On my MSC course we were introduced to Java as the first and most important module on a conversion course. Most of the group had very limited computing backgrounds, and many of the students fell behind.
However, for the few of us who were able to engage with the concepts immediately and navigate the API, we soon excelled and have since become competent programmers in multiple OO languages.
In September 2004 I had never programmed before, and less than 9 months later I am nearing the end of my MSC course with an amazing breadth of knowledge and understanding.
Therefore, for me Java was the best language to learn. However, the course has caused some students to struggle, but the focus should be on trying to find out what new students find difficult with the concepts so these issues can be addressed.