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The Beauty and Joy of Computing


"We last presented our Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) course in a special issue of ACM Inroads in June 2012. At the time, we taught BJC in two of the first five CS Principles national pilots at UC Berkeley and University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Many things have changed since those early days, with more than two hundred high school teachers offered BJC professional development (PD) through four NSF grants, a transition to our blocks-based online software platform Snap! (based on Scratch) with cloud support, and a partnership with professional high school curriculum developers at EDC (Education Development Center), who are working with us to further refine our curriculum. Through partnerships with EDC, the New York City Department of Education, and CSNYC, our NSF-funded BJC4NYC project will bring BJC to 100 high school teachers in New York City, the largest and one of the most diverse school districts in the country. Finally, after two years of preparation, we launched our Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) BJCx via edX on Labor Day 2015. We are simultaneously offering it as an edX Small Private Online Course (SPOC), allowing high school teachers to use it as an e-book, complete with auto-grading and a class dashboard. More than sixteen thousand learners from all over the world signed up!

In this article, we share our philosophy, an update on our course design principles, a general flow through our curriculum, the impact BJC has had, and conclude with lessons learned."