Computer Science

Community Colleges Announce Plans for Apple Swift Courses

Image: Apple.

Ohio's Columbus State Community College, Texas' Houston Community College and Arizona's Mesa Community College are the first institutions to introduce the use of Apple Swift curriculum into their academic programs. All three schools will be launching classes in the fall to introduce the open source programming language to students. An additional three colleges are on tap to do the same but haven't announced their plans yet. Course offerings will address both people who have no experience in programming and those with ample skill.

"App Development with Swift" is a year-long curriculum created by Apple engineers and educators to teach the basics of Swift, an open source programming language that users say is easy to use in writing software and the company says is "safe by design."

The Houston college will be launching a coding school specifically to teach people how to program Apple apps. The iOS Coding and Design School will be available as a credit-bearing offering and as continuing education. The latter requires the student to supply his or her own "modern" Mac laptop and will cost $540 for the summer session. An additional youth summer camp will teach K–12 students how to code using Apple's Swift Playgrounds iPad app.

"HCC was all over it," said Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of environment, policy and social initiatives, in a video about the launch of the program. "They helped us design the course, and then they were ready to plug it right into the curriculum to offer it as part of a degree program for students."

Columbus State will offer both a basic course and an advanced course. Mesa will offer a three-credit course in app development. Students there may take the course on its own or as part of an associate's degree in a related field, such as computer programming. The full curriculum requires about 180 hours to complete and leads to the skills needed to build apps that run on iPhones and iPads.

At the time Apple announced the new curriculum, the company said it specifically chose community colleges for the launch to expand job opportunities and give women and underrepresented minorities a way to gain the skills they need to get into software development and IT.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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