Thursday, April 07, 2011

Computer Science Curricula In Flux

I don’t know when I have ever seen as much going on with computer science curriculum going on at one time. In the K12 space there is an NSF initiative looking at a new pre-APCS course while the College Board, also with NSF support,  is hard at work developing the AP CS Principles course. CSTA is reviewing and looking at updating the ACM K-12 CS Model Curriculum. With all that going on in K12 one might be tempted to think that was enough. But it’s not. There is actually an important curriculum review going on in higher education computer science curriculum.

Specifically the CS 2013 project is going on to review curriculum recommendations for undergraduate computer science curriculum in American (and potentially other) universities. This is an effort undertaken jointly by the ACM and the IEEE Computer Society, the two main computer science professional societies. This effort is still in the early stages but a steering committee has been appointed and is holding regular meetings virtually and face to face. The steering committee made a brief report at the recent SIGCSE conference and more public information will be available over time. The committee has opened a web site (from which I have copied some introductory information below) at 

Computing Curriculum: Computer Science 2013 (CS2013) Overview

Following a roughly 10 year cycle, the ACM and IEEE Computer Society jointly sponsor the development of a Computing Curricula volume on Computer Science. These volumes have helped to set international curricular guidelines for undergraduate programs in computing. In the summer of 2010, planning for the next volume in the series, Computer Science 2013 (CS2013), began. The charter for this effort is given below.
To review the Joint ACM and IEEE/CS Computer Science volume of Computing Curricula 2001 and the accompanying interim review CS 2008, and develop a revised and enhanced version for the year 2013 that will match the latest developments in the discipline and have lasting impact.

The CS2013 task force will seek input from a diverse audience with the goal of broadening participation in computer science. The report will seek to be international in scope and offer curricular and pedagogical guidance applicable to a wide range of institutions. The process of producing the final report will include multiple opportunities for public consultation and scrutiny.

The membership of the committee includes faculty from many universities as well as a few representatives from industry. You can se the whole list at CS2013 Steering Committee. You will probably recognize some names there. If you  get to the very last name on the second column you’ll find Alfred Thompson. Somewhat humbling to be in such august company but I’m doing my best to keep up.

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