The 1978 ACM Computing Curricula used the term “CS1” to refer to the introductory programming course in university computer science education. Despite the significant changes in the computing landscape and computing education since, the name has stuck.¹
This blog is called CS0 because Computer Science Education needs the rethink that is already underway. Besides the fact that a significant focus of modern CS Education is at pre-university, or “pre-CS1” levels, the CS Ed community needs to continue to come up with ways to engage and encourage not just traditional students, but anyone and everyone who wants to learn more about the age we live in.
Most of the widely used definitions of Computer Science are a bit too narrow to sufficiently encompass the entire scope of topics this blog aims to address. See Neil Brown’s excellent discussion on this here. I considered calling this blog C0 – computing zero – not computer science zero. However there is a science here, no matter how stringently or loosely one chooses to embrace it. Despite this I may, particularly when being lazy, use Computing and Computer Science fairly interchangeably.
Back in 1978, educators were grappling with applying some uniformity to university CS education. I would hazard a guess that there was less of a unified effort to address pre-university computing education in those days. Although in many ways we are still struggling with university level computing education concerns, more and more attention is now at pre-university levels. In fact, President Obama’s CS4all initiative, announced in January 2016, calls for $4 billion in funding for pre-university Computer Science (or computing) education. Despite the name of this initiative using the term Computer Science, I would argue that computing might be more on-target. Maybe “C4all” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
¹ For more, see: Matthew Hertz. 2010. What do “CS1” and “CS2” mean?: investigating differences in the early courses. In Proceedings of the 41st ACM technical symposium on Computer science education (SIGCSE ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 199-203. DOI=http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1734263.1734335