Experience Report: an AP CS Principles University Pilot

Beth Simon, Sarah Esper and Cutts Quintin
CS2011-0965
March 18, 2011

We report on the development and deployment of a pilot of the new Advanced Placement CS Principles course in the United States. The course is designed to introduce core computational concepts and instill computational thinking practices. We report on an initial offering with 571 university students, mostly non-CS majors taking the course as a general education requirement. We discuss the instructional design supporting the course, describe how the various components were implemented, and review student work and valuation of the course. Though the course appears to “teach programming” in Alice, students reported gaining significant analysis and communication skills they could use in their daily life. We reflect on how instructional design decisions are likely to have supported this experience and consider the implications for other K-12 computing/IT education efforts as well as for regular CS1 courses.


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