As much as I hate to admit it, outside circumstances are forcing my hand (somewhat willingly) as to what programming courses we will be offering next year. It is not a major change and, in the long run, I think it will be a change for the better of the students. The local University of Montana College of Technology is offering college credit to high school students that take the CoT’s two programming courses. The courses are taught at the high school by the high school teacher. The only restriction made is our course has to hit the learning points laid out by the CoT in their syllabus. The CoT courses are both based on VB.net and are fairly basic. The 3 credit courses will cost the kids about $120 each which is a screaming deal for the kids. The kids have to be juniors or seniors, which I am not so crazy about because the first CoT course is what we normally offer to our sophomores as a first year programming course. The second course is an Object Oriented Programming design course, which we do not offer but looks worthwhile. The CoT courses force me to use VB which I was debating discontinuing but this sort of put VB back in the middle of my curriculum. I will have to write up a sophomore programming course so the kids will not suffer through two semesters of the same course if a sophomore wants to take the CoT credit course as a junior. I have always wanted to re-do the Programming I course we offer sophomores anyway. Right now it is a fairly cold VB course out of a text book. I think I can write up a course with Small Basic and RobotC with Lego robots that will get sophomores interested in the field and be a lot more fun for student and teacher. I think I can also squeeze out a second semester sophomore programming course with things like Alice and GameMaker. We do not offer a freshman programming course because the wee folk are already buried in required courses and more critical electives.
What to Teach Next Year