CSAwesome Resources

CSAwesome Syllabus

CSAwesome Course Syllabus

The AP Computer Science A course developed by the College Board is equivalent to a first-semester, college-level CS1 course in computer science. The course introduces students to computer science with fundamental topics that include problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data (algorithms), analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing. 

Big Ideas

The curriculum consists of 10 units with the big ideas of the CS A framework spiraled across the units.

You can learn more about the Big Ideas here.

Computational Thinking Practices and Skills

In addition to the big ideas of the CS A framework, the skills of CS A are developmentally sequenced and spiraled across the units, building on each other. 

View the mapping to the College Board CSA LOs and EKs. 

Runestone Academy Instructor Guide

The video and slides show an overview of the instructor dashboard that is build into Runestone Academy and how to use its features for the CSAwesome course. 

For additional support on these topics, see below:

Create a Custom Course

To have access to the instructor's dashboard where you can create assignments and see your students' progress, you must create your own copy of the course following the directions below. All updates to the course are shared with the custom copies.

a.  Student-directed: Create your custom course. Tell your students to go  to https://runestone.academy/ and click on Sign Up and enter in the info to set up an account and enter Your Course Name (e.g. SchoolName-2023) into the Course Name field. Check the box next to “I agree” and click Sign Up.

b. Teacher-directed: If your students do NOT have Runestone accounts already, you can upload a csv file (save any spreadsheet as a csv file) with rows of username, email, first_name, last_name, password, coursename in Instructor's Page/Admin/Manage Students. You get to make up their usernames and passwords and register them for Runestone and your course. See here  on how to sign up students without PII and personal emails.

Student Data Privacy with Runestone Academy

CSAwesome on Runestone Academy follows the Student Privacy Pledge and has its own Runestone Academy Privacy Policy.

For students and teachers in states where Student Data Privacy laws are in place*, it is possible to set up a Runestone Academy course without personally identifiable information (PII) for students.  For instructions on Runestone Academy student accounts without PII, see here. 

For Districts Requiring A Signed Agreement

Runestone Academy (info@runestone.academy) has signed the National Data Privacy Agreement (NDPA) found here  with many states and school districts.  The map shows states that have adopted the NDPA. If you live in a green (or maybe yellow) state, Runestone Academy can sign a contract with your district. If another district in your state already has a signed NDPA from Runestone Academy, then your district can sign Exhibit E and send a copy to Runestone Academy. See here for more information.

If your state or district is using LearnPlatform, you can invite us to submit an application to sign the NDPA.

Other important links:

*If your school or district requires additional information or an addendum, please contact  brad@runestone.academy

Instructor's Dashboard 

Student Progress

In the Instructor's Page of your custom course, you can see your students' progress in the Student Progress tab. Select a chapter/unit from the drop down menu to see your class' progress on that chapter and all the exercises in it. You can click on each student or each exercise to see the details. See here for more info. There are also two buttons for Chapter Activity and the Gradebook. 

Creating and Grading Assignments

New in Aug 2023: There are now ready-made assignments that you can copy in from the base CSAwesome course! 

In these assignments, students get 5 interaction points for interacting with at least 75% of the material in a lesson in the reading section (these are all or nothing points). Students will receive individual correctness points in the problem section for correctly completing:

The pretest, midterm test, and posttest are all included in assignments (note: make sure Show as Timed Assessment is checked so students only get one try on multiple choice questions.) This can be reset in the Admin tab. There is also an optional Peer Instruction activity as an assignment in each unit.

Setting Up Assignments:

Click here to access the Runestone guide for creating assignments. 

Grading Assignments

Most exercises on the lesson pages (active codes, multiple choice, fill in the blank, matching, and Parson's Problems) are auto-graded. Active code problems tend to be graded by looking for expected output or code fragments. The auto-grader will let students and teachers know if the code is complex enough to meet the learning objectives. Teachers should spend time looking at th code manually to provide students with feedback.  The guide to grading assignments can be found here

Tips for Grading: 

Checking Student Progress:

In the Student Progress tab, there is a gradebook button all the way to the right that provides a useful way to look at grades. You can also download the gradebook into a spreadsheet.

Example of setting up a Pre-test assignment to see their pre-test scores:

1. Click on the Assignments tab, click on the Add button, and type in an assignment name like pretest and click on Create. Under Problems, choose the Pretest lesson and it will add all the problems from it. 

2. Then, switch to the Grading tab, and choose that assignment, and hit autograde. 

3. Then, switch to Student Progress tab, and click on the Gradebook button all the way to the right.

Practice Tool

There is a practice tool that will display review problems. See  here on how to sign up and use it.

Peer Instruction Tool

There is a new peer instruction tool which is a special type of assignment for multiple-choice questions where students can vote on an answer and then discuss it in groups. See  Runestone Peer Instruction and Runestone Structured Collaboration.

Search for canterburyqb problems at the bottom of the assignments tab problem section for good peer instruction questions.

Design new Problems:

You can also create your own problems in the Assignments tab of the instructor page in the Problems section or choose problems made by other teachers that are not in the ebook. The easy way to create a new problem is to click on one that's close to what you want, click on edit, and change the id and question, run, and save.  Put something unique at the start of all your ids so you can search for them later. You can find more information here.

Annotations with Hy.pothes.is

Runestone allows annotations using Hypothes.is which is built-in. Hypothes.is can be used for independent or collaborative online annotations.

Tutorials: You can access the complete list of tutorials here

Below are some helpful tutorials to get you started. 

Practice Tool

The Practice Tool that you can enable in Runestone has been shown to reduce the achievement gap between students by giving practice problems from the ebook every day to students to review material.

There is a practice tool tab in the instructor's page where you can set it up for students to review problems. See here on how to sign up and use it.

Practice Tool Webinar (Oct. 1st, 2020):

Quick Steps:

Runestone Academy Pair Programming Support

To use Runestone Pair Programming support, turn it on and off for your course whenever you want in the Instructor Page of your custom course. Click on the Admin tab and then Course Settings button and check or uncheck Allow Pairs as needed. 

Watch this video to see it in action. 

Runestone Academy Peer Instruction Tool

In Peer Instruction, students anonymously answer multiple choice questions, discuss their answers with a partner, and then submit an answer a second time. You can learn more about Peer Instruction here

There is a new peer instruction tool in Runestone. If you copy the base course CSAwesome assignments from the Admin tab of the Instructor's Page in your custom course, there is a Peer Instruction assignment made for each unit.  Or just choose some challenging MCQs or search for canterburyqb problems at the bottom of the assignments tab problem section for more peer instruction questions. You can learn more about this new peer instruction tool here