WHS seniors collaborate to create an AP computer science course


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With COVID-19 cancelling the AP computer science class for Wayland High School, many students are left wondering what to do. Luckily, seniors Sashwat Das, Walker Whitehouse, and Daniel Cai, decided to take thing into their own hands and teach their own class.

Following the cancellation of many computer science courses at WHS for the 2020 to 2021 school year, various students expressed their disappointment, having hoped to take one of these courses as an elective. Luckily, seniors Sashwat Das, Walker Whitehouse and Daniel Cai decided to take on this responsibility and run their own Advanced Placement computer science class.

The three students plan on teaching two sessions per week with one being on Wednesdays (a little over an hour), and the second one being towards the end of the week for clarifying questions and presenting project ideas. Not only does the team have a schedule planned out, but they have the experience working with computer science which they hope will enrich the program.

“Over the summer, a couple kids in Acton-Boxborough decided to open up a non-profit computer science school,” Das said. “I was roped into this and helped design homeworks, curriculum and taught the classes…we generally taught the same material [as what would be taught in this class] and the school had over a thousand students.”

The three leaders have a specific plan in mind: follow the Advanced Placement Computer Science A exam curriculum suggested by College Board and utilize a tool called “CSAwesome” – an online interactive textbook for students to learn Javascript.

“We obviously can’t be compared to the great Mr. Hopps when it comes to teaching the class, but we are here to aid self-guided learning,” Das said. “Having a mentor or someone who can answer your questions on a subject you are trying to learn on your own is extremely important and helpful to accelerate your learning and increase the quality. We have an open [Slack channel] to answer any questions and help anyone who needs it.”

There might be a few differences between a real classroom and this program, but the three seniors want to make the two as similar as possible. The course will attempt to follow a curriculum, but most of it will be self-studying with some guidance relating to the overview of each topic. The rest of time will be spent on practicing the material.

“I really like [computer science], and I think taking the [computer science] class at the high school brought on that inspiration, so I want to share that with others,” Das said. “Coding is also a really important skill nowadays. It permeates through every part of our life, so it is important to get a basic understanding of the subject.”