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Programming course for teachers gets Google backing

Wolverhampton lecturers secure funding from Google to develop a new online course for computer science teachers

Posted by Stephanie Broad | July 29, 2016 | Technology

The new Java Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) at the University of Wolverhampton is designed to prepare secondary teachers to teach the programming elements new to the GCSE and A-level syllabuses, and will cover computer programming, algorithms and object-oriented programming. 

Dr Patricia Davies, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science in the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, along with colleagues, Dr Liam Naughton and Dr Fernando Loizides, secured $13,000 funding to provide professional development initiatives for teachers across the UK.

The University is one of three UK universities –alongside UCL and University of Kent– to receive the funding from Google. Other renowned universities which received similar funding from Google this year include Trinity College, Dublin, Princeton University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and University of California, Berkeley. 

The course will be launched at the Google Festival of Computer Science being held at the University in the autumn and an awards ceremony is planned for participants next spring. 

Dr Davies said: “The new course is designed to empower teachers of Computer Science and prepare them to meet the challenges of the new GCSE and A Level syllabuses. We will provide teachers with comprehensive course materials and plenty of programming exercises, all designed to be used in the classroom.  There will also be sections to assist with underlying mathematics concepts and robotics applications using The Finch, a small robot designed at Carnegie Mellon University, to inspire and engage learners in programming. 

“Anyone taking part also has the chance to win a Finch Robot for their institution if he or she submits assignments by the end of January 2017.” 

Dr Davies has been appointed as an AP Computer Science Reader and was invited to participate in this year’s reading of the Advanced Placement Computer Science exams by the United States College Board.

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