Class began this week for 1,265 students enrolled in Amplify's Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for AP Computer Science. The course will give students two semesters of academic instruction and help prepare them for the College Board’s AP Computer Science exam. More than 3,000 institutions of higher education give college credit to students who score 3 or higher on the AP exam.
According to the College Board, though more than 275,000 high school seniors in the class of 2012 demonstrated the potential to succeed in AP Computer Science, few of these students had access to the course. Only 11 percent of the more than 26,000 public and private high schools in the country offer AP Computer Science, and less than 30,000 students annually take the class. This is due in part to the fact that only six out of every 1,000 high school teachers teach computer science full time.
Low access to computer science classes comes at a time of high demand for the skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. is on track to fill only 30 percent of the more than 1 million jobs that will be created in computer science-related fields by 2020.
In addition to the 1,265 students enrolled in the Amplify MOOC, 317 schools in 30 states will be enrolling additional students over the next eight months in the Amplify MOOC Local program. Schools participating in MOOC Local can monitor and track their students' progress and performance as well as access additional instructional materials.
Students will also receive additional support from an in-person coach designated by the school and trained by Amplify. There is no cost for participating in MOOC Local for the first year.
Students can enroll in the MOOC and turn in homework, tests and quizzes anytime before the course ends on May 6, 2014. Individual schools enrolled in MOOC Local may set additional deadlines. Students can log in to access new lessons and assessments, posted every Friday. The instructor for this Amplify MOOC course is Rebecca Dovi, who has taught AP Computer Science in Virginia schools for more than 16 years and was highly recommended by the College Board. For seven consecutive years, 100 percent of her students passed the AP Computer Science exam. In addition to her classroom experience, Dovi has held leadership roles in the Computer Science Teacher Association’s Virginia chapter.
“I began teaching AP Computer Science 16 years ago because I wanted to help students challenge themselves in new and exciting ways,” Dovi said. “I never imagined back then that I would be challenging myself by teaching the world’s first AP MOOC to students across the nation.”