts, but have difficulty in applying these concepts in their own design. They can talk the talk, but they can't walk the walk.

This workshop will explore "active learning" techniques for OO design, where innovative teaching strategies are used to allow students to be actively engaged in design work right from an early point. Two such well-known techniques are CRC cards and role play. Despite being more than a decade old, these are regarded two of the best techniques for learning OO design. Even these techniques permit variation and improvement, and there is scope for more innovation and other active techniques as well.

The workshop invites submissions on new techniques, new applications or extensions of well-known techniques, and case studies. Our focus is on design mentoring, and innovative *active* strategies.

This workshop stems from our earlier work exploring and promoting the early emphasis on design as an important step forward in OO education. A 1996 workshop resulted in general agreement about the advantages of the approach, but also identified some key barriers to progress. We have been steadily exploring ways to overcome these barriers. In 1998 and 1999, we addressed difficulties concerning *evaluating* design, and developed a model for design evaluation. In 2000 we will take the initiative, and explore innovation in active learning.

In 2000, prospective workshop participants will be invited to submit a position paper with a contribution on this topic. The workshop will consist of presentations on these topics, and active experimentation using the techniques right away. We will prepare a report summarizing the workshop and results, and make workshop papers and related resources available via our web repository. We also hope to be able again to present an immediate report to the OOPSLA Educators Symposium.

We will stay true to the key principles of our earlier workshops by continuing to stress design over implementation, explicitly avoiding language wars, and above all working to help educators and mentors perform their role more successfully. We will again specifically invite people from industry to contribute their perspective.


  • Themes:
  • Object technology education
  • Support for educators and mentors involved in teaching OO design
  • Focus on techniques for active learning
  • Emphasis on design, rather than implementation
  • Avoidance of programming language wars
  • Involvement of industry and educators working together
  • Goals:
  • Making OO design involve immediate active engagement
  • Constructing exercises that learners can begin immediately
  • Designing techniques that foster good OO design principles
  • Building individual and team design skills
  • Helping learners evaluate OO designs
  • Finding ways to encourage innovation and keep OO design fun!


    Our agenda will balance participant communication and participant involvement. We will begin with inviting brief presentations of position papers, end with reflection and structuring what we have learned. In the middle, we will have active engagement, as we try out sample active learning techniques.


  • 0.5 hr: Introductions
  • 1.5 hr: Presentations of Position Papers
  • Break
  • 1.5 hr: First active learning session



  • 1.5 hr: Second active learning session
  • Break
  • 1.0 hr: Reflection and Discussion
  • 0.5 hr: Workshop Results


    There is an increasing acceptance of OO as the paradigm of choice from education, to software engineering, to business process design. An increasing number of people need to better understand the basics of OO design. In research and industry there have been important developments in OO design, but these have not been directly suitable for learners. Our workshop plays an important role in filling this gap. References include:

    Continued interest and promotion of the classics of active learning of OO design, CRC cards and Role-Play:

  • K. Beck and W. Cunningham, "A Laboratory for Teaching Object-Oriented Thinking", OOPSLA-89 Proceedings
  • N. Wilkinson, "Using CRC Cards - An Informal Approach to OO Development", Cambridge University Press, 1996
  • D. Bellin & S. Suchman Simone, "The CRC Card Book", Addison-Wesley, 1997.
  • A. Cockburn, "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects, Addison-Wesley, 1998.

    Innovative new active learning strategies, such as the successful Oopsla tutorials using the game "GOF Pursuit", by J. Noble and C. Weir. See the:
    GOF Pursuit Web Site

    Involvement of active learning strategies in OO text books:

  • Rick Mercer, "Computing Fundamentals with Standard C++, Object-Oriented Programming and Design", Rick Mercer, Franklin Beedle 1998.

    Work on pedagogical patterns and pattern languages, involving a number patterns that feature active learning. See the:
    Pedagogical Pattern Web Site

    New work in the educational OO Patterns at ChiliPLoP 1998-2000 Conferences. See:
    Wallingford's Patterns Page

    Our Previous Workshops [see reports in OOPSLA addenda]:

  • "Evaluating Object-Oriented Design"; 1998/9; Biddle, Mercer, Wallingford
  • "Resources for Early Object Design Education"; 1997; Mercer and Biddle
  • "Teaching and Learning Object Design in the First Academic Year"; 1996; Mercer, Biddle, Duvall, Clancy, Cockburn


  • Robert Biddle, Victoria University, Mathematical and Computing Sciences
    PO Box 600, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
    Tel: 64-4-463-5341, Fax: 64-4-463-5045, E-Mail:
  • Rick Mercer, University of Arizona, Computer Science
    PO Box 210077, Tucson, AZ, 85721-0077, USA
    Tel: 1-520-621-6126, Fax: 1-520-621-4246, E-Mail:
  • Eugene Wallingford, University of Northern Iowa, Dept of Computer Science
    Cedar Falls, IA, 50614-0507, USA
    Tel: 1-319-273-5919, Fax: 1-319-273-7123, E-Mail:


    Robert Biddle (

    Web Page on: Early Object Oriented Design Education


    Contributed Papers