Computer Education

Introduction to Computer Programming
Prerequisite: CP Geometry Enriched Co-requisite: CP Geometry Honors
Grade Level 9-12
2.5 Credits - Semester

Intro to CP is a foundational computer science course. No previous experience with computer science is required. Students with more experience will have opportunities to extend projects and to expand their knowledge.

Intro to CP emphasizes programming more than MLHS's AP CS Principles course. The focus is on getting students comfortable with foundational concepts while introducing students to the power of computer science. Students will spend a significant portion of class time programming collaboratively and individually. The course is presented using a combination of Java and Processing (a language based on Java).

Intro to CP topics include:

  • representations of spaces and colors (ex: RGB color)

  • programming tools (ex: the Processing IDE)

  • variables, data types and mathematical operations

  • boolean expressions and conditional statements

    Students who take this course can progress to Computer Programming 2 the same year.
    This course may fulfill 2.5 credits of the 5 credit 21st Century Skills/Practical Arts requirement.

Computer Programming 2
Prerequisite: Introduction to Computer Programming
Grade Level 9-12
2.5 Credits - Semester

Computer Programming 2 is a continuation of Introduction to Computer Programming. CP 2 introduces additional topics and expands upon topics introduced in Intro to CP.

CP 2 emphasizes the application of computer science to projects. Students spend significant class time creating computing artifacts (projects). Projects are more substantial than in Intro to CP and often involve more collaboration. Understanding, using and modifying code written by others is featured more prominently than in Intro to CP. Topics include: iteration (loops), program design, debugging, object oriented programming, and arrays.

CP 2 is intended as preparation for AP Computer Science A. Students may also choose to continue into AP Computer Science Principles. This course may fulfill the 21st Century Skills/Practical Arts requirement.

Advanced Placement Computer Science A
Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation OR B- minimum in Introduction to Computer Programming and Computer Programming 2
Any student not in receipt of a Teacher Recommendation or who does not meet the prerequisite detailed above may complete and submit a Course Placement Application by the required deadline. Submission of a completed form does not guarantee enrollment in the course.
Grade Level 10-12
5 Credits - Full Year
Note: This course does not fulfill the 21st Century/Practical Arts graduation requirement.

AP Computer Science A is broadly intended to be equivalent to a 1st semester introductory college CS course. ‚ÄčIt is presented at Mountain Lakes following 2 semesters of introduction to programming and does not fulfill the 5 credit 21st Century/Practical Arts graduation requirement beginning with the Class of 2022. ‚ÄčAP CS A covers some of the same topics as introduction to programming courses but in greater depth. Significantly more emphasis is placed on interpreting, analyzing and manipulating code written by others. AP CS A includes object-oriented design, interfaces, inheritance and polymorphism, recursion and sorting algorithms. AP CS is presented in Java and utilizes both the labs provided by the College Board and numerous other resources.

AP CS A is targeted at students interested in computer science regardless of anticipated college major. As a college level course the pacing is quick. Student performance will be evaluated primarily using tests & quizzes, projects and labs. Students who perform well throughout AP CS A will be well prepared for the AP CS A Exam and are unlikely to require outside preparation. Students who complete AP Computer Science A are expected to take the AP Computer Science A Exam.

Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles
Prerequisite: CP Geometry Enriched
Corequisite: CP Geometry Honors
Grade Level 11-12
5 Credits - Full Year
Note: This course does not fulfill the 21st Century/Practical Arts graduation requirement.

AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) introduces students to the central ideas of computer science. No previous experience with computer science is required.
AP CSP emphasizes programming less than MLHS’s Intro Computer Programming course. AP CSP focuses on 7 big ideas: Creativity, Abstraction, Data & Information, Algorithms, Programming The Internet and Global Impact.

AP CSP topics include:

  • What happens when you enter a URL in a web browser?

  • How does your phone store your text messages, pictures and videos?

  • How does computing impact your privacy?

How can you create apps?

Students taking AP CSP are expected to participate in the AP CSP Performance Tasks (during the course) and the AP CSP Exam.
AP CSP can be taken in any order relative to MLHS’s other computer science courses. Students who take AP CSP as a first course can progress to Introduction to Computer Programming, or with teacher and supervisor approval, directly into AP Computer Science A.

Honors Advanced Data Structures
Teacher Recommendation Required
Prerequisites: AP Computer Science A
Grade Level 11-12
5 Credits Full Year

Honors Advanced Data Structures is the continuation of AP Computer Science A. This course covers advanced data structures such as two dimensional arrays, Linked Lists, Sets, Maps, Stacks, Queues, Binary Trees, and hashing. Algorithms to traverse, insert, delete, search and sort using each of these data structures will be analyzed for average efficiency. Students will also work with case studies to gain experience with large programs comprised of several classes.

Multimedia Productions
Grade Level 9-12
2.5 Credits Semester

Multimedia is the art form of the digital age. Multimedia melds electronic source material—graphics, audio, video, text, and more—into coherent communications for presentations, movies, websites, games, video or other media. Since multimedia is also at the core of all presentational communication, our students must be media literate. They must have the ability to sift through and analyze the messages that inform, entertain and persuade us every day. This class challenges students to bring critical thinking skills to bear on all media and to question what lies behind media productions and to be aware of factors that influence content.

As students will likely need to create multimedia products as part of their academic and professional experiences students will develop dynamic productions using programs such as PowerPoint, Keynote, Flash, GarageBand, Audacity, iTunes, and iMovie and then publish their projects to the Web on sites such as YouTube.

Web Design and Publishing
Grade Level 9-12
2.5 Credits - Semester

What would our lives be without the Internet? It is our primary tool for communications and research and it grows both in utility and sophistication every day. In this class, students meet this challenge by developing sites that demonstrate effective user-interface design through functional site organization, convenient navigation, and visually compelling graphics. While working within the framework of the entire web site development process students establish goals, create content, program and script, and design the information architecture in order publish an electronic product. As students develop technical competence and knowledge in a real-life, practical environment, their creative, problem solving, and decision-making skills are enhanced. In addition to these elements, the class also examines communication, ethical issues, principles of design, and project organization and management.

As the Internet has evolved, many new means of communication have emerged. "Web 2.0" is commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing and collaboration. Some popular examples include social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, Wikis, Blogs, and Twitter. A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or to change website content, in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them. Students will explore the multitude of Web 2.0 tools and applications to discover personal benefits and to examine how individuals, organizations, and societies can use emerging innovations and technologies to improve communications and to increase productivity to maintain competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Graphic Design
Grade Level 9-12
2.5 Credits - Semester

We live in a visual society. Computer generated images have become a new art form and a powerful means of visual communication. This course will enable students to create and manipulate images using Photoshop Elements, a graphic editing program, to compose digital arrangements. Students will explore drawing and painting capabilities, learn to scan and thus bring non-computer generated images (photographs, drawings, sketches, actual objects) onto the computer drawing board where they can be further manipulated and refined. In addition, they will use a digital camera and learn how to maximize its unique advantages to produce high quality images to incorporate within their artwork.

Graphic design is more than just combining text and graphics; it is the application of art and communication skills to the needs of the client. It takes skill and knowledge from several disciplines to make a printed piece outstanding. Designers must concern themselves with message and aesthetics in order to realize the purpose of the piece. Students will create professional documents and explore various graphic design applications: logos, posters, CD covers, Tee shirt art, and web design with the creation of a digital portfolio showcasing their work.

Students will collaborate sharing ideas and experiences with classmates via First Class and with emerging Web 2.0 technologies such as social networking sites, wikis and blogs. They will apply information literacy skills to access, manage, and communicate information. They will be challenged to think critically and creatively to solve problems and make informed decisions surrounding issues that affect individuals, the world community, and the environment. Through participation in this course, students will gain enhanced understanding of global interdependencies, of diverse cultural perspectives, points of view, and values.