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Preview: Comments on: The long tail may not hit a target: High school teachers

Comments on: The long tail may not hit a target: High school teachers

How do people understand computing, and how can we improve that understanding?

Last Build Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2017 21:33:43 +0000


By: What happens when professionals take on-line CS classes: When Life and Learning Do Not Fit « Computing Education Blog

Wed, 09 Jan 2013 14:47:29 +0000

[...] journal article on the research that Klara Benda, Amy Bruckman, and I did finally came out last month the ACM Transactions on Computing Education.  The abstract is below. [...]

By: Comparing MOOCs and books « Computing Education Blog

Fri, 07 Dec 2012 13:26:27 +0000

[...] I just came back from a visit to Stanford where John Mitchell, vice-provost for on-line education at Stanford, explained to me the value of MOOCs over textbooks.  Textbooks don’t provide much of a feedback mechanism to the author — you write the book, and you get feedback from your class and maybe a few teachers who adopt your book and provide you comments.  But MOOCs let you try out ideas at scale, even do A/B testing on how to present something, and get feedback for the next design iteration.  I pointed out to him that that’s true, but only if you can separate out the signal from the noise.  Which MOOC students do you really want to get feedback from?  The 80% of “students” who are re-taking a course they’ve taken before?  The 90% of enrollees who never planned to finish? [...]

By: Lloyd

Wed, 01 Feb 2012 05:44:45 +0000

The Stanford courses offered in the fall were on relatively advanced topics. The more relevant test, for training high school teachers, is not success rate (however measured) on the AI or ML courses, but on the CS 1 class scheduled for the spring.

By: gasstationwithoutpumps

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 20:22:34 +0000

The UCSC summer courses (which include the 2nd programming course and the main data structures and algorithms course) cost about $1500. That's a couple hundred dollars more than Open Campus enrollment for non-students during the school year. Cabrillo College (like other community colleges) offers similar classes (some on-line) for about $175 (for California residents, out-of-state students would pay an extra $708). They've not released their summer schedule yet, so I don't know which courses they will offer over the summer. The way the state budget is looking, it is likely that there will be far fewer courses available than in previous years.

By: Laura

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 19:03:47 +0000

One word: Summer. I have taken several courses in order to be ready to teach CS 1, which I am teaching this year. First, I went through a textbook. Then I took a six-week online course. Then, I basically took my own course. The six-week online course was a disaster for me. The content was good, but I had no time to complete all the assignments. Those were all first-level courses and now that I'm ready for CS 2 essentially, it's harder to find things. Everything I see is geared toward the complete novice. I've looked an online courses through the community colleges, but they often don't offer what I want in the summer, which is when I have time. And places that do offer good courses in the summer are ridiculously expensive. I'm not going to pay $3k to take a course, even if it would be "good for me". One thing I've done that's been successful is the weekend workshop. I've done a couple of these to pick up, for example, Arduino programming or Scratch. But these are usually focused around a particular technology, and geared toward beginners. If you have time to continue playing around with what you've learned, then it's great. I took both of the workshops in the summer. See? Summer!

By: Contacting home-schooling parents and parents of gifted kids « Gas station without pumps

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 18:14:37 +0000

[...] Mark Guzdial’s Computing Ed blog, I commented The ‘gifted children’ mailing lists are full of parents looking for computer [...]

By: gasstationwithoutpumps

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 17:40:42 +0000

The best lists I've found for parents of gifted kids are the "tag" lists at but marketing is prohibited on the lists. The best clearinghouse for info about gifted students is Hoagies (and they will take advertising, I think, though most of their material is non-commercial). Their list of on-line communities is at Listing resources at Hoagies is a great way to reach a lot of parents and teachers of gifted kids, as it is the most commonly referred to resource site. (So far as I know, listing stuff at Hoagies is free—they are interested in being as inclusive as possible of resources.) One of the three home-school lists I'm on is tagmax (one of the lists)—the other two are local and not appropriate to list here. There is a lot of discussion of curricula and on-line courses, and endorsements of particular classes are ok (as long as they are real endorsements by people on the list whose kids have taken the courses—advertisers are quickly banned).

By: Cecily

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 15:54:23 +0000

Tell me more about these 'gifted children' and 'homeschool' mailing lists- how does one go about getting on them and marketing materials to them? Thanks!

By: gasstationwithoutpumps

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 15:38:46 +0000

I suspect that on-line courses will have a much higher drop-out rate than in-person classes. There is simply less social and emotional investment in finishing an on-line course—particularly a free one. I think that an on-line effort to reach kids is more likely to work than an on-line effort to reach high-school teachers. The 'gifted children' mailing lists are full of parents looking for computer science courses (on-line, textbook, summer camp, … ) for their kids. So are the homeschool mailing lists. There is a large under-served market—the best known player is iD tech camps ( and their material tends to be rather light on content and unsatisfying to the brighter students. Once you train the high-school teachers to be good enough programmers to teach CS1, there is a strong chance that they will leave teaching for the higher pay and lower workload of programming, so the CS 10K effort may be doomed from the start, unless you get most of the teacher-training colleges to include CS as a required course so that there is a lot longer tail of teachers who think that they might be able to teach programming.

By: Alfred Thompson

Tue, 31 Jan 2012 15:36:58 +0000

The more I try to leave an intelligent comment here the more I realize I don't know enough to do so. I keep coming up with questions. Like, who will be taking these online courses and why will they be signing up? Will they be interested and excited about the new courses? Will they be taking the course just to get a stipend or will they be upset about not getting a stipend for the training? Will they be taking it on release time or "their own time?" Will the teachers know for sure that they will be teaching this material to full classrooms? It seems as though the training itself is the easy part. The online method a less expensive way to scale but one that only matters if the right students are taking the course.