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Connie E. Winch points out:
Some are arguing that exercises like writing instructions for tying
shoe laces are
unrealistic, too simplistic, etc.
That way we were a little more prepared than we otherwise would have
been when she <snip> said "Here's a piece of software; write a manual
I think you make the point very clear, Connie. As a "project" tying shoes
or using pencils would indeed be pointless and unrealistic. As exercises to
put the student in the right frame of mind to tackle a real project.
Whether those exercises are necessary at a graduate level is open to debate
-- but certainly at an introductory level they make a very valuable point.