GBC launches new dual credit course in programming

High-school students learn the fundamentals of programming in new course

Last September, George Brown College (GBC) launched a new dual credit course in computer programming for high school students.

“The course is based on object-oriented programming which is really famous and popular. (It is) based on C-sharp language on the visual studio platform. It focuses on how to manipulate objects and create classes, to deal with databases in the future or even create applications for the PC,” said Hesam Akbari, a professor at GBC and the instructor of the course.

High-school student Kim Nguyen learned about the course through her school co-op. She cited her professor, Akbari, as one of her favourite parts of the course as well as the relationship with her fellow students who support each other.

Nguyen aspires to be a video game programmer one day “because there’s too many violent video games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ which teaches people that you can get away with violent things with no consequences.”

She also noted that in the past, computer programming was more of a male-dominated field, making it harder for women to take part. She believes it’s easier for women to get into the field now.

Joel Duff, another dual credit student, also found out about the course through his co-op. Given that he wanted to pursue coding as a post-secondary education, he figured he should try to get some knowledge on it beforehand.

Duff’s favourite part of the course was when students had time to work on their personal projects.

The most challenging part of the course was not the course itself, according to Duff, but the atmosphere of the classroom because it differed so much from his classroom in high school.

“There’s a lot more emphasis for you to push yourself rather than the teacher,” he said.

Nguyen was also quite surprised by the college atmosphere. “When I walked into this college for the first time I was like ‘Oh my God I feel like a grown up,’ but also at the same time ‘Where is everything?'”

Akbari believes that it is important for high school students to learn object-oriented programming. 

“People have to get into this early, it’s a long procedure to get the sense of computers. It is a tedious procedure. You can’t master it in a year,” he said.

Akbari’s first class in September only garnered seven students and after spreading the news through word of mouth, there are now approximately 30 students in his current class.

Akbari said that his style of teaching is less traditional than most teachers, but it’s also clearly garnered the interest of his students.

“I ask them to code with me and I ask questions. When you do that, you’re connected to the whole class,” he said.

In high school, Akbari found computer engineering was too hard for him and pursued electrical engineering, but later came back to it.

“I think they developed a really great program that’s really unique. I really liked it, when I heard (about) it I said ‘Hey I want to get on that,’” he said.

“It’s really a blessing to format younger students minds,” he added.

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GBC launches new dual credit course in programming