Computer Science to Secondary Schools.
Ten years ago who would have realised a practicum project as part of the celebrated M.Sc. in Electronic Commerce in DCU would have grown to become one of the most successful outreach programmes in Ireland. Throughout Ireland, there is a real need to introduce ICT skills to students at an early age and there is a particular shortage of women in this sector. To date, DCU’s School of Computing has taken in over 4,000 transition year students introducing them to computer programming and encouraging them to study computer science at third level. It is also encouraging to see that, over the last 3 years, over 40% of the total intake of these students are female.
The programme began in 2005 with students learning how to develop their own live website over a week. However, the programme has developed further over the last four years to include two additional streams, Introduction to Java Programming, which uses innovative content from the BSc. in Computer Applications course to provide students with a gentle introduction to an industry-standard programming language, and the AppInventor stream which allows students to develop and publish their own Android Apps on the Google Play store after just a week of tuition. Both courses allow students to learn the concepts of programming in a fun and engaging atmosphere.
ComputeTY Course/Stream Description
In this course, students will develop their own mobile apps using AppInventer, a programming environment developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Students learn the basics of app development using the graphical programming language of Scratch. The apps they develop can then be easily installed on any Android device or ran on the Android Emulator on the PC. This course is suitable for any student who is interested in learning the basics of programming.
Introduction to Programming
In this course, students learn how to program in Java, the most popular programming language in the world. Students are introduced to basic programming concepts using a Pac-Man like learning environment developed at DCU and by working in groups to program fun quizzes based on their interests. No knowledge of programming is required for this course. However, it is slightly more difficult than the AppInventer course and would therefore be particularly suited to students who have already been exposed to some programming, e.g. students who have already worked with a graphical programming language like Scratch and are ready to move on to new challenges.
This programme is fully supported and part funded by the HEA and we also thank CNGL for ongoing sponsorship.