Computers and Connections Concentration & Electives

As a student in the C&C concentration you learn a powerful way of thinking called computational thinking. Sometimes problems are very big and complicated. What if someone asked you to figure out how many buses enter Oakland every morning between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.? Computational thinking involves breaking complex problems down into simple, manageable steps. For example, it would be much easier to figure out how many buses enter Oakland from downtown using Fifth Avenue, and then Forbes Avenue, and so on. Computational thinking also involves computer programs – you learn to write computer programs to solve problems. And when the smaller problems are solved, the bigger problem is solved. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But computational thinking taking a lot of practice.

First you learn the basics by creating simple computer-based animations and graphics. Then comes designing and building web pages, followed by using web programming languages. In these courses, and in later ones, learning happens through solving problems. And in all you do, you and your classmates are learning the skills of computational thinking. Tackling messy problems is a skill that applies not only to this concentration, but to many problems – even those outside of science.

Developing the skills for more complex projects, you create programs to solve problems in math and science as well as the arts and humanities. Did you ever wonder how your calculator can add, or multiply, or take the square root of a number? Want something more exciting? Did you ever wonder how NASA knows what path the space shuttle needs to follow to connect to the space station (that is orbiting the Earth!)? It is a little trickier than shooting an arrow into the bulls-eye of a target! Computer programs let scientists and engineers solve many problems that could not be solved fifty years ago. And they also allow novel questions to be asked, leading to new and challenging problems.

The capstone course continues your trajectory along the path of creating more and more complex computer applications applied to tackling real-world issues. Scientific and mathematical challenges provide the basis, ensuring that when you and your classmates successfully emerge from the concentration, you are ready to pursue practically any opportunity – computer science or in another area of interest.


 

Computers and Connections Course Offerings

 

Advanced Programming in Computer Science
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Semester
Credit: 1

This is the capstone course taken by students in the Computers and Connections Concentration.

The overall goal of this course is to provide a strong foundation in the fundamental areas of programming while broadening participation in computing. Using the Java programming language the process of program design and analysis are explored. Topics covered include basic data types and their operators, I/O, control structures (selection, loops), classes (including methods and fields), files, arrays, and simple sorting and searching algorithms.

This course will provide a solid foundation for continued study of Computer Science at the college level and will prepare students for the AP Computer Science A exam.

Advanced Programming in Computer Science

Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Semester
Credit: 1

This is the capstone course taken by students in the Computers and Connections Concentration.

The overall goal of this course is to provide a strong foundation in the fundamental areas of programming while broadening participation in computing. Using the Java programming language the process of program design and analysis are explored. Topics covered include basic data types and their operators, I/O, control structures (selection, loops), classes (including methods and fields), files, arrays, and simple sorting and searching algorithms, inheritance, polymorphism and recursion.

This course will provide a solid foundation for continued study of Computer Science at the college level and will prepare students for the AP Computer Science A exam.

Advanced Web Design
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Quarter
Credit: .5

In this course, students take their web development skills from static to dynamic. Using the scripting language JavaScript, students will develop web-based graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that interact with a database. The final project can include web applications incorporating graphics, databases and simulations with a stress on making interactive web experiences.

Applications of Computer Science
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Semester
Credit: 1

This is an elective course that offers a more in depth study of computer programming and applications of computer science for students outside of the Computers & Connections concentration. This course will survey several topics such as computational thinking, hardware and software concepts, web design, computer programming and robotics.

Arduino for ALL
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Quarter
Credit: .5

This quarter-length elective is designed for students who are not in the C&C concentration and will serve as an introductory course to robotics using Arduino. The course will incorporate essential core competencies related to safety, basic electronics, and work from the Arduino starter guide. The second half of the course will consist of multiple projects in a PBL setting. Students will be presented with a list of problems/projects to select from and the students will be expected to produce or solve a problem using an Arduino and the tools at hand. In addition to actually creating the projects, students will be expected to document and demonstrate the process through which they complete in a medium that fits their learning style.

Computer Programming and Game Design
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Quarter
Credit: .5

This is an elective course offered to students outside of the Computers & Connections concentration, without prior programming experience. Students will design algorithms and create computer programs to solve computational problems using Scratch – a programming language used to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art.

Computer Science Hardware & Software
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Quarter
Credit: .5

Using Arduino, this course teaches the basics of Computer Science Hardware and Software. Students will get to build robots, gadgets, and wearable technology using sensors, motors and breadboards. Students will learn to develop systems that interact with the environment around them. By programming their own Arduino microcontroller to read inputs and produce outputs, students will be able to control LED flashing lights, switches, buttons, motors etc.

Original thinking is encouraged through project-based work and, in the case of Arduino, students are really only limited by their imagination!

Great Projects Programming in Context
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Quarter
Credit: .5

This is a project-based course, where students apply their programming knowledge to computational challenges in different fields, from mathematics and the sciences to the arts and humanities. Sample topics include computer graphics, social networking, computer music, Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Robotics.

Intermediate Programming & Computer Science
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Quarter
Credit: .5

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to an object-oriented programming language, such as Java. Topics include variables, control structures, data types, classes & methods .This course continues the study of problem-solving and fundamental computer science topics by moving to a more formal and in-depth study of programming design and methodology.

Intro to Java
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Quarter
Credit: .5

This quarter-length elective is designed to teach students with no prior background or interest in computer programming how to write code in the language of Java.  The format and structure will follow that of Game Design, but where it differs from that class is pace.  Intro to Java will move quickly and cover a broader range of topics.  Topics include: Objects and classes, method structure, class structure, variables, conditional programming, object interaction, iterators, loops, arrays, and more.  By the end of the course, a student will be able to write and compile their own original program that solves a problem in their life.

Principles of Computing
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Quarter
Credit: .5

This a survey course that covers the key building blocks of computer science, including, hardware and software concepts, problem solving, social & ethical issues, algorithm development and computer programming. Students will learn real-world applications of programming and computer science through several hands-on projects with the Python language.

Web Design
Level: Manager/Executive
Length: Quarter
Credit: .5

This course covers the basic concepts, issues and techniques related to designing, developing and deploying web sites. In this introductory course students will learn to plan, code, test and check their pages for cross-browser compatibility and usability. Topics include Hypertext Markup Language (HTML5), cascading style sheets (CSS), tables, hyperlinks, images and forms.

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