Exploring Computer Science Education Resources and IT Job Sector, Pulcer, Summer 2019

Course Number: EDU 5515 C100 (graduate) EDU 4710 CFS40 (undergraduate)
Instructor: Ronald Pulcer
Location: Castleton University and Online
Dates and Times: August 15 - 16 (2 days) In-person; August - November Online activities, assignments, explorations, projects; November (1 day TBD by class) In-person. Exact times TBD.
3 graduate or undergraduate
Tuition: $975

Course Description

The purpose of this course is threefold: Classroom teachers will get an overview of resources and tools available for basic computer science education.  Teachers will also explore some hands-on "coding" (AKA computer programming or software development) with Hour of Code, Scratch and Python.  Coding is a higher-level form of "computer literacy" beyond using computer or phone applications.  Even students who don't plan to study CS in-depth can benefit.  Students can gain basic knowledge of logic, problem solving and debugging while applying basic coding skills to other subject areas or hobbies.  There will also be a high-level exploration of the Information Technology (IT) economy and job sector, and the ever evolving roles of education, business and government.  Technology keeps evolving and businesses and education are challenged to keep up.  Basic skills learned via Scratch and Python can later be used with Raspberry Pi computers in schools.  Basic computer science concepts learned via Hour of Code, Scratch and Python can be applied and transferred to whatever new programming languages and tools might appear in the future.


K-12 educators who are interested in using or integrating beginner to intermediate level “coding” activities in their classroom, subject area and/or grade-level.

Course Objectives

Course Goals:

Explore some introductory topics in CS and coding, and brainstorm how you might apply “coding” activities in your classroom, subject area and/or grade-level, in order to begin taking steps.

Course Objectives:

  •  Learn why Computer Science is an important subject for student learning and our future economy.
  • Explore a variety of resources and organizations that help teachers to learn and teach CS topics, and share their knowledge and skills with other educators.
  • Introductory explorations of the Code.org "Hour of Code", Scratch Programming, Python Programming, via hands-on activities, and an overview of Raspberry Pi computer.
  • Brainstorm and experiment with how you might apply “coding” activities in your classroom.
  • Discuss how the roles of K-12, colleges, businesses and government have evolved over time in regards to computer programming education and tech jobs.
  • Compare the varying types and levels of participation of women and minorities in CS and STEM fields over time, including Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, and the African-American women who were human "computers" for NASA, as depicted in the 2017 film, "Hidden Figures".
  • Gain an understanding of the current state of CS and STEM education and the demand for IT and tech workers, both within Vermont and across the U.S.
  • Explore Vermont tech sector (orgs, Meetups, businesses, conferences, events).
  • Possible discussion topics:
    • How might the Vermont tech sector be expanded in the future, throughout all of Vermont, beyond concentration in northwestern Vermont?
    • How might education, business and government better work together to improve CS and STEM education and the IT economy, and improve future opportunities for students.
    • What might education, business and government do to keep up with ever changing and evolving technology?

Required Readings

Required readings are not included in the course tuition.

Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age

by Douglas Rushkoff

Soft Skull Press; 1st edition (September 6, 2011)

ISBN-10: 9781593764265

ISBN-13: 978-1593764265




Related Study Guide



Other Suggested Readings/Texts:

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

by Walter Isaacson

Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (October 6, 2015)

ISBN-10: 1476708703

ISBN-13: 978-1476708706


Teachers may choose which chapter(s) are of interest (hopefully as a group, we can cover most or all of book).

In the Beginning was the Command Line

by Neal Stephenson, 1999


William Morrow Paperbacks (1738)




Note: While this essay seems a bit dated today, for some it can be fun read which provides a good historical perspective of CLI vs. GUI interfaces, and Operating Systems of that era.  This was written before tablets and smart phones, so it doesn't mention Android or ioS.

Websites: Choice of readings and explorations from a variety of resources:

For additional course information

Ronald Pulcer
(802) 775-8861

For registration or payment information

Bethany Sprague

(802) 468.1325

Register online now!