'Program Your Own Castle' - Developing a Self-Guided Tutorial for the Hour of Code

Software Institute

Date: 5 October 2023 / 16:30 - 17:30

USI East Campus, room D1.15

Speaker: Agnese Zamboni & Matthias Hauswirth


The Hour of Code © is an initiative to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer programming. Each year during the week of Grace Hopper’s birthday (December 9, 1906 – she invented the first compiler and coined the term ‘bug’), teachers world-wide direct over ten million students to work through one of the programming tutorials listed on the Hour of Code web site. In this talk we present this summer’s effort at the USI Software Institute, funded by an USI Didactics Innovation Grant, to develop a self-guided one-hour introductory Python tutorial. Our tutorial was developed by a team of USI Bachelor students on top of Luca Chiodini’s PyTamaro Web platform. We describe the development, from the ideation in the mediaval Fortezza Bellinzona and the building of toy castles, over the collaborative development of visual castle components with PyTamaro, the choice of programming concepts to convey, to the development and sequencing of the activities and the testing with users.


In February 2019, the Software Institute started its SI Seminar Series. Every Thursday afternoon, a researcher of the Institute will publicly give a short talk on a software engineering argument of their choice. Examples include, but are not limited to novel interesting papers, seminal papers, personal research overview, discussion of preliminary research ideas, tutorials, and small experiments.

On our YouTube playlist you can watch some of the past seminars. On the SI website you can find more details on the next seminar, the upcoming seminars, and an archive of the past speakers.