Computer science and engineering design

The study of CSED informs how, as world citizens, we use the technology-rich environment around us—not merely as consumers of media but as creators, artists, inventors and makers who actively and intentionally integrate technology into products and services that shape how we live. ASL’s course offerings in CSED prepare students to become resourceful and purposeful integrators of technology.

A semester credit in any of the CSED course satisfies ASL’s technology graduation requirement.  

CSED classes: (each provides one or more technology credits)

  • Art and Code (*also confers one semester credit in art)
  • Engineering
  • Introduction to Programming
  • AP Computer Science A
  • Computational Circuits
  • Game Design and App Development
  • Technology and Culture

The following visual arts courses also confer a one semester technology credit.

  • Graphic Design: Print
  • Publications I
  • Publications II
  • Publications II: Editors
  • Digital Photography
  • Digital Video Editing
  • Film, Video and Animation

Art and Code

½ technology credit and/or ½ art credit; semester I or II

Students in this course develop an understanding of computer science principles while exploring coding from an aesthetic perspective. Students who are curious about computing or art and want to explore these subjects in a supportive atmosphere will find this course a good match. Topics of study include an introduction to programming using the Processing language, with special attention given to creating interactive and generative art, and exploring topics in interactive installation art/physical computing. (Processing is a variation of Java, originally developed for the use of artists, but now used by journalists and scientists for data visualization.) Students also work in the MILL to construct how their projects will look using laser cutting, 3D printing and soldering. The course follows a workshop format, with a final portfolio of project work to be assessed. The course is entry level, though students with more programming (or more arts) experience are welcome. Project work is differentiated as needed to accommodate these variations.

Design and Engineering

½ technology credit and/or ½ art credit; semester I

In this course, students learn design thinking and creation skills. They work to plan, design, and make basic physical objects or structures related to contemporary concepts, trends and technology applications. Most of the work occurs in a collaborative classroom framework and students learn skills for idea generation, planning, team building and group critique of ideas and products. Research informs projects and students gain methods for innovating new solutions to continuing real-world challenges.

Introduction to Programming

½ technology credit; semester I or II

Students explore a computer programming language by creating animations, games and practical applications. This course is a rigorous, thorough grounding in programming fundamentals, covering conditionals, loops, functions, objects and arrays. Students end the course by designing and creating a program or game of their choice. The course prepares students for AP Computer Science A; no prior experience is required.

AP Computer Science A

1 technology credit; full year
Prerequisite: Introduction to Programming or commensurate experience and approval of the instructor, concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or higher

This university-level computer science course, taught using the Java programming language, follows the curriculum outlined by the College Board. Object-oriented programming techniques, including class declaration, inheritance and polymorphism, are emphasized. In addition, students study elementary algorithms, including sorting, binary search, recursion, and algorithms on arrays. Students take the AP Computer Science A exam.

Computational Circuits

½ technology credit; semester I
Prerequisite: AP Computer Science or permission of instructor

An introduction to digital electronics and the principles of computation, students engage in a mix of hands-on labs and electronics simulations that demystify the process of how computers think. Students explore the physical representation of data as electronic signals and identify how this permits logical operations to be performed. Building from these foundation principles, students construct progressively more sophisticated circuits to model the memory, storage, Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) and processor associated with a modern computer system. An introduction to the LC-3 instruction set architecture (ISA) reveals the bridge between software and hardware, illustrating how high-level computing languages (C, Java) can be translated into the machine language specified for a generic computing platform.

Game Design and App Development

½ technology credit; semester II
Prerequisite: AP Computer Science A

Students with significant computer science experience are afforded the opportunity to design and develop an original game or application for a handheld device or computer. The core of this course is that students learn requirements gathering, time management, designing, coding, testing and documenting. Students examine a variety of development environments and select one suited to their project. Students consider and incorporate user-interface requirements and may design and incorporate novel hardware devices. This semester offering is only available to students who have completed the AP Computer Science A course.

Technology and Culture

½ technology credit; semester I

This course is recommended to all students who are curious about and interested in the way technology is reshaping global culture, communications and research. The goal is to enable students to critically assess new technology tools and the overall impact of technology on society and culture. About half of the course focuses on discovering and critically assessing the latest tools in the areas of academics, culture and communications, including social networking; the other half includes seminar discussions and group research about the cultural implications of the growing use of the internet and other digital innovations. These discussions bridge into debates about the future of privacy and identity, copyright, research and development, and academic research in a digital age.