Summary: Project Summary
Recent years have seen a diversity of curricula designed to attract students to computer science. Me-
dia, robots, games, and other contexts have brought the field to life for many students [25,36,49,56].
Yet these and other innovative introductory courses are not designed to serve the distinct needs of
students in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering disciplines. Although STEM students re-
quire increasingly sophisticated computational capabilities, their formal training in computation--if
any--often focuses on a narrow range of applications to the exclusion of fundamental and widely
transferable Computational Thinking (CT) concepts and skills.
This proposal's hypothesis is that the computational-thinking curricula for all STEM students
can benefit from the insights gained from contextual "CS1" courses. Harvey Mudd College (HMC)
has recently designed, deployed, and evaluated a breadth-first introductory CS1 curriculum with
a STEM-themed context [15, 17]. This proposal seeks to turn that course inside-out, spawning a
suite of computational thinking modules that can be flexibly composed into curricula for non-CS
STEM students and pre-CS-majors alike. Instead of "another CS1," the result will be resources
that span STEM-serving computational-thinking courses and provide a compelling introduction to
core CT ideas and skills for students with a broad range of science and engineering interests.
Specifically, our objectives are to:
1. Design and assess rich and compelling course modules that can be assembled into introductory
CT courses for a variety of audiences (high school, undergraduate, and graduate level) in
different areas (e.g. computer science, biology, or engineering) and at different types of