Purdue University - Department of Computer Science - What is CS?

What is Computer Science?


Many people are unsure about how to define computer science. In classrooms across the country, students are required to take basic computing courses, but are these courses considered to be part of "computer science"? While the skills in these courses can be quite valuable, computer science focuses much more on the process of engaging students in computational and algorithmic thinking patterns. These patterns are often demonstrated in physical form by engaging in computer programming, but can also be demonstrated through interaction with computer hardware, networks, robotics, and other computational concepts.

The Computer Science Teachers Association provides standards for K-12 computer science education (PDF). In addition, they provide information to help define the role of CS in K-8 education (PDF) and a working definition of computational thinking.

The official course descriptions for Indiana's K-12 computer science offerings (PDF) can be found here. Currently there are courses offered in computer programming (Computer Programming I & II, AP Computer Science, and IB), networks (Infrastructure of the Internet, Networking Fundamentals, Servers and Security), and web design (Web Design).

If you need help advocating for computer science courses in your district, please contact us. You can use any of the following advocacy tools to help make a case for inclusion of CS in your K-12 curriculum.

Computing Education and Future Jobs (NCWIT, PDF)

CSTA Advocacy Toolkit (CSTA, PDF)

Running on Empty (CSTA, PDF)

What is CS? (Purdue University, PowerPoint)


Last Updated: Apr 14, 2017 11:02 AM

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