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A novel, world-class, online, interactive computer science curriculum for high schoolers that is entirely free.

CMU CS Academy

location_on Pittsburgh, United States
The K-8 space is filled with engaging yet simple computer science (CS) content. The next time many students see CS is in an AP computer science class. Schools are lacking engaging curriculum to bridge the continuum. Carnegie Mellon University's CS Academy bridges this gap with an engaging graphics package that allows for creativity while students write text-based code in Python.

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HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.
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Innovation Overview

13 - 18
Age Group
5 175
Updated on February 1st, 2021
about the innovation

CS1 course description

This free CS1 curriculum is predicated on the notion that learning about programming and computer science should be fun and engaging. This requires interesting problems to solve, as computational problem-solving is the core of computer science. It is why we choose to first expose students to graphical problems in the first Unit of CS1: they are visually engaging, allow for multiple correct solutions, and provide visual cues when a solution goes awry.

There are 12 Units to the course. The course is split up into two parts, CS1a (units 1-7) and CS1b (units 8-12) so that it can be taught as a year long course or two semester based courses. We believe the best way to learn this material is to do it, so each Unit provides content for the topic to be investigated, a worked problem(s) to illustrate and let students explore the topic, a set of exercises to hone their mastery of the topic, some end-of-unit exercises that require students to use and synthesize all the topics found in that Unit, and a creative task that lets them further explores the topics in the Unit in a manner driven by their interests.

The course provides its own browser-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that the students will use to create and run their programs. It encompasses an editor and compiler, a custom graphics package, and an autograder that is capable of grading not only textual problems and solutions but also a broad range of graphics problems and solutions. 


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Achievements & Awards

May 2019
December 2018
Innovation page created on

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If you are interested in learning more here is a link to Carnegie Mellon University's press release describing the curriculum.
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CMU CS Academy is a free, online, interactive computer science curriculum for high schools that is engaging, creative, rigorous and fun. CS Academy also includes teacher training, an online interactive textbook, online technical support and more!
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