A true CS course for next year

Next year I would like to shift my programming course to a true computer science course.  This means finding some guidelines.  If I were doing this for a math or science course I would typically round up some textbooks and pick through them to find the stuff I like and build the course around that core.  For CS this means finding a course outline, modifying it to fit my knowledge comfort level, maybe finding a textbook to use as a guide and deciding on some objectives.  CS has a little problem; textbooks are scarce and no one can seem to agree on what ”Computer Science” consists of.   I have never really taught a CS course, it has always been a programming course.  The reason I am looking at this now is I will be offering a dual-credit Java course next year.  The university course is one semester, I will do the same course in one year.  So this gives me lots of time to do a real CS course.  The extra time is because the average university student carries a much lighter load than one of my school’s students and therefore the college course is much higher paced.  A college student may have 3 to 5 classes, one or two of which may be basket weaving and underwater basket weaving.  Our kids are carrying 8 classes with again 1 or 2 that are not time intensive.  So I have to go course hunting.  I am hoping Google will be good to me.

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3 Responses to “A true CS course for next year”

  1. Alan Fekete Says:

    I’d recommend looking at the fairly diverse courses that are grouped under CS Principles http://www.csprinciples.org/ They all include some programming, but also focus on important computer science ideas. The initial pilots were done at universities, but now many have been tried in high schools. The university profs involved have very good awareness of the pedagogy issues in the high school context.

    Another possibility, with plenty of computer science as well as programming, is John Guttag’s course available through EdX https://www.edx.org/course/mitx/mitx-6-00-1x-introduction-computer-1841 This comes also as a textbook; however I don’t know that this has been used much in high schools yet.

    If your goal is to have a course that avoids programming entirely (because you offer other courses on programming), then you might be interested in CS Unplugged, http://csunplugged.org/

  2. Peter Donaldson Says:

    I’d second Alan’s recommendation about looking at the example CS Principles courses.

    Other resources I’d flag up as useful in your quest would be

    The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Computing Science exemplification project. This project currently consists of four learning and teaching units primarily aimed at middle school. http://www.royalsoced.org.uk/1034_ComputingScience.html

    The NewZealand CS Field guide that has a range of activities to illustrate key computing concepts http://www.cosc.canterbury.ac.nz/csfieldguide/

    Exploring Computer Science which is gradually spreading across schools in America and is currently on version 5. http://www.exploringcs.org/

    The Beauty and Joy of Computing which is an online, enhanced version of the original CS Principles pilot course of the same name.
    http://bjc.berkeley.edu/website/curriculum.html

  3. Looking Back To Move Forward | Dot Net RSS Says:

    […] a lot of thinking. Inspired by some teachers I really respect who have blogged their thoughts (Garth Flint and Laura Blankenship) I’ve decided to put some of my thoughts to […]

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