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Towson University programs that include CS education


Secondary Degree Program to Earn a Dual Certificatilon for Math/Computer Science

Towson University's major in Computer and Mathematical Sciences Secondary Education is the only program in Maryland leading to dual teaching certification in both computer science and mathematics (grades 7-12).  As part of the Towson UTeach Program, students experience early (beginning in freshmen year) and frequent field placements at local public schools, the tutelage of master teachers who have exemplary teaching experience at the secondary school level, and education courses dedicated to the knowing, learning, and teaching of mathematics, science, and computer science.  Interested students are invited to apply for a Kahlert Foundation Scholarship for Computer and Mathematical Sciences Secondary Education, an annual renewable $2,500 award (maximum of $10,000).

Contact: Linda Cooper. Linda Cooper is a Professor of Mathematics and serves as the Director of Towson UTeach, Towson University’s STEM teacher preparation program. She led the effort to develop the university’s new Computer and Mathematical Sciences Secondary Education major that leads to dual certification in computer science and mathematics. She has organized community college partner days to design 2+2 pathways for several community colleges to support this new major. Her research in statistics education investigates students’ and mathematics teachers’ understandings and misinterpretations of graphical displays of data.


K-12 Programs with CS in Preservice Education

Short summary

We have multiple projects to infuse CS/CT into our teacher education programs.

  1. We have established TU (Towson University) COE (College of Education)-Girls Coding Clubs (GCCs)” for grade 2-12 girls, with a preference given to enrolling underserved girls. The clubs provide opportunities for COE faculty to observe how CS/CT is taught to 2-12 grade students by bringing girls to campus on Saturdays. It offers an on-campus first-hand internship opportunity for our teacher education candidates to work with faculty mentors to practice teaching CT/CS.
  2. We also have three projects funded by MCCE. The first focuses on preparing PK-8 preservice teachers to teach computer science as an alternative pathway. We are finalizing the design and development of a self-directed, flexible computational thinking module consisting of 10 lessons to be implemented as a stand-alone credentialing option for our PK-8 teacher education candidates.
  3. Our follow-up funded MCCE project will make the self-directed CT module available to 30 PK-8 preservice teacher education candidates to complete as one credit hour course using a time frame that works for them. We will also add six new teacher education faculty to our current ten members team to learn about CT/CS.
  4. Our fourth project focuses on integrating CT and Robotics into the early education curriculum. For this project, we worked with three early education faculty and four early childhood teachers in our Child Care Center. We completed our PDs for faculty and teachers last summer and are currently at the implementation stage both in early education courses and Child Care Center.
  5. Another project infuses CS and Computational thinking into the TAM program
  6. An additional project works directly with the Special Education program

More elaborate description of TU-COE strategies to infuse CS/CT into education programs

Towson University College of Education uses several interrelated projects to infuse CS/CT into PK-8 teacher education programs. 

Background and the evolution of our work: In 2020, Towson University, College of Education (COE) established a free “TU (Towson University) COE-Girls Coding Clubs (GCCs)” for grade 2-12 girls, with a preference given to enrolling underserved girls. The creation of the clubs was originally funded by TU-Foundation but is currently being financially supported by the college of education. The clubs enroll girls in grades 2-12 (elementary, middle, and high school), to come to the TU campus, College of Education, every other Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (lunch provided) to learn about CS and CT. A team of three faculty advisors, a full-time COE faculty with experience and expertise in teaching CS, and three preservice teacher candidates (PTCs) as teacher assistants work together to plan and run the clubs. The clubs also welcome other COE faculty and PTCs to attend the program voluntarily to observe or participate as helpers. The program has provided the COE an inspiring learning space for underserved girls to be exposed to CT/CS at the university level. The program hopes that attending the university clubs inspires girls to consider the pathway to teacher education and STEM fields. The program also provides an environment for education faculty to observe, learn and teach CT/CS. It further offers an authentic internship opportunity for the preservice teacher candidates to practice teaching CT/CS in the actual classroom on campus at earlier stages of their teacher education programs while being coached and mentored by education faculty.

In 2021-22 we received funding from MCCE for the project entitled “Preparing PK-8 Preservice Teachers to Teach Computer Science: An Alternative Pathway.” The project is designed to pilot-test an alternative approach to preparing PK-8 preservice teacher candidates (PTCs) to teach CT/CS. An interdisciplinary team of 10 faculty members from computer science, teacher education programs (early, elementary, middle, and special education), and learning/instructional design collaborate to design, develop, implement, and evaluate a self-directed, flexible, competency-based module on computational thinking. The program serves two primary purposes. First, it involves education and learning design faculty in enhancing knowledge of CT/CS and block-based programming by engaging in the design and development of CT curriculum and self-directed learning materials. Second, it aims to create and pilot-test a self-directed, flexible, competency-based module on computational thinking to be offered as a credentialing learning environment. The final product will also be available to education faculty to incorporate into their education courses to field-test. This project is in its final stages of development. It will be ready to be field-tested in a few methods and undergraduate teacher education courses in technology integration taught by the faculty members on the project team.

In the spring of 2022, we received funding from MCCE for a new project entitled "Using Robotics and Scratch Jr to Cultivate Young Children's Creative Minds: Professional Development for Early Teacher Education Faculty and Early Education Teachers." The overall purpose of this project was to integrate computational thinking (CT) concepts and learning activities into the early education (PK-2) curriculum for teacher education students and faculty who teach at Towson University Child Care Center. Teacher education faculty and early childhood education teachers participated in two 2-days summer workshops in the summer of 2022 to learn what computational thinking is, why it is important to provide CT learning opportunities for young children, and how to utilize CT concepts and tools such as robotics and block-based programming to create a developmentally appropriate learning environment. Our hope has been to create an environment that exposes children to learning a new language, engages them in cognitive processes associated with problem-solving, and, most importantly, enhances children's social interactions (expressing ideas, communicating), creativity, and movement. The project emphasized integrating off-screen (unplugged) and on-screen (plugged) learning activities. We are currently in the implementation stage. Early education faculty and the Child Cre Center teaching are incorporating CT and plugged and unplugged robotic activities in their curriculum.

In 2022-24 we also received follow-up funding from MCCE to continue the project entitled "An Alternative Pathway to Preparing PK-8 Preservice Teachers to Teach Computational Thinking and Computer Science." The new project will focus on recruiting 30 PK-8 admitted preservice teachers to complete the CT module (developed in the 2021-2022 project) to improve their knowledge and skills of CT and assess the effectiveness and implementation challenges of the CT self-directed learning materials for larger-scale implementation. It will also use the developed CT self-directed learning materials to design and implement a new interactive, engaging, and conversational PD opportunity for six new PK-8 teacher education faculty recruited by current project team members. We also plan to evaluate the possibility of developing PD guides to accompany the CT self-directed learning materials and design a new module on problem-based learning pedagogy to enhance PTCs' ability to use CT to improve PK-8 students' problem-solving skills and promote creativity and interests by developing computational artifacts and generating computing solutions for problems.

Contact: Mahnaz Moallem. Mahnaz Moallem is a professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Technology and Literacy at the College of Education, Towson University, Towson, Maryland. As a learning science/learning design researcher, she studies applications of various learning design theories and approaches for learning and human performance improvement. She has been awarded funding to design, develop, implement, and evaluate several innovative projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Department of Education, and Department of State on integrating PBL, computing, computer modeling, and simulation. She has received several teaching and research awards and served as a rotating scientist (IPA) for two years at the National Science Foundation.

View the presentation about the Towson integrated programs


Dianne O'Grady-Cunniff, dogrady at usmd dot edu
Director, Maryland Center for Computing Education

Dr. Megean Garvin, mgarvin at usmd dot edu
Director of Research, Maryland Center for Computing Education

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Maryland Center for Computing Education
3300 Metzerott Rd. Adelphi, MD 20783
MCCE received initial support from the National Science Foundation, (MSP)2 Grant No. 0831970.