Improving Computer Science Education: Module 1

A few weeks ago, I mentioned Project Engage: Our approach to improve and broaden participation in computer science for high school students. We are using a technology-enhanced PBL approach and are adopting the Computer Science Principles as our guiding curricular framework. Rather than focusing on the teaching of a specific programming language, this course focuses on CS ideas, skills, and processes for students new to CS. We are nearing completion of our first module, and I thought that others might find our approach and work worthwhile so I am posting one of our artifacts here.

In this module students are tasked with the following problem: Leandro’s online identity has been stolen and used to cyberbully Chris. As a result, Leandro has been expelled from school. As Leandro’s friend, you must help convince the principal that Leandro is innocent. As a group, dig through the digital evidence available from the investigation, and create a compelling presentation to exonerate Leandro. Good luck!

As in other problem-based learning projects, we are using a video clip to introduce the problem that is intended to attract interest and curiosity. Here’s our beta product:


Online Social Networks as Formal Learning Environments


Academics, Crowdsourcing, and Collectives


  1. Sarolta

    Using the PBL approach to teach CS is an excellent idea! The problem is well designed and seems very engaging – it made me want to deal with it myself. Congratulations!

  2. Marina

    This is great! One of my student is working on a PBL study to enhance CS1 programming as well. And we intend to include scaffolding. What do you think? By the way, do you have any article published for this project so that I could refer and cite? Thanks.

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