No prior experience required.
About this Specialization
Applied Learning Project
Using a problem-based approach to understanding underlying computing concepts, we’ll travel through five different digital “worlds” in which we engage with technology, exploring the problems posed within that world and the various tech solutions that exist.
At the end of each world, you will reflect on the effectiveness of your learning process and evaluate lesson plans and materials available for use in your own classroom. Through these activities, you’ll become a more reflective teacher and develop an understanding of how instruction and activities can be designed to support learning. See FAQ for per-course details.
As a culminating project, you will complete part of the new advanced placement computer science course - the “Explore Task” - where you research a recent computing innovation and and analyze its impacts on the world. You’ll apply the AP grading checklist to sample secondary student work, provide feedback to a fellow learner, and receive the same from fellow learners.
100% online courses
Approx. 7 months to complete
100% online courses
No prior experience required.
Approx. 7 months to complete
University of California San Diego
UC San Diego is an academic powerhouse and economic engine, recognized as one of the top 10 public universities by U.S. News and World Report. Innovation is central to who we are and what we do. Here, students learn that knowledge isn't just acquired in the classroom—life is their laboratory.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the refund policy?
If you subscribed, you get a 7-day free trial during which you can cancel at no penalty. After that, we don’t give refunds, but you can cancel your subscription at any time. See our full refund policy.
Can I just enroll in a single course?
Yes! To get started, click the course card that interests you and enroll. You can enroll and complete the course to earn a shareable certificate, or you can audit it to view the course materials for free. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full Specialization. Visit your learner dashboard to track your progress.
Is financial aid available?
Yes, Coursera provides financial aid to learners who cannot afford the fee. Apply for it by clicking on the Financial Aid link beneath the "Enroll" button on the left. You'll be prompted to complete an application and will be notified if you are approved. You'll need to complete this step for each course in the Specialization, including the Capstone Project. Learn more.
Can I take the course for free?
When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free. If you cannot afford the fee, you can apply for financial aid.
Is this course really 100% online? Do I need to attend any classes in person?
This course is completely online, so there’s no need to show up to a classroom in person. You can access your lectures, readings and assignments anytime and anywhere via the web or your mobile device.
Who should take the Specialization?
This Specialization has been developed primarily to support K-12 teachers (but best targets middle and high school) in educating their students about the technologies impacting their lives and putting those students on a solid path towards comfort and interest in computing. However, this course is valuable to anyone interested in learning about the technical knowledge of how computation in our digital world works and is causing all sorts of changes, as well as how to teach that knowledge to others -- which includes, among others, members of the tech community involved in K-12 outreach, parents, and other informal educators.
What resources will I create by successfully completing the projects in each of the Specialization courses?
In each course you will evaluate and/or augment an activity or lesson plan, which you'll then be able to take straight into a classroom. Specifically, for each course:
Course 1: Evaluate and Modify an Unplugged Activity on Networks
Course 2: Use Fiction/Literacy Circles To Teach Computing
Course 3: Evaluate and Add Interactivity to “History of a Pixel” Lesson Plan
Course 4: Explore code.org for materials you can use for a lesson plan on Learning HTML
Course 5: TBD
What will I be able to do upon completing the Specialization?
After successfully completing this Specialization, you will have foundational technical knowledge about the computational technology that surrounds us today and foundational pedagogical knowledge of how to teach that to others, particularly in the K-12 setting. Specifically, you will be able to:
 Analyze various solutions to human problems that technology, computing, and the Internet have enabled - and analyze the impact these have had on our society, economy, and culture. (Impacts of Computing Knowledge)
 Explain and utilize provided resources to teach various computing concepts that underlie the technologies and software that solve these problems for us. (Technical Knowledge)
 Evaluate and reflect on your experiences learning about technology, computing, and the Internet and apply those to creating effective learning activities to support the learning of others. (Pedagogical Knowledge)
 Evaluate resources for effectively teaching issues addressing computer science K-12 concepts: impacts of computing, data and analysis, and networks and the Internet. (Pedagogical Knowledge)
 Complete and evaluate the APCSP Explore Task (in the culminating project). (Technical and Pedagogical KnowledgeI
Will the Specialization help me get the California Supplementary Authorization to teach Computer Science?
Yes! This Specialization is designed as 1 of a set of 4 Specializations (all will be offered on Coursera) that will support the requirements of the California supplementary authorization. Additionally, this Specialization may support credentialing or authorization in other states. However, most states require a transcript from an accredited institution of higher education. This course can support that -- see “Will I earn university credit” below.
Will I earn university credit for completing the Specialization?
Yes, you can earn credit from the University of California San Diego for completing this Specialization. To do so you must first successfully complete the full Specialization. Then, you will need to (1) Enroll in an additional UCSD Extension course before completing the capstone ($500) and (2), complete part of the capstone project via an online proctoring service. After this is done, your Specialization course grades will be accumulated and a transcript with your final grade (both letter grade or pass-only supported) will be issued from UCSD with 4 graduate-level units. These are eligible to count towards the California Supplementary Authorization.
What background knowledge is necessary?
There is no background knowledge, neither in education nor in Computer Science, required to take this Specialization - just an interest in learning computational concepts about the technology that surrounds us and how to best teach those concepts to others.
Basic proficiency in the use of Googledocs will be needed to complete assignments within the course. Google help documentation will be provided, and with some extra attention, first time use of Googledocs should not be a barrier to successful completion of the course
How long does it take to complete the Specialization?
There are six courses in this Specialization, one covering each digital world and a final culminating project course. Each course is built around four weekly modules, which can each be completed in approximately three-five hours. However, completion time is very dependent on each learner and the time you’re able to dedicate to the Specialization each week. There are deadlines to help you complete in a timely manner (targeting completion in 24 weeks), but you can move faster (by taking courses concurrently) or slower as suits your needs.
Do I need to take the courses in a specific order?
Each course in the Specialization is built to stand alone and can be taken in the order you choose, or concurrently. However, the course order was developed to build from more individual-focused worlds (24 hours in your digital world, your personal data) to more outward-facing worlds (relationship, career, and global), so if you are taking them sequentially we recommend following their order within the Specialization. At minimum, we recommend starting with the 24 Hours in Your Digital World course and ending with the Culminating Project course.
Which of the CSTA K-12 computer science standards will the Specialization cover?
In terms of the CSTA K-12 computer science standards, we’ll primarily cover learning objectives within the “impacts of computing” concept, while also including some within the “networks and the Internet” concepts and touching upon the “data and analysis” concept. Practices we cover include “fostering and inclusive computing culture”, “recognizing and defining computational problems”, and “communicating about computing”.
More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.