Exploring Computer Science & Security (Grades10-11)

by Brock McCorkle

This course provides an introduction to the the foundations of computer science with a focus on: Human/Computer Interaction, Problem Solving, Web Design, Programming, Computing & Data Analysis, Robotics, Cyber Security and Careers in the field of Computer Science.

This is course number two out of three courses in the ICT Pathway for Computer Science & Cyber Security. It is a Concentrator course that will prepare students for the Capstone course the following academic year.

Students enrolled in this pathway will be working toward careers such as: Computer Programmers, Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers, Computer and Information Systems Managers, Computer Systems Analysts, Web Developers, Computer Support Specialists, Network and Computer Systems Administrators and Computer Security Specialists.

Program Information
Course Certification Elements
Course Standards
California's 2013 CTE Standards (26)
Course Competencies / Outcomes

Computer Programmers:  

  • Correct errors by making appropriate changes and rechecking the program to ensure that the desired results are produced.
  • Conduct trial runs of programs and software applications to be sure they will produce the desired information and that the instructions are correct.
  • Write, update, and maintain computer programs or software packages to handle specific jobs such as tracking inventory, storing or retrieving data, or controlling other equipment.
  • Write, analyze, review, and rewrite programs, using workflow chart and diagram, and applying knowledge of computer capabilities, subject matter, and symbolic logic.
  • Perform or direct revision, repair, or expansion of existing programs to increase operating efficiency or adapt to new requirements.

Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers:

  • Design test plans, scenarios, scripts, or procedures.
  • Document software defects, using a bug tracking system, and report defects to software developers.
  • Identify, analyze, and document problems with program function, output, online screen, or content.
  • Develop testing programs that address areas such as database impacts, software scenarios, regression testing, negative testing, error or bug retests, or usability.
  • Participate in product design reviews to provide input on functional requirements, product designs, schedules, or potential problems.

Computer and Information Systems Managers:

  • Direct daily operations of department, analyzing workflow, establishing priorities, developing standards and setting deadlines.
  • Meet with department heads, managers, supervisors, vendors, and others, to solicit cooperation and resolve problems.
  • Review project plans to plan and coordinate project activity.
  • Assign and review the work of systems analysts, programmers, and other computer-related workers.
  • Provide users with technical support for computer problems.

Computer Systems Analysts:

  • Test, maintain, and monitor computer programs and systems, including coordinating the installation of computer programs and systems.
  • Troubleshoot program and system malfunctions to restore normal functioning.
  • Expand or modify system to serve new purposes or improve work flow.
  • Use the computer in the analysis and solution of business problems, such as development of integrated production and inventory control and cost analysis systems.
  • Consult with management to ensure agreement on system principles.

Web Developers:

  • Write supporting code for Web applications or Web sites.
  • Design, build, or maintain Web sites, using authoring or scripting languages, content creation tools, management tools, and digital media.
  • Back up files from Web sites to local directories for instant recovery in case of problems.
  • Write, design, or edit Web page content, or direct others producing content.
  • Select programming languages, design tools, or applications.

Computer Support Specialists:

  • Answer user inquiries regarding computer software or hardware operation to resolve problems.
  • Oversee the daily performance of computer systems.
  • Read technical manuals, confer with users, or conduct computer diagnostics to investigate and resolve problems or to provide technical assistance and support.
  • Set up equipment for employee use, performing or ensuring proper installation of cables, operating systems, or appropriate software.
  • Develop training materials and procedures, or train users in the proper use of hardware or software.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators:

  • Maintain and administer computer networks and related computing environments including computer hardware, systems software, applications software, and all configurations.
  • Perform data backups and disaster recovery operations.
  • Diagnose, troubleshoot, and resolve hardware, software, or other network and system problems, and replace defective components when necessary.
  • Configure, monitor, and maintain email applications or virus protection software.
  • Operate master consoles to monitor the performance of computer systems and networks, and to coordinate computer network access and use.

Computer Security Specialists:

  • Encrypt data transmissions and erect firewalls to conceal confidential information as it is being transmitted and to keep out tainted digital transfers.
  • Develop plans to safeguard computer files against accidental or unauthorized modification, destruction, or disclosure and to meet emergency data processing needs.
  • Review violations of computer security procedures and discuss procedures with violators to ensure violations are not repeated.
  • Monitor use of data files and regulate access to safeguard information in computer files.
  • Monitor current reports of computer viruses to determine when to update virus protection systems.

Course Work Based Learning Activities

Guest Speakers - Students will be exposed to a variety of guest speakers from various industry areas.

Virtual Speakers (Video) - Students will be shown numerous videos from YouTube and other sources that will highlight key areas of study.

Field Trips - Students will be given multiple opportunities to visit industry-relevant locations and gain exposure to real-world application of computer science and cyber-security.

Internships - (As available) Students will partner with various industry groups to observe, learn and be mentored by established professionals.

Course Materials

Instructors and students will need access to the following:

Curriculum - www.exploringcs.org

Textbook - Fundamentals of Information Systems Security, 3rd Edition (Kim and Soloman)  ISBN-13: 978-1284116458

Technology - Use of a Mac or PC with internet access

Course Units (180 hour course)

Unit 1 - Human Computer Interaction

Unit Length (Hours):  25

Unit Description:  Students are introduced to the concepts of computers and computing while investigating the major components of computers and the suitability of these components for particular applications.  Students use internet search techniques to find and explore websites.  After exploration, students have in-class discussions about user privacy and security.  Students learn how humans and computers interact using algorithms and data sets.  Students will learn and discuss the various ways that computers have impacted our society, economy and culture.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

  • Introduction to computers - students will learn the basic components and functions of computers
  • Introduction to computing - students will learn the functions of computer components as they relate to specific applications
  • Internet search - students will learn and apply specific internet search techniques by visiting a variety of websites
  • Privacy and Security - students will learn about user privacy and security through instruction, independent research and in-class discussion
  • Human and computer interaction - students will learn about the interaction users have with machines using specific algorithms and data sets
  • Computer innovation - students will learn about the impact computers have had on industry and society as a whole
  • Computer impact discussion - student will discuss their experiences with computers and how they have observed changes and improvements in industry, society, government, education, culture and our local/global economy

Unit Assessment

  • In-class discussions to confirm retention of the content
    • Privacy and Security
    • Computer Impact
  • Quizzes - online quizzes in Google Classroom 
    • Computer Components
    • Computer Functions
    • Internet Search Techniques
    • Privacy and Security
    • Human/Computer Interaction
    • Computer Innovation
  • Unit Test - Comprehensive test over all material presented

Unit 2 - Problem Solving

Unit Length (Hours):  25

Unit Description:  Students will have opportunities to become "computational thinkers" by applying problem-solving techniques, thinking abstractly and applying and creating algorithms.  Students will learn about the connections between math and computer science.  Students will be exposed to specific math topics that directly relate to computer science.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

  • Students will learn problem-solving techniques while creating solutions to problems they are presented with (group work)
  • Students will be given opportunities to engage in abstract thinking, the use of existing algorithms and the creation and implementation of new algorithms
  • Students will analyze solutions and algorithms and determine areas of need and/or growth (group work)
  • Students will be shown the many connections between computer science and mathematics (in-class discussion)
  • Students will learn about Boolean logic, functions, graphs and binary number systems
  • Students will learn how to search and sort both algorithms and graphs (group work)

Unit Assessment

  • In-class discussions to confirm retention of the content
    • Computer Science & Mathematics
  • Group Work
    • Problem-solving techniques
    • Analyzing solutions
    • Search/sort algorithms and graphs
  • Quizzes - online quizzes in Google Classroom 
    • Problem solving
    • Abstract thinking
    • Computer Science & Mathematics connections
    • Boolean logic, functions, graphs and binary number systems
  • Unit Test - Comprehensive test over all material presented

Unit 3 - Web Design

Unit Length (Hours):  20

Unit Description:  Students expand their knowledge of algorithms, abstraction and web page design and apply it to the creation of web pages and documentation for users and equipment.  They will consider issues of social responsibility and ethics in designing web pages.  Students will create user-friendly websites and apply their previous knowledge of Human Computer Interaction fundamentals.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

  • Students will learn more about algorithms, abstraction and web design
  • Students will create web sites using HTML and various web design software programs (individual project)
  • Students will explore ethical and social responsibility when designing web pages (group discussion)
  • Students will brainstorm, plan, map out and code their web pages (individual project)
  • Students will run their web pages through different browsers to ensure usability on all platforms
  • Students will learn to create user-friendly websites
  • Students will apply their fundamental knowledge of Human/Computer Interaction and create web pages that are both functional and easy to use

Unit Assessment

  • In-class discussions to confirm retention of the content
    • Ethical & social responsibility
  • Projects
    • Web page creation (single page site)
    • Web page creation (multiple page site)
  • Quizzes - online quizzes in Google Classroom 
    • Algorithms, abstraction and web design
    • Ethical and social responsibility in web design
  • Unit Test - Comprehensive test over all material presented

Unit 4 - Programming

Unit Length (Hours):  25

Unit Description:  Students are introduced to some of the basic problems encountered in program design and development.  Students design algorithms and create programming solutions to a variety of computational problems using an iterative development process in Scratch.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

  • Students will learn about the common issues that are encountered when working with program design and development (group discussion)
  • Students will brainstorm and design algorithms (group work)
  • Students will be introduced to Scratch through a series of computational problems where they are expected to come up with creative programming solutions (group work)
  • Students will be exposed to programming problems that include mathematical and logical concepts within a variety of programming constructs (individual project)

Unit Assessment

  • In-class discussions to confirm retention of the content
    • Common issues in program design and development
  • Group Work
    • Algorithm design
    • Scratch project
  • Project
    • Programming problems
  • Quizzes - online quizzes in Google Classroom 
    • Program design and development
    • Algorithms
    • Scratch
  • Unit Test - Comprehensive test over all material presented

Unit 5 - Computing & Data Analysis

Unit Length (Hours):  25

Unit Description:  Students explore how computing has facilitated new methods of managing and interpreting data as well as finding patterns using their own local data and a variety of large data sets.  Students will collect and generate their own data and discuss appropriate methods for data collection.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

  • Students will learn how computing has been used to create new methods of managing and interpreting data
  • Students will use computers to translate, process and visualize data in order to find patterns and test hypotheses (group work)
  • Students will use large data sets to show how easy access to data and information helps to identify problems (group work)
  • Students will collect and create their own data related to local community issues
  • Students will discuss appropriate methods of data collection (group discussion)
  • Students will discuss how aggregation of data helps to make a case or facilitate a discovery (group discussion)

Unit Assessment

  • In-class discussions to confirm retention of the content
    • Data collection methods
    • Aggregation of data
  • Group Work
    • Looking for patterns and testing hypotheses
    • Identifying problems using data sets
  • Quizzes - online quizzes in Google Classroom 
    • Managing and interpreting data
    • Data collection
  • Unit Test - Comprehensive test over all material presented

Unit 6 - Robotics

Unit Length (Hours):  25

Unit Description:  This unit introduces how robotics enables innovation by automating processes that may be problematic for humans.  Students explore how to integrate hardware and software in order to solve problems.  They will apply topics learned previously to assist in their study of robotics.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

  • Students will be introduced to robotics as an advanced application of computer science
  • Students will learn how robotics can solve problems found in many different areas of industry
  • Students will learn how robotics fosters innovation by automating processes that might be dangerous for humans (group discussion)
  • Students will explore how to solve problems using software and hardware integration (group discussion)
  • Students will be shown the effects of software and hardware design on the end result product (group project)
  • Students will use their knowledge from previous topics to assist them in their study of robotics (individual project - Lego Mindstorm robot)

Unit Assessment

  • In-class discussions to confirm retention of the content
    • Automating for safety
    • Problem solving - software and hardware integration 
  • Group Project
    • Software and hardware design to achieve an end product
  • Individual Project
    • Creation of a Lego Mindstorm robot
  • Quizzes - online quizzes in Google Classroom 
    • Robotics
    • Problem solving
    • Robotic automation
  • Unit Test - Comprehensive test over all material presented

Unit 7 - Cybersecurity

Unit Length (Hours):  20

Unit Description:  This unit introduces students to the basics of cyber security, digital forensics, cyber threats and cyber incident responses.  Students will examine the need for security on hardware, operating systems and networks.  Students will learn the importance of identifying vulnerabilities and how to maintain proper security.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

  • Students will learn about the foundations of cyber security
  • Students will explore the concept of digital forensics
  • Students will learn what constitutes a cyber threat (group discussion)
  • Students will gain exposure to cyber incident responses
  • Students will examine security options for:  hardware, operating systems and networks
  • Students will learn how to identify and fix vulnerabilities
  • Students will learn the basics of proper security maintenance (group project)

Unit Assessment

  • In-class discussions to confirm retention of the content
    • Cyber threats
  • Group Project
    • Security maintenance
  • Quizzes - online quizzes in Google Classroom 
    • Cyber Security
    • Digital Forensics
    • Cyber Threats
    • Cyber Incident Responses
    • Security options
    • Vulnerabilities
    • Security Maintenance
  • Unit Test - Comprehensive test over all material presented

Unit 8 - Careers In Computer Science and Cyber Security

Unit Length (Hours):  15

Unit Description:  This unit allows students to explore careers in the computer science and cybersecurity industries.  It focuses on: careers, job outlooks, training/education, salary and job requirements. 

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

  • Students will learn about the importance of job outlooks when choosing a career path (group discussion)
  • Students will learn how to determine the training and education necessary for a specific career
  • Students will learn about job requirements and their importance in getting hired for the career they choose
  • Students will create a business profile on a website such as LinkedIn in order to begin networking and preparing for a career in their chosen field
  • Students will explore careers in computer science and cyber security using sites such as:  careerbuilder.com, monster.com, indeed.com and simplyhired.com (individual project)

Unit Assessment

  • In-class discussions to confirm retention of the content
    • Job Outlooks
  • Individual Project
    • Career Exploration

Course Summative Assessment

Students will complete an End of Year Project with the following requirements:

  • Create a multimedia presentation (PowerPoint, Google Slides, Keynote, Prezi, etc.)
    • Slide 1:  Indicate key elements learned from Unit 1 - Human Computer Interaction
    • Slide 2:  Indicate key elements learned from Unit 2 - Problem Solving
    • Slide 3:  Indicate key elements learned from Unit 3 - Web Design
    • Slide 4:  Indicate key elements learned from Unit 4 - Programming
    • Slide 5:  Indicate key elements learned from Unit 5 - Computing & Data Analysis
    • Slide 6:  Indicate key elements learned from Unit 6 - Robotics
    • Slide 7:  Indicate key elements learned from Unit 7 - Cyber Security
    • Slide 8:  Indicate key elements learned from Unit 8 - Careers in Computer Science and Cyber Security

Students will present their projects to the class as a final representation of their learning for the academic year.