This conversation is driving me crazy. The post itself is fine, and raises an issue that CS teachers have been talking about both at the secondary and college level for a long time. It’s the conflation, once again, of technology/computer literacy (i.e. using Excel and Powerpoint) with learning to program/learn computational thinking/computer science. In the first few comments alone, there is the yes, please make computer science a requirement so that all my students can use Word. No, no, no. To counter those who think learning programming or CS leaves out or doesn’t address the issue of learning Office or other applications, I have two responses. One, those other applications are used in a context, not taught separately. My students have used a variety of applications to present projects. And I know they use them in other classes. Two, I’ve found that students who learn programming are fearless about trying to use anything presented to them on the computer. They will figure out Word because of that, and because they know a bit of how it works underneath.
And then there’s the later comments that say, okay, so we require CS. What’s a student going to do with one semester of CS? She can’t compete with those with full CS degrees. No, but when she sits on a committee where they’re discussing the implementation of a new student information system or launching a new web site, she will be informed about how those things actually work and can ask appropriate questions and make informed decisions. Or she will know how to get the computer to work for her, even if she’s not the one who writes the program to do so.
It doesn’t help, of course, that not even the CS people agree about how to approach this issue. But that happens in every discipline. Require one or three Writing courses? Writing across the curriculum or no? Technical writing or business writing? There is no one right answer, but there are certainly lots of possibilities.