Collective Impact for Computer Science Education: Start to Design Backbone Functions

The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) is pleased to invite you to a short digital course about the Collective Impact framework for computer science and other STEM education access initiatives. What is collective impact? Apply now

Collective Impact for Computer Science Education: Start to Design Backbone Functions


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    Save the dates

        • You are strongly encouraged to apply no later than 15 January. Applications will be accepted until Sunday, January 22, 2017.
        • During the week of January 16–20, applicants will be invited to attend an online briefing and complete pre-course orientation.
        • The course starts on January 23, 2017 and ends on February 17, 2017.

    Application, enrollment, and participation in this course are free of charge to individuals. We do encourage every participant to complete the course and will recognize this with a certificate of participation.

    Click here to apply for this course

    Three good reasons to apply for this course

    1. Collective Impact experts and practitioners from all over the country will be able to connect and share experience and practical ‘know-how’ that will help YOU build your backbone organization.
    2. This course will use the Scholar Approach. In this hands-on pedagogy, you will learn by building knowledge you can use, working with other practitioners to discuss and reflect together in order to improve.
    3. Some NSF INCLUDES grantees will continue to build their ‘backbone organization’ design during the face-to-face ‘Backbone Design Workshop for Computer Science Education Collective Impact Initiatives’ in Atlanta, Georgia on March 2 and 3, 2017.

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    Is this course for you?

    This course is open to everyone passionate about expanding computer science education opportunities.

    • For those new to Collective Impact, this course provides an opportunity to learn the basics by developing the outline of a backbone organization for your own context.
    • For Collective Impact practitioners, the course provides an opportunity to focus their expertise and experience to help improve the design and implementation of their backbone organizations.

    Atlanta and Georgia education stakeholders, NSF INCLUDES funded Launch Pilot participants, staff from NSF and other federal agencies (Department of Education), philanthropic organizations, and tech companies are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants interested in the use of digital learning to broaden participation in training and capacity-building efforts are also welcome. Although communities working more broadly on STEM education initiatives are welcome to apply, priority will be given to those applicants who are focused more on Computer Science education..

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    Some of the questions that we will explore in the course

        1. What are the practical steps to design a backbone organization for your Collective Impact effort focused on computer science or STEM education initiatives?
        2. How can companies play an enabling role in supporting community efforts to improve computer science/STEM education initiatives?
        3. How may philanthropic investment in backbone organizations enable significant progress by a Collective Impact effort?
        4. How can Collective Impact practitioners use the Scholar approach to broaden participation in training and capacity-building efforts?

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    What will you do in this course?

    Each participant will develop a ‘backbone organization’ outline intended to contribute to their own local Computer Science/STEM Collective Impact initiative. In the course of drafting this outline, you will learn to:

          • Relate the Collective Impact approach to your community’s Computer Science/STEM education initiatives.
          • Distinguish the Collective Impact approach from other collaboration strategies.
          • Recognize core elements of Collective Impact in different settings/initiatives.
          • Explain the complementary nature of the six essential functions of a backbone organization.
          • Distinguish between different designs/structures of backbone organizations.
          • Identify the most appropriate backbone organization design/structure for your Collective Impact effort.
          • Identify tools and resources to help share your ‘backbone organization’ outline with other stakeholders in your community’s Computer Science/STEM education initiatives..

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    How is the course organized?

        • Participants should be expected to dedicate 3-4 hours a week to the course. Those with limited fluency in English or digital (i.e., you find online tools difficult to use) should schedule an additional 1-2 hours per week.
        • Each participant will develop their own backbone outline draft, then review the draft outlines of three peers, and finally revise their own backbone outline. This process will be broken down into short daily tasks (30 minutes each) to complete each day, Monday through Friday. We encourage you to complete each task on the day it is posted. Nevertheless, you are free to catch up any time during the week, preferably before the weekly discussion group.
        • As each week builds on the preceding week’s activities, it is important that you do not fall behind the schedule.
        • The weekly 30-minute discussion group will be held as a virtual web meeting every Wednesday at 11 a.m. CST (US Central Standard Time) on January  18 and 25 and then on February  1, 8, and 15.
        • The course will end with a one-hour digital Commencement Ceremony on 9 March 2017 at 11 a.m. CST to recognize the achievements of the group. Selected participants may be invited by the course team to present their course work.

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    WeekDatesWeekly discussion group
    (30 minutes)
    11 a.m. CST
    Time required
    Orientation16–20 january18 January3–4 hours
    Week 1 - Discover23–27 January25 January3–4 hours
    Week 2 - Write30 January–3 February1 February3–4 hours
    Week 3 - Review6–10 February8 February3–4 hours
    Week 4 - Revise13–17 February15 February3–4 hours
    Commencement9 March1 hour

    Requirements and  prerequisites

        • Information technology: Participants will need to have access to a reliable Internet connection and a modern browser (Safari 5+, Firefox, or Chrome). A headset with a microphone is necessary to participate in the weekly group discussion. You will need to access the course web site on a daily basis.
        • Collective impact expertise and experience: Some experience with participation in local Collective Impact and/or effort around promoting Computer Science/STEM education is helpful, but not required.


    Application, enrollment, participation, and certification in this course are free of charge. We encourage participants to fully participate to take advantage of this valuable opportunity.


    Participants who successfully complete the following will be eligible to receive a certificate of participation:

        • Participation in Community dialogue.
        • Participation in the weekly discussion group.
        • Submission of a draft backbone outline.
        • Peer review of three backbone outline drafts.
        • Submission of a finalized backbone outline.


    During peer review, reviewers will not see the authors and vice versa. Once you have finished, your outline may be shared on your personal profile and in the community.


    You may be asked to volunteer to take part in research to evaluate the impact of this course. If you do not agree, the research and evaluation team will collect no data. If you agree, you can stop at any time. Taking or not taking part will have no effect on your present or future relationship with any of the organizations involved in the course.

    Connect with the course team and other participants

    Before the course starts, you are invited to connect with the course team and with other applicants on Facebook and Twitter. Once you are in the course, you will work in Scholar.

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      This course sponsored by the National Science Foundation and made possible through a partnership with the Georgia Department of Education. The Geneva Learning Foundation is a member of the Scholar Partnership, with the University of Illinois College of Education and Learning Strategies International, that is helping to produce this course.