Computer Science Open House for CS Ed Week

Are you starting to think about what you want to do for Computer Science Education Week (Dec 8-14, 2014)? There is more than just the Hour of Code (although that’s a great way to get ALL the students involved)!

Every year, I have a Computer Science Open House. It is one night at the high school with three guest speakers, about twenty colleges with computing majors, and one student showcase table for each of my courses. We celebrate Grace Hopper’s birthday with cake or cupcakes and punch. I invite all of the high school and middle school students and their families. Each group has a different reason to attend, but the guest speakers are a hit with most.

The guest speakers typically come from three groups: one will be someone working as a computer scientist in the “tech” industry; one will be an IT or CS person working in any “non-tech” industry; and the last person will be a college professor of CS or IT. When possible, one of these speakers is also an alumni of my program. Each speaker has ten minutes for a prepared speech and Q&A, then has a table for the rest of the event. When the three speakers are finished, we serve the refreshments and our guests are free to walk around to all the tables and talk to the people that interest them.

Select students man the tables for my courses and each student has a project to showcase to the public. This gives them something concrete to talk about, and the younger students love to see what they will be able to do after taking some courses in Computer Science.

Overall, a Computer Science Open House is a great event that helps you market the CS courses at your school, allows your students to shine and gives them the opportunity to hear from current professionals and to talk to many colleges with interesting majors.

Tammy Pirmann
School District Representative