Two giants in the computer science education space — Code.Org and the Computer Science Teachers Association, or CSTA — are boosting their course offerings through partnerships with Pluralsight, an enterprise technology learning platform.
The partnerships, announced last week, will provide specially-curated online course libraries to Code.org and CSTA-member educators and professionals. CSTA says it has 60,000 members in more than 140 countries who will be able to benefit from the new partnerships.
Additionally, Pluralsight will provide $1.5 million in funding to Code.org for a project to “deepen opportunities” for female and minority students by providing new access to computer science education resources.
Code.org’s grant money will be distributed over a three year period from Pluralsight One, the company’s “social impact” arm created last fall, but both Code.org and CSTA will make the curated course offerings available immediately to students and teachers.
Lindsey Kneuven, Pluralsight’s head of social impact, told EdScoop that the company normally trains employees in the private sector. Freelance technology experts design courses and learning pathways on all aspects of cybersecurity and computer science for the company, which then makes the courses available to employers interested in improving their workforce. The partnerships with Code.org and CSTA will be Pluralsight’s first in the education space.
Kneuven said her company explored several options when first considering the education market, including efforts oriented solely around advocacy, but ultimately settled on honing its area of expertise — curated course offerings.
“[Pluralsight is focused on] creating that bridge between what Code.org offers to students and leveraging the Pluralsight platform to provide a curated set of channels that are mapped to the national standards and to the AP Computer Science Principles exam [APCSP] to provide [students] with after-school study opportunities and continued learning,” Kneuven said.
Students taking the AP CSP exam will now have the option, through their teacher, to access more than 150 courses totaling 500 hours of lessons in four categories: IT/OPs, software development, design/creative, and product management. The courses are intended to range from “intermediate to advanced” levels, representing a link between the basic principles of computer science taught in classrooms and the more complex lessons students may need time to research on their own.
Kneuven said the courses were developed by her company to ensure they provided “complementary focus areas” and were designed in a way that would help in “building momentum for students.”
For computer science teachers seeking to refresh or update their own subject matter expertise, Pluralsight also has 33 course offerings. Ther are more than 100 hours of lessons involving everything a K-12 computer science teacher needs to know to pass a national certification exam, Kneuven said.
“That one is for continued professional development for computer science teachers, as well as providing resources for teachers who may be transitioning from other subjects to a computer science role that need to learn skills quickly around various topics,” she said. “Or, maybe they want to see how those topics connect to roles or to applications of that technology so they can cast our visions to their students and help them see how their personal career aspirations can be made real through their investment in tech skills.”