Grover, S. & Pea, R. (2015). Balanced Designs for Deeper Learning in an Online Introductory CS Course for Middle School Students. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.
As computer science (CS) makes its way into K-12 classrooms, lack of teachers to teach CS and pedagogically-sound computing curricula remain significant challenges. Well designed online courses deployed on MOOC platforms could serve a crucial need. This paper describes our efforts to use the design-based research methodology to design a 6-week middle school course on the OpenEdX platform for blended in-class learning. Using past research in the learning sciences and computing education as a foundation as well as inspiration from ‘Exploring CS’ high school curriculum, this research adopted an iterative process to design and refine the course ‘Foundations for Advancing Computational Thinking’ (FACT, and empirically study the effectiveness of FACT for development of cognitive and non-cognitive aspects of deeper, transferable computational skills among young teens.