Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

Community College of Allegheny County

07/14/2011 -- CCAC workshop trains educators on CMU programming software

PRESS RELEASE
For more information, contact CCAC Public Relations.

PITTSBURGH—Computer programming instructors from across the nation will attend a free workshop July 25 to 29 at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) South Campus to explore the use of an effective and engaging tool to introduce students to the concepts of computer programming.

The program, Alice 3, is the latest version of an innovative software environment designed to make computer programming less challenging and more enjoyable for students to learn. Alice is the brainchild of the late Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) computer science professor who became famous for his life-affirming “Last Lecture.” His goal was to make computer programming easier for students to learn.

Participants in the workshop are computer science high school teachers and college professors. Many of the participants are from Western Pennsylvania, but others will travel from New York and Hawaii. A grant from the National Science Foundation enables CCAC to present the workshop free of charge, and the session is fully booked.

The workshop will cover programming basics in Alice and Java. These include loops, conditionals, objects and classes, methods, parameters and more. The workshop will use a variety of activities to help participants understand the use of lecture, role-playing and small programming assignments in their classrooms.

Beyond the workshop, the National Science Foundation grant has enabled CCAC Alice team  members Rod Farkas, Don Smith, Thomas Turich and Eileen Wrigley  to collaborate with the Alice Project at CMU to improve first-year retention rates in computer science and information technology programs. The CCAC team members are applying their expertise in teaching community college students to develop curricular and instructional materials.

CCAC has introduced a course using Alice 3 that features the fundamentals of programming using 3-D animation. The objective is to spark interest in computer programming by non-computer information technology (CIT) students and to better prepare CIT majors for advanced courses featuring Java. CCAC is one of three community colleges nationwide participating with CMU in the grant.

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About the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)
CCAC annually educates 33,000 credit students through 170 degree, certificate and transfer programs and offers non-credit and workforce development courses to 30,000 students. The learning-centered institution’s mission is to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society. CCAC’s quality programs enable students to transfer credits to 520 colleges and universities and support regional workforce needs with accessible instruction available day, evening, weekend and online in Allegheny County and beyond. Visit www.ccac.edu to learn more.