Marquette University will bolster computer science curriculum in high schools across the state thanks to a $844,000 grant the university has received from the National Science Foundation.
In partnership with UW-La Crosse, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and the Wisconsin-Dairyland chapter of the Computer Science Teacher Association, Marquette will develop 9th- and 10th-grade introductory computer science courses so that students can learn about careers related to computer science well before they graduate.
“For years, innovation in information technology has driven economic growth, and this starts with building the best possible curriculum in our high schools,” said Dr. Dennis Brylow, associate professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science at Marquette and grant collaborator. “Job growth in this sector is projected to outpace students who graduate with computer science degrees by a wide margin, in part because far too few students see computing-related careers as a possibility. If we don’t act, we could face some 6,000 unfilled software-related jobs in the state by the end of the decade, among a million unfilled computing jobs nationally.”
Currently, fewer than one in five Wisconsin high schools have courses in computer science. Thanks to the project, which will be rolled out over three years, the number of computer science teachers in the state is expected to double, including at least 60 more teachers offering a new computer science introductory course.
Under the project, Dr. Marta Magiera, assistant professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science at Marquette and a fellow grant collaborator, will create a new course titled “Teaching Computer Science,” with input from UW-LaCrosse faculty.
The course will teach existing computer science high school teachers effective classroom strategies. It will also focus on inquiry-based learning and will open up opportunities for more teachers to become certified to teach advanced computing courses in the state.
“We are all very excited,” Magiera said. “This is an unprecedented effort to better prepare our teachers, and broaden access to 21st century skills.”