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Course Description

EDUC 439/639: Computational Thinking

Defines computational thinking as the manner in which computer scientists approach the solving of complex problems by breaking them down into manageable components and creating named procedures for performing each part. Facilitates learning how to reason like this to help students become better problem solvers across a broad range of occupations and careers. Presents the Internet as the world’s best example of computational thinking in action. Provides labs in which students create their own computational artifacts, i.e., projects created using the powerful tools available on the Internet. By remixing and contributing new thinking of their own, students become developers who move beyond using to inventing and understanding how their creations contribute to the expanding universe of knowledge and capability on the Internet. Thus, new careers present themselves all across the disciplines.


Your grade in this course will be based on your performance on a series of assignments that appear on this online syllabus. At any time, you can view the assignments. This list of assignments provides you with a snapshot of what you need to do in this course. All the rest is optional. It is totally up to you how much of the other material you will want to complete. Your instructor will help guide you, depending on the topics you choose to pursue.


You will receive grades on three kinds of activities. First, there are communication assignments that involve you in online discussions with your fellow classmates and your instructor. Second, you will complete one or more labs designed to immerse you into computational thinking. Third, using tools you learn in the Web Development part of your course textbook, you will create a Web site on a topic of your choosing. These three parts of the course each constitute a third of your final grade.


The key word in this course is flexible. As you work through the modules in this course, many educational technology techniques and approaches will be presented. No one would have time to study all of these materials in depth in one course. Do not feel overwhelmed, therefore, if it seems like there is a lot of material here. There is, but the purpose is to enable you to pick and choose the tools and techniques most useful to your project's goals.