Caribbean Computer Coding Workshops: For Barbados and the OECS

Two workshops will be offered in parallel in the summer of 2021

  1. Workshop No. C3W.001 – Introduction to Website Development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP)
  2. Workshop No. C3W.002 – Introduction to Programming in Python (Basics to video games)

The links to the student and the Instructor/TA application forms are near the bottom of this page. Prospective students should read the information below that precedes the application form so they have some idea of the commitments that will be expected of them. These workshops have weekly homework assignments and are not for youngsters who are looking to play and have fun only.

Important Dates for Both Workshops

Workshop Dates: 17 July to 28 August 2021. Classes held 3 times per week: Saturdays (9:00 am – 12 noon) and Tuesdays & Thursdays (6 pm to 8 pm). All classes virtual.
Application period opened: 12 May 2021
APPLICATION DEADLINE: 12 July 2021, 11:59 pm

 

Overview

The knowledge-based workforce of the future will be heavily dependent on computer coding skills. It is believed that in the very near future computer coding will be as essential a skill to have for many entry-level positions, in the same way that word processing and spreadsheet facility is today. Around the world, developing countries are training more and more of their students in computer programming (coding), and much of that focus begins with html (for Website development) and cell-phone apps. Even at this level, the Caribbean is being left behind in the race. By not sufficiently developing computer programming skills in its population, the Caribbean is unable to take full advantage of its potential to build a modern-day workforce and to diversify its economies.

Coding Camp Level I Inaugural Class, Instructors and sponsor’s representatives at inaugural opening ceremony 06Jan18

History

In order to help the Caribbean catch up with other developed countries, beginning in January 2018, the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF), Scotiabank, and the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS partnered to launch a Level I pilot of the CSF Computer Coding Workshops which ran on Saturday mornings in Barbados from January to March and again from September to December 2018. Since then, the Barbados workshops have been held twice per year, with the most recent offering concluding on May 1, 2021. The Level I Workshop was replicated in St. Lucia and Dominica. The first two offerings of the St. Lucia Workshop took place from January 12 to March 30, 2019 at the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, and from September 28 to December 14, 2019 at St. Mary’s College. The first session of the Dominica Workshop took place from January 11 to April 4, 2020, and the second session ran from September 19 to December 5, 2020. The longer-term plan is to continue to replicate the coding workshops in other Caribbean Countries in subsequent years, as needed, based on funding availability.

Workshop Goals

The goals of the CSF Computer Coding Workshops are to: (1) stimulate more interest in science and engineering careers, (2) help address the challenge of increasing the low numbers of skilled ICT workers in the Region, (3) help train the technology workforce of the future (especially retraining of retrenched workers), (4) stimulate more technology-based entrepreneurship by encouraging the formation of more globally competitive ICT companies, (5) help get more students interested in going beyond programming into the field of computer science, and (6) help prepare students for university study in the STEM disciplines.

These goals are consistent with the overall CSF goals of helping to diversify the economies of the Region and thereby raise the standard of living of the people. Thus, CSF projects have a long-term focus on stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship, and grooming the next generation of Caribbean science and engineering leaders.

These Workshops provide a significant foundation to anyone who wants to dive into the world of tech and computers. More specifically, the Web and mobile Apps. Beginners often want to build the next “Facebook” or “Google” without first mastering the fundamentals. Hence, this workshop aims to cover the basics while still providing a taste of the more advanced code libraries used to accomplish fascinating results such as:

  • Voice Controlled Website
  • Gamepad/Joystick/Xbox Controlled Website (Useful for games)

Or interacting with a mobile app by:

  • Shaking a mobile device
  • Using a Cellphone Camera
  • Reading the cellphone light sensor (Used to adjust screen brightness automatically)

amongst other cool capabilities.

Please view the inspirational video below, produced by the St. Lucia Ministry of Education, to get a better understanding of the motivation for the holding the CSF computer coding workshops in the Region:

Targeted Groups

Because of limited resources, total enrollment in the Workshops is limited to about 25 participants per session. Applicants must be Caribbean citizens. Persons less than 15 years old on the day on which the particular Workshop session begins, are not eligible to apply to that Workshop. Girls are especially invited to apply. Other targeted applicants are: (1) out-of-school and at-risk youth, (2) disabled individuals, and (3) secondary school science and mathematics teachers.

Participants in the Coding Workshops work in teams, and each team creates a Website or an App that solves a problem of interest to the team. At the Coding Workshop Showcase which takes place on the final day of the Workshop, the teams show off their Websites and Apps to a public audience. Below are videos from the Dominica and Barbados Fall 2020 showcases and one from the Spring 2021 Barbados Workshop.

Have a look for yourself at the following News articles to see how creative past students have been:


Workshop Structure and Curriculum

Coding Camp Instructor Brandon Alleyne with the Barbados Spring 2018 Level I class

C3W.001 (the Level I introductory website creation and development course), begins with basic coding in HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP, and is tailored for persons having no previous experience in coding. C3W.002 also assumes no prior coding experience, although concepts such as functions, variables, iteration will be helpful. Students with prior coding experience may be placed in a faster session for non-beginners.

In the last quarter of each class, the participants form teams, and the teams focus on the development of projects such as simple Websites, mobile Apps or video games, or data science applications that may of interest to the teams. These final projects are displayed to a public audience on the last day of the Workshop.

Preliminary syllabi for the C3W.001 and the C3W.002 Workshops are shown below. Topics in the syllabi are subject to change at any time.

Typical Syllabus for C3W.001 – Introduction to Website Development

        Period                  Topic

  • Sat 17 July (3hrs) – Registration; Logistics; Opening ceremony; Principles of web design
  • Tues 20 July (2 hrs) – Introduction to HTML
  • Thrs 22 July (2hrs) – creating a basic Website + Free Web-hosting!
  • Sat 24 July (3 hrs) – Introduction to CSS (Fonts, colors and sizes)
  • Tue 27 July (2hrs) – More HTML & CSS
  • Thrs 29 July (2 hrs) – A deeper look (Animation + stylesheets)
  • Sat 31 July (3 hrs) – Creating tables, adding and manipulating images
  • Tue 03 Aug (2hrs) – Introduction to Javascript (Syntax + button interaction)
  • Thrs 05 Aug (2hrs) – JavaScript – A deeper look (e.g., A simple game + Voice control & Web storage)
  • Sat 07 Aug (3 hrs) – More JavaScript examples (Students form teams)
  • Tue 10 Aug (2hrs) – Teams come up with a Project
  • Thrs 12 Aug (2hrs) – Introduction and applications of PHP
  • Sat 14 Aug (3 hrs)- More PHP examples
  • Tue 17 Aug (2hrs) – Adding Cordova plug-ins – Convert websites to apps; Teams continue working on projects
  • Thrs 19 Aug (2hrs) – Teams continue working on projects
  • Sat 21 Aug (3 hrs) – Teams complete projects
  • Tues 24 Aug – (2hrs) Rehearsals
  • Thrs 26 Aug – (2hrs) Rehearsals
  • Sat 28 Aug – Final Project Presentations to the public & closing ceremony (8 am to 3 pm)

Typical Syllabus for C3W.002 – Introduction to Programming in Python (Basics to video games)
        Period                  Topic

  • Sat 17 July (3hrs) – Logistics, Ground Rules, Diagnostic Exam, Introduction to Python
  • Tues 20 July (2 hrs) – Objects in Python
  • Thrs 22 July (2hrs) – Expressions, Statements and Operators
  • Sat 24 July (3 hrs) – Control Flow
  • Tue 27 July (2hrs) – Functions
  • Thrs 29 July (2 hrs) – Input and Output
  • Sat 31 July (3 hrs) – Built-in Data Structures, CLI Games 1
  • Tue 03 Aug (2hrs) – Exception Handling, CLI Games 2
  • Thrs 05 Aug (2hrs) – Classes, CLI Games 3
  • Sat 07 Aug (3 hrs) – Introduction to Pygame, GUI vs CLI, (Form Teams)
  • Tue 10 Aug (2hrs) – Game Loops and Game State, (Teams Come up with a project)
  • Thrs 12 Aug (2hrs) – Events (Mouse and Keyboard), Surface Objects and Color
  • Sat 14 Aug (3 hrs)- Fonts and Animation
  • Tue 17 Aug (2hrs) – Example Game (Motion)
  • Thrs 19 Aug (2hrs) – Example Game (Dealing with Gravity)
  • Sat 21 Aug (3 hrs) – Example Game, Team Game Review.
  • Tues 24 Aug – (2hrs) Rehearsals
  • Thrs 26 Aug – (2hrs) Rehearsals
  • Sat 28 Aug – Final Project Presentations to the public (8 am to 3 pm)

Anticipated Benefits of the Coding Workshops

  • A raised awareness and increased opportunities for more persons to consider science and engineering as career options
  • Better preparation of our students for university study in the STEM disciplines
  • A more appropriately trained future knowledge-based workforce – more graduates with enhanced skill sets and qualifications will obtain entry level positions in the workplace (especially at-risk youth)
  • Promotion of more technology-based entrepreneurship, and more self-employment opportunities for our youth
  • Eventual formation of more globally competitive ICT companies that could bring in more foreign exchange
  • Scale up and spreading of coding workshops into other Caribbean countries
  • Regional mobilization onto a path to catch up with the more developed countries in the ICT areas
  • Ignition and nurturing of the inventiveness in our youth so that the next “Google” has a reasonable probability of coming out of the Caribbean

Selection Criteria for the Workshops

The CSF Coding Workshop Admissions Committee will be responsible for selecting the participants. Because of budget and class size limitations, the Committee will limit the number of participants in each workshop session. Only complete applications that arrive before the application deadline will be considered. Also, the lower age limit and the citizenship requirement will be strictly enforced. Thereafter, applications will be selected taking the following factors into consideration in decreasing order or importance:

  • The Admissions Committee’s assessment of the applicant’s interest and passion for STEM based on the submitted materials
  • The age of the applicant (qualified older applicants may be given preference over younger applicants who have to option to re-apply in a later year)
  • The date the application was received (early applications given preference over later ones)

 

SUMMER 2021 STUDENT APPLICATION FORMS (Barbados and the OECS)

The Summer 2021 Caribbean Computer Coding Workshop for Barbados and the OECS will be held in a virtual classroom on the Zoom platform. Please carefully read the instructions in bold type below, before you begin to fill out your application, as this Workshop has strict commitment requirements that we are expecting you to honor.

Only candidates who are serious about computer programming and/or computer science should apply, as these workshops apply simple concepts from algebra and geometry (which we will teach), and homework is assigned each week. These Workshops are not camps where children come predominantly to have fun, but are serious fast-paced workshops. Candidates who are not prepared to do homework and some learning on their own (or in teams) should not apply, as they will probably not be able to keep up with the class. The playing of video games, social media interaction, Website browsing unrelated to the Workshop, and engaging in other distracting or disruptive activity while at the Workshop may result in expulsion. So please do not sign up for the workshop if you know now that cannot commit the time. Participants who miss one or more classes are generally not able to make a significant contribution to a team, and it becomes unfair to the other team members who then have to carry the entire load all the way to the final Showcase where the team members present their work in front of a public audience. Finally, please note that Workshop participants are expected to bring their own computers (that meet our minimum specifications) to the camp, as the CSF is unable to provide computers.

One more request before you begin to fill out the application form: Please read the above Overview of the CSF Computer Coding Workshops in its entirety.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR FILLING OUT THE STUDENT APPLICATION FORMS

  • The student application period opened on May 12, 2021. A complete application consists of 4 Sections. To access the student application form, you must first login at http://caribbeanscience.org/login/. If you have previously established an account with the CSF, then enter your password and proceed. If you have forgotten your password, send us a quick e-mail ans we will send you a new one. Otherwise, please create a new account.
  • Please note that the same basic application form is used for all the Workshops. On the application form, please check the appropriate box for your country near the top of the form.
  • While you are filling out the application, please be advised that clicking on the SAVE button does not result in the submission of your application. You must keep going until you reach reach the Verification Page (Section IV) where you will find the SUBMIT button at the bottom of that page.

  • Note that if you are under 18 years of age, your must certify in Section IV that you have your parent’s permission to enroll in this Workshop. We reserve the right to check with your parents
  • Make sure your full name appears on any and all supplementary documents/attachments you submit to us.
  • Please type your responses whenever possible (illegible handwritten documents may not be accepted). Type N/A for questions which are not applicable.
  • Attachments with the content upside down on the page will annoy most reviewers. Please make sure the content in your attachments is upright and legible.
  • Please name your attachments to reflect their contents. We suggest you name your attachments using the following format “Summer 2021 C3W application-your country-your first name-your last name-document name”. Attachments with file names such as “scan 001” could cause your attachment to be misfiled.  If this happens, your application will be deemed incomplete.
  • Applications will be rejected if incomplete or uploaded/emailed later than the application deadline.
  • If admitted to the Workshop, the Workshop fee of U$ 50 is due in advance of participation in the Workshop. Special arrangements for weekly or monthly payments can be made.

Use the checklist (below) of required supporting materials to help you complete your package.

CHECK LIST:

Check off each item as you submit it online, or as you attach it and submit it by e-mail to csfhdq@gmail.com.

  •  Copy of document showing proof of age and of Caribbean citizenship – sent by e-mail or uploaded in Section I.
  •  A high resolution photograph (passport style) of yourself sent by e-mail or uploaded in section I.
  •   Uploaded the web-based application components (Sections I – IV).

Payment of the Workshop Fee

The participant workshop fee of US$ 50 helps to offset the costs of running the workshops. For participants who are unable to pay in full at the beginning of the workshop, arrangements can be made for weekly payments. A minimum of US$20 is due at the time of registration. Payment of the Workshop fee can be made via one of the options given at https://caribbeanscience.org/cadsti/support/. Please note that:

  • Payment by wire transfer is discouraged as the total of the wiring fees on both ends may exceed the amount of the Workshop fee
  • All participants may pay the workshop fee by credit card using Option 2 at the above link
  • Only Barbados citizens have the option to pay by Barbados check (option 5) or by cash (Barbados or US currency) at the CSF office
  • The Workshop fee is not tax deductible for US citizens. We prefer credit card payments from the US to be made via Option 2 instead of Option 1
  • If paying the Workshop fee by US check, we prefer such payment be made via Option 3 to CADSTI International

Please designate “Computer Coding Workshop” on your payment vehicle, if possible.
 

INSTRUCTOR AND TEACHING ASSISTANT APPLICATION FORMS

The CSF is currently seeking applications from qualified Instructors and Teaching Assistants from anywhere in the world. A modest stipend is paid to the Instructors.

Applicants for the Website Development (C3W.001) Instructor positions will be expected to have facility with principles of web design that would include experience with HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP. Some experience with mobile App development such as Ionic Creator, AngularJS, Cordova etc would be an asset.

Applicants for the Programming in Python (C3W.002) Instructor positions will be expected to have significance with the language, and its application to the development of video games, the programming Raspberry Pis and micro-controllers for the control of machines (robots, drones, appliances, and the Internet of Things). Experience with its use for running machine learning algorithms for applications such as the processing big data using will be an asset.

To apply for either Instructor/TA position, please fill out either the on-line Web-based application at
Web-based Caribbean Coding Workshop Instructor Application Form (preferred)
or the manual application which can be downloaded as a pdf or Word file via the two links below:

C3W Instructor & TA Application Form Summer 2021.pdf

C3W Instructor & TA Application Form Summer 2021.docx

The completed forms should be e-mailed back to the CSF headquarters (csfhdq@gmail.com) along with the other requested documents.

Our needs vary with time, as we add more sections and more Workshops. We can keep your application on file if a position is not immediately available. Please do not hesitate to contact us at csfhdq@gmail.com if you need more information.

A Future Level III Workshop

Sometime in a near future we hope to offer a Level III workshop for intermediate and advanced programmers. The primary coding language for the Level III Workshop will be Python, although other modern languages may be adopted as necessary for problem solving and specific applications. Level III will focus on the use of machine learning algorithms for problem solving in a variety of areas including science, engineering, health care, social science, art, and industries such as tourism and financial services. Examples of Level III projects could include advanced video games, programming Raspberry Pis and micro-controllers for the control of machines (robots, drones, appliances, and the Internet of Things) as well as the processing of big data and other applications that may be of interest to the teams.

Python is one the fastest growing programming languages, and has been chosen owing to:(1) its simplicity, flexibility, compactness and readability, (2) the strength of its standard library, (3) its widespread adoption today as the entry-level language of choice in the world’s leading science and engineering universities, and (4) to assist the Region in moving away from Pascal at the CSEC examination level. The greatest immediate challenges are finding competent Python instructors and enough students who would take the class.

Key Partners

Key partners of the CSF are the Barbados Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).