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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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I teach a face-to-face AP Computer Science class here at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. This year I have been experimenting with an online course to supplement the students' learning: eImacs, at

The cost was very reasonable and the readings, labs, and tests are all administered through the browser. I've been assigning homework through eImacs, then using class time to have kids work on some additional labs that I've used for several years. I find that they are better prepared when they come to class, having worked through the online material the night before.

Also, I can find out exactly how often, and for how long, kids have been working on the online exercises because the site tracks everything.

I also supplement what we do with exercises from the great, free, online resource JavaBat, at What a great site that is!

I don't think the eImacs course is a direct substitute for the face-to-face learning and collaboration that take place in the classroom, but I am pleased with it overall. And I have suggested it as an independent study option to students who cannot enroll in the AP course due to scheduling conflicts. For certain kids, who are very self-motivated, I think it is a good alternative.

Hope this helps,


Great information! Could you explain how the pricing works for eimacs? I briefly looked around their website and the only price I saw was $800+ for a student taking an AP course.


I have students take C programming through Stanford's EPGY program. The also offer some java classes. They were priced at $450 per trimester, as much as you could learn in three months for $450. If you completed two courses, so be it. If you needed two trimesters to complete one course, that's ok too. I was always pleased with the program and care of the online teachers, though C may be a bit dated now.

I think the Orchard School tried to run an AP computer science class a few years back and it didn't stick. Anyone considering a new offering might want to see what could be learned by their efforts.
Thanks for your reply. Does the EPGY program teach the content needed to pass the AP CS A and AB tests?
Here's the link to EPGY. They have a new offering called an online high school, and within that program they do offer an AP computer science class, but it has some prerequisites, and these classes look much more expensive than the regular EPGY classes. I guess you pay for the brand.

I've also attached their course catalog.
Wonderful. Thanks for your time and attention to my post.
Sure, earlier this year, it was a $50 setup fee and then about $10 per student for one year of access. So, for my class of fifteen students, it came out to about $200.
But as always, your mileage may vary... ;-)

It's an approved AP course so it satisfies the course audit.
I'll check this out. Thank you for your reply and ideas.
I am currently "advising" a student who wants to learn Java and take the AP CS exam in the spring. We found this free course from Stanford University. It includes all of the materials and lectures. He and I meet once a week and he shows me what he has accomplished. I do not know Java, so I am learning as I go. He is going to study for the AP exam on his own. I am going to help him to organize his time and keep him on task. It will be interesting to see how he does on the exam. I am grading him as Pass/Fail on his report card.
This looks like a manageable way to offer the course for this student. And, you are learning, too! Thanks for this info. I'll check into the course--thanks for the link.
I had a meeting with our academic dean this week. We would like to have our students participate in an online course next year, possibly AP or a more intro/specialized course, with students from other independent schools. The academic dean's concern is that we would want students to have a teacher who is already part of an independent school.

What do we need to do next to make this happen as all of us head into planning for next year? We can't offer a teacher, but I think 2 or 3 students would enroll and we have faculty to support the students both in the subject and in the distance learning. I might should post this on the VIS thread instead of here.

Your dean's concern is a perfect example of why think it is a good idea to keep the VIS within the independent school world. That world already filters its participants and by taking advantage of that filtering we can lower anxiety levels about the dangers of the Internet.

How do we make this happen? I think we just need to get X independent schools to commit to the concept. See my post over on the VIS thread for more thoughts about a process to get this moving.



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