Computational Thinking in CTF and CSE – A Proposed On-line University Course for 2015

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In 2014 the U of A’s Secondary Education Department offered a hybrid (on-line and face-to-face) undergraduate/graduate course designed to promote computing oriented Project Based learning. The course was primarily aimed at pre-service and in-service teachers interested in offering computing oriented projects for the new Career Technology Foundations (CTF) program and for the Computer Science Education (CSE) Occupational Area of the CTS program. Unfortunately the course was under subscribed and had to be cancelled. However an email follow-up with teachers who had expressed an interest in the course suggested that a purely on-line

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version of the course would have attracted sufficient students to run the course. The “face to face” or F2F component of the course was too much of a hurdle for teachers outside of the Edmonton area. Accordingly I’m thinking about offering a revamped version of the course for the summer of 2015. As currently conceived, the course would be completely on-line, available both for audit and for University credit and open to both pre-service and in-service teachers. The credit version of the course would be offered at both an undergraduate and graduate level through the Department of Secondary Education (SE Dept) at the U of A. In addition to providing a general outline of the CTF and CSE programs of study, the course(s) would provide a pragmatic, “how-to-use-it-in-the classroom” examination of Computational Thinking (CT), outline how CT can be used by students as well as teachers for project design and execution, explore a number of useful computational tools. The course(s) would pay special attention as to how to design/develop well sequenced active, student centered projects and other activities AND how to carry out formative, summative and meta-cognitive assessment of those activities. I will have to submit a formal proposal to the SE Dept to have the course accepted for summer 2015 delivery but I do have considerable support at the University level for the course and hope to tie it in with a 2015 CS4HS Academy proposal. (See for information about Google’s CS4HS program). More to come…

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About the Author:

Harvey Duff is a retired AP/IB CS teacher/Department Head/School ICT coordinator currently working as a volunteer High School Outreach Consultant for the Department of Computing Science and as an occasional ICT/CTS/CSE instructor in the Department of Secondary Education at the U of A. Since retiring from High School teaching, he has been working on projects designed to promote Computer Science and ICT in the Senior High schools. He was a developer/instructor for the Ed Tech section of the Masters in Educational Studies program, a research assistant for the U of A’s Computer Gaming Group, the lead developer for the new Computer Science Education curriculum, and worked with the U of A’s CS Department to have Computer Science Education recognized as a university entrance subject. In addition he has been the organizer of the semi-annual CS/CT teachers’ symposia at the U of A since 2006, an instructional materials developer for Advance Education and is currently mentoring a number of teachers new to CTF and CSE. While he’s still very active with the Senior High School CS community, his main professional area of interest at this point is the development of mechanisms and materials to support teachers new to High School CSE and the development of a set of CS/CT oriented project based materials that can be used in the CTF program currently under development at Alberta Education. As part of this initiative he coordinated the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Google CS4HS Summer Academies hosted by the CS Department at the U of A, is developing a course for Secondary Education aimed at incorporating Computer Technologies into CTF and is currently trying to get funding from Google (and others) for a CS4HS-like program for Middle School/Junior High teachers.
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  1. Harv  August 27, 2014

    Just a note clarifying time of the above post…

    I actually wrote the above post on August 27 2014. However instead of doing a brand new post I edited an old post. That’s why the old date of October shows up.

    Sorry for any confusion…


    • Allan  May 12, 2015

      Hi Harvey,
      Depending on cost, I’m interested in this course. Please keep me informed.


      Rocky View Schools


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