The CS0 effort focuses on adoption of pre-CS, a three-unit course that uses graphics and animation to engage and prepares students who have no prior experience in computing. Students are provided with an opportunity to learn the basics of programming concepts and to develop problem solving and systemic reasoning skills, while becoming familiar with a programming environment. Such CS0 courses can serve as a recruitment and motivational tool to attract students who are taking a computer science course as one of their science or general studies electives.
A CS0 course can:
- be fun and engaging,
- introduce students to programming,
- teach skills vital for success in a CS/STEM discipline, and
- assist with career choices, including recruitment into CS/STEM disciplines.
A wide variety of introductory programs have been developed. While they each introduce students to some component of "computer science," they are not interchangeable. For example, some:
- teach how to assemble a computer,
- teach how to use "office automation" programs,
- teach how to construct or modify programs,
- survey types of careers or provide experience assessing application needs,
- focus on the production of multimedia or programming of robots,
- make discrete math and common algorithms tangible activities that don't require devices, and
- use programming to reinforce understandings of math and physics.
Two CS0 courses with different emphases have been successfully implemented at CAHSI institutions. A comparison of the courses is provided in the table below:
For further information, contact the CAHSI Program Manager.