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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Introduction to Computer Science

Homeschool Connections has added a new fall course to the catalog: Introduction to Computer Science. One interesting aspect of this course is that it will be Catholic themed. See the course description to learn more.


Maximum number of students: 15
Class dates: Mondays and Wednesdays, September 7th to December 19th. No class Wednesday, November 23rd.
Total classes: 29
Starting time: 4:30 p.m. Eastern, 3:30 p.m. Central, 2:30 p.m. Mountain, 1:30 p.m. Pacific.

Suggested grade level: 7th – 12th
Duration: 50 minutes per class
Prerequisite: You will need to access Graphical programming tools including Scratch, App Inventor, and Processing to assist you in building foundational computer science knowledge. The tools are available on the web, and you can either use them on the web or you can download and install them on your computer. App Inventor requires either Google Chrome or Firefox internet browsers, and to run your apps you may need to install an emulator if you do not own an Android device. Students should have a general familiarity with computers – the ability to open applications, use menu-driven commands, and type using the keyboard – so that the emphasis of time can be placed on specific programming lessons. To access the course tools:
Suggested high school credit: 1 semester Computer Science
Fee: $225 if you register on or before August 15th, 2016. $250 after August 15th for all 15 classes. ($270 after September 5th)
Instructor: Margaret Morrow, Ph.D.
Course description: This is an entry-level course, which is designed to expose students to what computer scientists do on a daily basis. . Students will build games, illustrate stories, and create art, animations, and music during their exploration. The tools we will use have similar properties to building block toys used by children to construct model sized homes, stores, and towns. Students will learn about computing careers, the history of computer science, hardware and software design, and discovering ways for technology to serve people and communities. By the end of the class, students will be able to discern whether or not further studies in this eld are their forte.
Homework: Assignments will have a Catholic theme to them such as create a video adventure game that illustrates a story from the Old Testament, create a quiz game that prepares someone studying for confirmation, research computer science projects at a Catholic University and report what you need, investigate how your Diocese/Church/Priest uses technology tools, completing programming exercises, and online quizzes which provide immediate scoring feedback. In this course, students have an option to share their programs with fellow students via a short in-class demonstration, or by uploading them to the tools website. All assignments are given and graded by the instructor. Students will also collaborate with fellow students and mentor them when needed so as to reinforce their knowledge by helping others. Students can expect 2 to 5 hours of time per week (outside of class time) dedicated to homework. Regular feedback will be provided to the students and their parents to ensure that all are aware of the progress being made throughout the course. 
Course materials: See prerequisite section for a list of required software applications. Extensive handouts and online resources will be provided free by the instructor. Some book recommendations will be made available, but are not required for purchase.

About Peggy Morrow, Ph.D.
Dr. Morrow holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Applications Management and a Masters of Science in Technology Management from the University of Maryland University College Campus, as well as a Ph.D. in Policy Science from University of Maryland Baltimore County. In the beginning of her career, she worked for 20 years as a software engineer, and she worked on a number of interesting projects for employers including the National Weather Service, D.C.’s Metro System, and Orbital Science. More recently, she has spent 17 years teaching computer science, business, and math at the university, middle, and high school levels.
     Currently, Mrs. Morrow homeschools her youngest son (a high school senior) and teaches a Financial Algebra course locally. She has taught Catholic religious education, helped with the middle and high school youth at her parish, and volunteered with Catholic Prison Ministries. She also enjoys singing in her parish choir with her youngest son.

     Dr. Morrow; her husband, Dennis; son, Ben; live about an hour north of Denver. Her two grown sons are on their own at this point, and she sees them whenever possible to catch-up and enjoy her two beautiful grandchildren.

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