In 1984-85, the Mathematics and Computer Science Department initiated its first computer science education programs–a masters degree and an undergraduate teaching minor. In 1985 they hired Philip East to oversee the programs and teach the CS Ed courses included in them. CS Ed at UNI began with nine students enrolled in the fall semester of 1985. In the early 1990’s personal computers became more available and the need for computer literacy for all students was recognized. The failure to gain BOEE support for an endorsement in CS combined with an emphasis on computer literacy in K-12 schools led to the demise of the two CS Ed programs. However, the department has continued to address CS Ed in the state of Iowa. Recent endeavors include multiple CS4HS Workshops for teachers, training over 1300 Iowa teachers for the CS Fundamentals program from Code.org, as well as Scratch and robotics workshops for K-12 students.
In 2016, the Iowa Legislature considered (but did not pass a bill) requiring Iowa schools to include “quality” computer science in high schools and middle schools. The idea was revisited in 2017 and a task force was commissioned to make recommendations concerning computer science education (CS Ed) in Iowa schools. The task force has recommended that each Iowa high school offer a CS course and that each middle school require a CS unit. They also recommended that the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) develop requirements for an endorsement in computer science and that the Legislature allocate funding to support professional development of teachers in computer science.
Our program will educate teachers for teaching general computer science—they could use any curriculum or develop their own. The basic program consists of five courses specifically designed to prepare middle and high school teachers to teach any introductory CS course. These five courses have been developed using the ISTE standards for CS teachers and the Iowa BoEE endorsement requirements. Teachers completing the five course sequence should be eligible for an Iowa teaching license endorsement in computer science.
Current faculty in the CS Ed program at UNI include: