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IUPUI Chosen to Offer New Computer Science Principles Course

Release Date: 
Jun 20 2013

The Department of Computer and Information Science at IUPUI this fall will pilot an innovative new computer science course designed to introduce high school and college students to the career advantages of computer science training. 

James HillThe College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles program selected only 40 high schools and 11 universities to launch the new course, which will be titled as “CSCI-N199: Computer Science Principles” at IUPUI. The course seeks to strengthen student knowledge in fundamental computer science beyond traditional computer programming education.

The College Board joined forces with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch this new program to introduce students to the fundamental concepts of computing, its breadth of application and its potential for transforming the world, according to program materials. Recent data indicates fewer students today take the AP Computer Science exam or pursue a computer science major, despite a critical need to fill these jobs for the U.S. economy to remain competitive. 

“This honor puts IUPUI on the national map in how to attract more diverse students to computing education,” said Snehasis Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., professor of computer science and responsible for developing the content for the course. “This course will help fill a national and regional priority, given the crisis we face with the high number of job opportunities in this area compared to the relatively low number of graduates.”

Michele Roberts, a lecturer in computer science, will teach the course beginning this fall. She currently teaches introductory courses on the fundamentals of web development and computer science concepts and also participates in many outreach efforts to recruit students to computer science.

With support from an IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning Curriculum Enhancement Grant, the course will target non-computer science majors interested in learning high-demand computing principles. It eventually will be offered as an AP course with college credit to high school students interested in computer science. 

The course also will benefit current Bachelor of Arts students studying computer science who seek to strengthen their skills in computing in general rather than only programming, said Mukhopadhyay. Associate Dean of Science Kathy Marrs will coordinate Peer-Led Team Learning mentoring support as part of the project.

“This course, unlike our current introductory computing course, covers seven broad, cutting-edge themes of computer science and is taught using innovative teaching techniques inline with those recommended by the NSF and AP College Board,” Mukhopadhyay added.

The initiative also requires efforts be enhanced to attract more diverse students to computer science, especially women.

The pilot schools will offer the course for the next three years, and feedback from those courses will help design the final course curriculum to be offered in the fall of 2016. The first AP Computer Science Principles exam is slated to begin in May 2017.

The program is the result of work done by the NSF Computing Education for the 21st Century program, from which the School of Science has applied for grant funding, and continues IUPUI’s commitment to advancing STEM education at the K-12 and post-secondary level.

A complete list of pilot schools can be found at http://www.csprinciples.org/home/pilot-sites.