Continuing the quest for future computer scientists with CS4HS

December 13, 2012

Erin Mindell, Program Manager, Google Education

Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) began five years ago with a simple question: How can we help create a much needed influx of CS majors into universities and the workforce? We took our questions to three of our university partners--University of Washington, Carnegie Mellon, and UCLA--and together we came up with CS4HS. The model was based on a “train the trainer” technique. By focusing our efforts on teachers and bringing them the skills they need to implement CS into their classrooms, we would be able to reach even more students. With grants from Google, our partner universities created curriculum and put together hands-on, community-based workshops for their local area teachers.

Since the initial experiment, CS4HS has exploded into a worldwide program, reaching more than 4,000 teachers and 200,000 students either directly or indirectly in more than 34 countries. These hands-on, in-person workshops are a hallmark of our program, and we will continue to fund these projects going forward. (For information on how to apply, please see our website.) The success of this popular program speaks for itself, as we receive more quality proposals each year. But success comes at a price, and we have found that the current format of the workshops is not infinitely scalable.

This is where Research at Google comes in. This year, we are experimenting with a new model for CS4HS workshops. By harnessing the success of online courses such as Power Searching with Google, and utilizing open-source platforms like the one found in Course Builder, we are hoping to put the “M” in “MOOC” and reach a broader audience of educators, eager to learn how to teach CS in their classrooms.

For this pilot, we are looking to sponsor two online workshops, one that is geared toward CS teachers, and one that is geared toward CS for non-CS teachers to go live in 2013. This is a way for a university (or several colleges working together) to create one incredible workshop that has the potential to reach thousands of enthusiastic teachers. Just as with our in-person workshops, applications will be open to college, university, and technical schools of higher learning only, as we depend on their curriculum expertise to put together the most engaging programs. For this pilot, we will be looking for MOOC proposals in the US and Canada only.

We are really excited about the possibilities of this new format, and we are looking for quality applications to fund. While applications don’t have to run on our Course Builder platform, we may be able to offer some additional support to funded projects that do. If you are interested in joining our experiment or just learning more, you can find information on how to apply on our CS4HS website (or click here).

Applications are open until February 16, 2013; we can’t wait to see what you come up with. If you have questions, please email us at