UT to offer dual-credit courses to high school students

Alex Wilts

Beginning in fall 2014, Austin high school students will be offered the opportunity to receive college credit in computer science through UT’s OnRamps dual-credit program.  

The Austin Independent School District has partnered with the University to provide the course, “Thriving in Our Digital World,” which will focus on teaching students concepts such as algorithmic thinking, abstraction and programming, according to Bradley Beth, computer science graduate student and coordinator for the computer science UTeach program.

“Rather than focus on programming specifically, like comparable level coursework, [‘Thriving in Our Digital World’] stresses [the] application of core computer science concepts in relation to real-world problems,” Beth said. According to Beth, the design of the course will be comparable to the University’s CS 302, an introductory computer science course for non-computer science majors.

According to Megan Parry, coordinator for the Center for Teaching and Learning, Google has agreed to fund the professional development for five AISD teachers to be able to teach the computer science course.

Gerardo Interiano, public affairs and government relations manager for Google, said the partnership between Google, AISD and UT can further expose children from diverse backgrounds to computer science.

“Through this initiative, our community can ensure that this next generation is ready to meet the demands of our high-tech employers,” Interiano said.

Calvin Lin, computer science professor and developer of the OnRamps course, said the course will focus on project-based learning and will continue OnRamps’ initiative to improve the college readiness of Texas high school students.

“I hope that it will open the door to more computer science for more students who hadn’t really thought about it before,” Lin said. 

Other dual-credit courses OnRamps will offer in AISD during the 2014-2015 school year include English (RHE 309K), pre-calculus (M305G) and statistics (SSC 302).