Hands-On Computing to Code

The Computer Science Department at the University of Chicago has partnered with two college readiness programs in the Office of Civic Engagement, The Collegiate Scholars Program (CSP) and the Office of Special Programs (OSP) to collaborate on the Hands-On Computing to Code project. 

This project will teach coding through hands-on workshops that motivate learning by focusing on the interface between computers and the real world (e.g., getting a robot to behave a certain way, or a sensor to measure something, or influencing how a person interacts with a device). Specifically, we will develop and offer four (4) new experiential learning workshops on: robotics, wearable devices (two workshops), and human computer interface (HCI) design.  These immersive workshops will be coupled to follow-up mentoring activities that will deepen participants connection to computing and the Computer Science department.  As computers have become ubiquitous controlling the interface between computers and the environment (e.g., sensors) impacts almost every sector of the economy and has broad employment implications. The tangible versatile problem-solving skills developed by mastering this type of interaction (timing, communications protocols, etc.) have widespread applications in many areas.  The workshops will take place in context of the larger collaboration between local college readiness and access programs and the CS department which form the backbone of the departmental Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) plan.  It will bring new rich dimensions that engage students with experiential learning, while leveraging the larger sustained collective effort to inspire Chicago Public School (CPS) students from under-resourced neighborhoods adjacent to the university to elect computing career pathways.  “Hands-On Computing to Code” is a collaboration between the Department of Computer Science and the Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) College Readiness and Access programs. The team includes: Randall Landsberg (PI), CS professors Marshini Chetty, Pedro Lopes, and Sarah Sebo; and Dovetta McKee and Abel Ochoa from OCE.