MPCT - Media Propelled Computational Thinking

Eric Andrew Freudenthal, Mary K. Roy, Alexandria Nicole Ogrey, Tanja Magoc, Alan Siegel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Media-Propelled Computational Thinking (MPCT - pronounced impact) is a course designed to introduce programming in the context of engaging problems in media computation, math, and physics. Programming concepts are introduced as incremental steps needed to solve pragmatic problems students already understand. The problems, graphical API, and hands-on program features are intended to expose fundamental concepts in mathematics and quantitative science. MPCT is offered in an entering students program for freshmen who plan to specialize in a variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and non-STEM subjects. The curriculum is intended to strengthen student intuition and interest in mathematical modeling and programming by engaging students in the direct manipulation of simple mathematical systems that model and display familiar physical phenomena. MPCT uses programs as concrete and manipulatable examples of fundamental concepts to engage a diverse range of students including women and underrepresented minorities. Variants of MPCT are being developed for high schools, and as a means to introduce computational science to upper division undergraduates studying non-computational STEM disciplines. This paper provides an overview of MPCT and representative problem studies including models of ballistics and resonant systems. The evaluation plan is described and very preliminary results are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCSE'10 - Proceedings of the 41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2010
Event41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE'10 - Milwaukee, WI, United States
Duration: Mar 10 2010Mar 13 2010

Publication series

NameSIGCSE'10 - Proceedings of the 41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education


Other41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE'10
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMilwaukee, WI


  • CS-zero
  • Computational thinking
  • First year programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Education


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