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"First Courses" at Georgia Southern, July 16-19

by Mark Guzdial last modified 2007-08-03 10:24

Our second overview of four "First Courses" approaches for University System of Georgia Faculty

"First Courses" at Georgia Southern, July 16-19

Faculty at the First Courses Workshop

Our second "First Courses" workshop was held July 16-19, 2007, at Georgia Southern University.  The CS Department Chair, Dr. Jim Harris, was our host.  This course covered the same material as the May "First Courses" workshop, at a slower pace (4 days in July vs. 2 days in May) and starting out particularly slow for high school teachers new to computer science who were invited to the workshop.


We had faculty from four institutions participate from Macon State and Armstrong Atlantic, and included multiple faculty from Albany State and Georgia Southern.  The goal of the workshop was to present five different approaches to introducing computing, all approaches that focus on a particular context and have been successful at attracting and retaining women and minority students.  The five approaches were:

  • Introduction to computing and programming via media computation in Python
  • Introduction to computing and programming via media computation in Java
  • Introduction to computing via robotics in Python
  • Introduction to computing via engineering in MATLAB
  • Introduction to data structures via media computation in Java

Survey results were positive about the workshop.  While few participants plan to adopt any of these courses as-is, most participants thought that they could use some of the ideas from these approaches to improve their existing courses. Our plan is to follow what happens at these schools and support them in changing what they do in order to attract more students.




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