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This fall, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is adding a new computer science course to help its more than 13,000 students in 48 undergraduate majors sign up for intro computing courses available to students in non-computer science majors.

The pilot “X + Computing” program — named for the way it combines computer science with other fields — is funded by a $300,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

“Finding ways to enable expertise in digital proficiency and experience in engineering design for all students, including students in any UMBC major, is essential for our college to help fulfill Maryland’s goals for its future workforce,” said Keith J Bowman, dean of UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology.

The first course in the series was piloted in spring 2018, teaching computer science fundamentals through projects on real-world topics of interest to students from a broad range of majors. The second course (launching in fall 2019) will enable students to gain a deeper understanding of the Python programming language through examples that are relevant for non-majors.

Instructors hope X + Computing will appeal to students who want to add a computer science or computing minor to their non-computing major, and students who want to shape a major around interests rooted in computing.

This program is one of several initiatives the College of Engineering and Information Technology and UMBC more broadly are exploring to expand opportunities for students from all backgrounds to grow their technical knowledge and experience.

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