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While reading Disrupting Class, I got to thinking about how we can offer some courses to support those few students who may want to take computer science (private school--small enrollment). Do you know of a good online course provider for AP computer science A and AB? Apex and UC College Prep do not offer these courses. I searched and could not find any other online provider. Do you think a student can learn computer science well enough through independent means?

Tags: AP, computer, learning, online, science

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Hi Barbara,

I do think properly motivated students could learn AP Comp. Sci. via an online course. I'm currently developing an online version of the Java course that is a prerequisite to our AP Comp. Sci. course. If the development of the Java course goes well I may consider working on a virtual AP Comp. Sci. course next year.

Fred
Thank you, Fred. That would be a good opportunity for students from other schools, who don't have a teacher available.
Hi Fred - I'm so glad to hear that you think it can be done well online. I'm very interested and hope you will keep us in the loop as these courses are developed. We can never get a class to make - being all girls, we have trouble getting a good number interested and hate to disappoint those when a class doesn't have enough students to make it viable.
You know what would be interesting? I wonder if a group of girls at various independent schools could enroll in an online AP and also participate with a mentor in a Ning/other similar structure? It seems related to the Disrupting Class conversation that has been going on.
Sarah
Sarah,

That would definitely be interesting. How do we make it happen?

Fred
Wow. What an innovative idea. I'd love to be involved in helping making this happen, but I can't help mentor since I am not a programmer or CS teacher. I need to have a conversation with my division Head to get the idea of a CS or gaming course going. Game design would be a great course to offer, too.
I'm not a programmer or CS teacher either. Maybe AP isn't the place to start, maybe just CS or game design. If we can't find a mentor, maybe one of us (maybe me) could enroll along with the students? It would be a stretch for me, I'm a language based literacy type in a middle school, but it would be good for me too.

Now is the time to get this setup, before enrollments for next year. I'll talk with our academic dean as soon as I can catch him (that's the real feat) and maybe we can talk this up at NAIS?

Sarah
I am sure we can find a mentor. There are game design firms here in Austin that have gone out of business recently, so there are bound to be programmers willing to help. I want to talk to our division Head about this idea and see what we can dream up if he won't agree to a course being taught on campus. Let's keep this alive.
I just started teaching a Game Design course at our upper school. I use Processing, which is a fabulous tool, and free. While we also experimented with Flash, it was clear that working in Processing was easier, more flexible, and more accessible to the students (and also free!).
I would love to be able to offer our girls an opportunity under the scenario that your propose, Sarah. Right now we don't offer any CS outside of FIRST Robotics (which is HUGELY popular at our school).

I would hope, though, that the girls could experience the world of learning CS in a highly social manner though (one of the things I love about Scratch is the community that you can become a part of). I have a hunch that the robotics program at our school is so popular because it is a highly social learning experience. I also think that, because we don't have a deep history of CS at our school, that we could somehow offer it in a way that is more passion based/less focused on grades...pipe dream probably, but just a thought. I would be interested in steering them away from AP to a more exploratory, open ended way to learn coding.

Just some thoughts...
I'd also like to find a good provider for online computer science courses and other courses. I have a vague memory of someone posting a link last year. I'll have to dig through the archives.
I did a search before I posted and didn't turn up anything on our Ning.

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