California faces a shortage of K-12 teachers trained to teach computer science, which in turn has led to fewer California high school kids getting computer science training. Seeking to address the issue, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has approved changes in the way educators earn supplementary authorization to teach computer science.
Called the Supplementary Authorization in Computer Science Education, the new rules adopted in 2016 changed regulations on how teachers earn supplementary authorization in computer science and updated course content requirements. The new regulations replaced outdated rules in place since the late 1970s.
The change is meant to address a longstanding issue in California, where only 39% of high schools offer computer science courses, due in part to lack of trained teachers. That has led to only 3% of high school students enrolling in computer science courses.
Starting in May 2020, Fresno Pacific University will offer online California Supplementary Authorization in Computer Science Education courses that meet state regulations for preparing educators to teach computer science.
Fresno Pacific University’s Computer Science Authorization Course
The online format of the Fresno Pacific University California Supplementary Authorization Computer Science Education courses makes it easier for teachers to fit professional development into their busy schedules.
The courses are available for single and multiple subject teachers who want expertise in integrating computer science principles into K-12 instruction. Fresno Pacific University is an accredited university that offers teachers the opportunity to conveniently take all the required graduate-level courses to earn a computer science supplementary authorization.
Why the State Made Changes
California leaders created authorizations in 1979 to allow teachers with a single subject credential to earn a supplementary authorization in another area. Before the recent changes in the authorization for computer science, California operated under antiquated regulations that focused on “basic computer use, keyboarding, and software applications.”
In June 2015, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing passed Title 5 amendments that called for authorizations with “strengthened areas of content study” to earn a computer science authorization--courses that give teachers the skills they need to teach computer science in the 21st century. The changes went into effect on April 1, 2016.
The Fresno Pacific University courses cover all topics mandated by the state’s new regulations. They include computational thinking, computer practice and programming, computer and communication devices, and the impacts of computing.
At the specific supplementary authorization level, which allows teachers to lead classes for higher levels of students, topics covered include data structures and algorithms, digital devices, systems and networks; and software design.
California Computer Teaching Authorizations
The Fresno Pacific University courses offer teachers the chance to earn the supplementary authorization at either the introductory or specific level. All 3-unit courses last for eight weeks. Teachers complete one course at a time.
The courses are open to teachers with single or multiple teaching credentials in all subjects.
Introductory Supplementary Authorization
Completion of all courses in the Introductory Supplementary Authorization in Computer Science Education authorizes multiple or single subject teachers to teach K-9 computer science courses.
The four courses (12 units total) are:
- Computational Thinking
- Information Technology Basics
- Computing Practices and Programming
- The Impacts and Ethics of Computing
Once they have completed the course, teachers can send their transcripts to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to earn a supplementary specific credential.
Specific Supplementary Authorization
Completion of all the courses in the Specific Supplementary Authorization in Computer Science Education authorizes multiple or single subject teachers to teach K-12 computer science courses, as well as classes designed primarily for adults.
The five courses (15 units total) in the course are the four in the introductory section, with the addition of Data Structures and Software Engineering.
Instructors in the courses are highly trained and often teach classes themselves. The online course offers communication channels between instructors and students, as well as between the teachers taking the class together.