Computer Science: An Overview

Anna Pollard
Wednesday 11AM (ET) - Fall 2024



Computer Science: An Overview

The Computer Science: An Overview course is an introductory computer science curriculum for middle and high school students. This class emphasizes the joy and complexity of creating visual computer programs and applications, balanced with critical reflection on the impacts of new computing technology.

Through this curriculum, students will create programs using the free online Snap! software which is based on the JavaScript programming language. Students will learn some of the most powerful ideas of computer science and will discuss the social implications of computing – thinking deeply about how they can be personally active in promoting the benefits and reducing the possible harms.

Course Outline

  • How the Internet Works
  • How Computers Work
  • Algorithms and Simulations
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Abstraction
  • Data Structures

Two Self-Paced Bonus Lessons

  • Fractals and Recursion
  • Recursive Functions

Snap! – A visual, drag-and-drop programming language

Snap! is a visual, drag-and-drop programming language. It is an extended reimplementation of Scratch (a project of the MIT Media Lab) that allows you to Build Your Own Blocks. It features first class lists, first class procedures, and continuations. These added capabilities make it suitable as a serious introduction to computer science for middle or high school students.

Textbook on Social Implications

In the non-programming part of our course, we try to balance a fundamental optimism about the future of computer technology with an understanding of its limitations and potential negative implications. Student readings are taken mainly from the excellent textbook Blown to Bits, which is available for free online download.

Grade Levels

  • 7-12


  • N/A

Anna Pollard

Anna Pollard began her professional career in the graphic and web design industry as a Creative Director in the field of Informational Technology. She has a AAS in Commercial Art and Advertising Design, a BA in Computer Science, and a Masters degree in Business and Marketing.

After 15 years of professional IT work, she made a career change to share her technology knowledge with students and began a career in teaching for many years.

Anna is married, has a 27 year old son whom she also home schooled, and who is now a chef at a French restaurant.

Anna has adopted/rescued multiple cats and two horses. In her spare time, she helps with the horses at Love of Lacey Equine rescue in Bunn Level, NC. She is also a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America and creates colored pencil art work for show at local art galleries.

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