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FAQ

Do I have to complete the BSU Computer Science Teacher program before I can start teaching the course material in my school?

The BSU CS teacher programs prepares High School teachers to teach Computer Science courses in their School. We encourage teachers to begin teaching Computer Science in their school before they complete the program.The Exploring Computer Science (ECS) and CS Discoveries (CSD) courses provides a great opportunity to introduce students to computer science concepts. While the AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) course expands the students knowledge and provides opportunities for concurrent enrollment and High School Math or Science credit for graduation. These courses are designed to be engaging to a wide range of high school students.

Once you have completed the “CS 501 AP Computer Science Principles” course, you are well on your way to teach the ECS or CSD courses. Teachers may choose to supplement their CS 501 course work with hands on experience with the ECS or CSD curriculum. Idaho Digital Learning has hosted summer workshops with the CSD and ECS curriculum.

By the time you have completed “CS 503 Teaching and Learning Computer Science I” you have the foundation to teach AP CSP.

Does the Idaho Professional Standards Commission (PSC) have a computer science teacher endorsement?

The ISEE code manual shows dual credit CS classes will count for Math/Science credits, but it doesn’t require the new CS Endorsement at this time. The Endorsement has been approved, however the PSC will make it a requirement at some time in the future.

Currently, BSU has a Masters teacher program with CS Emphasis and a Graduate Certificate in Teacher Endorsement that are approved for the endorsement.

Are the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) and AP Computer Science Principals (CSP) courses a sequence for students?

  • The ECS course is targeted to attract a broad diverse audience to explore a student’s interest in Computer Science. There are no prerequisites for this course.
  • The AP CSP course is intended to be a more in-depth discovery of Computer Science. The ECS course material would be useful to a student taking AP CSP; however, a student will be able to pick up the material after completing Algebra II. Thus ECS is not a prerequisite for AP CSP.
  • NOTE: The AP CSP course is basically the high school version of the CS 101 class at Boise State.  This is similar to the material presented in the CS 501 course for teachers.

Is the Computer Science Principles course AP accredited?  Can students who take this course receive college credit?

  • The College Board has approved CSP as a AP curriculum for Fall 2016.
  • BSU offers concurrent enrollment for the AP CSP course as CS 101.  Concurrent enrollment can be obtained for students successfully passing the course taught by a BSU qualified teacher.

What are the equipment requirements for ECS and AP CSP courses?

  • Each student should have access to a computing device (e.g., Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook or tablet) device with internet access. This provides a number of possibilities a school might consider:
    • Schedule existing computer lab(s) for this course.
    • A number of schools have access to a laptop cart which can be scheduled for use. This allows the course to be offered without allocating a dedicated room for devices.
    • Other schools are considering an alternative of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).
    • For larger classes, consider a hybrid model in which a schools laptop cart is used and students may choose to utilize their own device to expand the computer capacity for the class.
  • The teacher should carefully consider the computing requirements:
    • Each platform will impose different requirements on the teacher, a homogeneous environment can simplify the teachers work.
    • A keyboard and mouse are very useful when writing and editing code, thus a tablet alone may make coding more difficult affecting student interest and progress.
  • The ECS curriculum unit 6 is about Robotics.  This unit is optional, but may be an enjoyable unit to cap off the ECS course.
    • Some school districts have created technology grants – check with your district or the Idaho STEM Action Center regarding grant opportunities.
    • CTE certification provides additional opportunities for teachers to obtain money for classroom equipment.
 

What does the timeline for a new pilot CS course look like at the secondary level?

  • Each district has their own process, the few districts we have information on have a deadline for the initial pilot application around October 15th to pilot a new course in the Fall of the following year. Due to the differences in districts, it is best to have the Pilot course discussion with your Principal as soon as possible before October.
  • The curriculum committee will consider the proposal and provide their decision. In the Boise district the decision is made before November 30th.
  • If the application is approved additional information will submitted to the content area supervisor. This information may be similar to what the Boise districts requests by January 31st:
    • A detailed budget, including student fees
    • Course prerequisites
    • A course outline and assessment plan