19 September 2008


Dan Wohlbruck continues his story of learning systems and programming in the 1960s. He learns IBM assembler using a new teaching device, "programmed instruction," something I haven't seen since I used it to teach myself a little calculus early in high school.
There were six or seven of us from the previous class that had been chosen to learn BAL and when we arrived at the Education Center, we were directed to our new classroom. The room had four rows of tables, enough chairs for the students, but no lectern for an instructor. Promptly at 9:00, two gentlemen, one from IBM and one from Bell Tell, arrived and explained that we were to be part of an experiment called "programmed instruction." We would be given paper-bound text books, Assembler Language coding pads, and pencils, but otherwise left on our own to learn a new generation of computer architecture and the language used to program it. Every 90 minutes an IBM expert would join us and ask us if we had questions. After a brief discussion with the expert, we would take a break.

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