Instant Blended Classroom
Yesterday I wanted to talk about Stanford’s upcoming CS-101 online course. I sat down to write an intro paragraph, because I have some weird hangups about link posts, and then. . ..well, that happened. Yeah.
So, here’s the rest of the backwards story. This online course is built around materials from Nick Parlante‘s (yes, Coding Bat and Nifty Assignment Nick Parlante) semester long course. You can sign up now, and the class itself launches in February.
Last year when I taught a semester long CS elective, I found myself doing much the same thing. Trying to meet the needs of students with a huge range of experience and skill levels, I churned through hundreds of CS resources. Out of this hodgepodge stew, Coding Bat and the in-browser MediaComp exercises were clear standouts. Personally, I’m excited to revist those ideas in a cohesive curricular context.
But in our short Thanksgiving week, I had almost a dozen conversations with middle and highschool students asking about “how to learn code.” Normally I point them to the vast resources of the web and either CodingBat or Project Euler as a motiviating frame (or Python the Hard Way if they aren’t looking for motivation). This week I mentioned the cs-101 class, and then recieved a trickle of emails from students after they signed up.
So now, instead of jamming a full hour class (on the wrong campus!) into my schedule, and asking students to do the same, I find that I have a similar sized group looking to tackle similar material outside of the school day. They’re forming Wiggo and Google+ groups already, swapping resources and tips for getting started.
The combination of Stanford’s name and the promise of a fixed schedule has somehow created a new course, and a new type of classroom, for our school. I couldn’t be more excited.