PLT logo TeachScheme! Workshops
sponsored by:
    National Science Foundation
    Department of Education (FIPSE)

The Project | Eligibility | Course Details | Materials | Instructional Staff | Locations | Costs and Registration

The Project

A silent revolution is changing the way computer science is understood and taught. The modern curriculum no longer focuses on the machine, on changes in its state, or on the syntactic details of a language. Instead, programming is taught as an algebraic problem-solving process, and computing is the natural generalization of grade-school level calculating. This difference in approach has lead to a growing divide between high school- and college-level curricula.

We formed the TeachScheme! Project to narrow this gulf. The Project uses Rice's award-winning introductory computer science curriculum, which is at the forefront of this revolution. The free workshop familiarizes teachers with the essence of the curriculum, covering not only the material but also issues that arise when teaching it.

The Project's main page explains the background in more detail and provides additional pointers to materials.


Read what others have to say about the program. Nearly 100 teachers have attended the workshop and most of them have implemented the TeachScheme! curriculum in their classrooms. They have seen the power of our approach at work.


We welcome high school teachers who cover at least one of computer science, mathematics, and the physical sciences. We ask that you first contact your school to determine whether they will allow you to make curricular changes based on the summer course. You should find out what obstacles you will face from your school if you decide to adopt this curriculum.

We also welcome college and university faculty.

Tentative Course Details for 2001

Duration: one week, Monday through Friday

Note: The last day-and-a-half of the workshop is usually dedicated to a single, extended, multi-part exercise. Attendees who want to get more practice with the material, with some assistance from the tutors, are welcome to spend Saturday in the labs. You may also find cheaper air-fares by staying over Saturday night.

Garden City: June/July; to be announced
Providence: July 9-13, 2001
Utah: July 16-20, 2001
Boston: early August; to be announced

Daily Schedule: 8am-5pm, with opportunity for experimentation in the evening. Each half of the day is divided into two sessions. The first session consists of classroom lecture and discussion; in the second session, participants work in computer labs to study and implement the material discussed in the classroom.


The course uses the text book How to Design Programs: An Introduction to the Principles of Programming and Computing (to appear with MIT Press). It has been tested extensively in college and high school (and some middle school) settings.

The course programming environment is DrScheme, which was developed for use in introductory programming courses. It operates in concert with the text.

Both the text and the programming environment are available for free on-line --

-- and will remain so. We encourage future participants to start reading the on-line text.

Instructional Staff

The course will be staffed primarily by the members of the Programming Languages Team: Stephen Bloch, Matthias Felleisen, Robby Findler, Kathi Fisler, Matthew Flatt, and Shriram Krishnamurthi. They are researchers and educators in the Departments of Computer Science at Adelphi University, Brown University, Rice University, the University of Utah and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Between them, they have over 40 years of experience dealing with educational issues and innovative curricula. Some of them co-authored the course text and are the principal architects of the programming environment. In addition, they have published numerous research papers on the principles of programming, the principles of programming languages, and the implementation of programming environments.

The primary staff will be joined by teachers who have attended this workshop in previous years and implemented its material in high school classes. These teachers will assist in the labs, and also provide advice based on their classroom experiences. Other computer scientists from the host universities, all with extensive teaching experience, will also assist in the workshop.


We expect to offer workshops in four locations.

Garden City, Long Island, New York: hosted by Adelphi University

Adelphi University was the first co-educational college in New York State. It combines a commitment to liberal-arts education with highly-regarded professional programs in education, nursing, psychology, and social work; it boasts small class sizes, a friendly, informal approach to students, and a faculty deeply committed to teaching. The campus is situated in the safe, attractive, suburban village of Garden City, in Long Island, NY, and is a few blocks from a commuter rail station, providing easy access (c. 45 minutes) to New York City, the financial and cultural capital of the United States.

Boston, Massachusetts: hosted by Northeastern University

Northeastern University is a private research university, offering a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate. A world leader in practice-oriented education, Northeastern emphasizes educational programs that link classroom learning with workplace experience and integrate professional preparation with study in the liberal arts and sciences.

Boston, center of the American Revolution, is one of the nation's oldest cities. Boston is a cultural center renowned for its numerous educational institutions. The city has many historical reminders of America's birth and growth. Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is a beloved summer-time destination. Other notables include its famous parks, libraries, museums and aquarium. Nearby tourist destinations include Cape Cod and the many other attractions of New England.

Providence, Rhode Island: hosted by Brown University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Brown University, the seventh oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, predates the American Revolution and is a member of the Ivy League. Brown has a distinguished faculty, an exceptional student body, a long history of tolerance and diversity, and a unique academic curriculum. Brown is especially well known for its innovative uses of technology to enhance the classroom. Both the undergraduate computer science program and the graduate computer science department have long been among the nation's best.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), located in Worcester, MA, is the third oldest college of science and engineering in the United States. Recent U.S. News & World Report rankings have placed WPI in the top 50 national universities. WPI's innovative project-based curriculum, which requires all students to complete three original projects (one in each of the humanities, the interplay of society and technology, and the student's major discipline), reflects WPI's hallmark emphasis on combining theory and practice in education. WPI also emphasizes a global perspective in engineering education; roughly half of the students design solutions to local problems in worldwide locations (such as Venice, Bangkok, and Costa Rica) to fulfill their project requirements.

Providence, founded as a haven of religious tolerance, is undergoing a renaissance that marks it as the most exciting destination in New England. It was just rated by Money Magazine as the best city in the Northeast. Providence has a long history of trade and industry, and the city is peppered with historical and architectural reminders of its wealthy past. Reborn as a center of the arts, it is also home to restaurants of international renown. Summer is a time for nautical activity off Cape Cod or in Narragansett Bay, outdoor theater, film festivals, more film festivals, yet more film festivals, and WaterFire. As the AAA team for the Red Sox, the Pawtucket Red Sox (or ``Pawsox'') keep futile-yet-fierce New England baseball hopes alive. But perhaps nothing is quite as pleasant as strolling in Providence along its riverwalk or on one of its elegant historic streets.

Salt Lake City, Utah: hosted by the University of Utah

The University of Utah, founded in 1850, is one of the preeminent research universities of the American West. Its computer science program is one of the oldest in the country (in 1970, Utah became the fourth node on the Internet), and it has long made significant contributions in many areas of the discipline. Utah is especially known for its work in computer graphics, with companies such as Silicon Graphics, Evans and Sutherland, Pixar, and Adobe all founded by Utah faculty and graduates.

Salt Lake City is the hub of a large metropolitan area that is home to most of Utah's 2 million residents. The city was just rated by Money Magazine as the best in the West. Perched on the western edge of the Rockies, Salt Lake offers unparalleled outdoor recreation mere minutes from the city, including first-rate hiking, biking, rock climbing, camping, and fishing. Numerous national parks and mounments are within a day's drive: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Escalante, and many more. During the summer, southern Utah's Cedar City hosts the renowned Utah Shakespearean Festival, winner of 2000 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. In 2002, Salt Lake City will host the Winter Olympics.

Costs and Registration

The summer course and the materials are free; there is no deposit or registration fee. The cost is borne by the TeachScheme! sponsors.

The workshop also provides continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshments. Participants are responsible for dining and hotels. There are motels near campus that offer special rates to participants, and we help put teachers seeking roommates in touch with each other.

The project may have a limited number of attendance stipends. The support is primarily intended for teachers outside the workshop area. We encourage potential participants to explore other avenues of funding, especially local ones, such as corporations and foundations. Your institution may have information on potential sources.

You can sign up for the workshop using our on-line sign-up form. (If you want a paper copy, for yourself or for a friend, please send email to the address at the bottom of this page.) Please do first discuss the workshop with your principal or other school authorities.

If you have questions not addressed by our Web material, please email us at

This project is partially sponsored by:

[FIPSE/DoEd] [NSF] [Exxon]
US Department of Education National Science Foundation Exxon


Last modified at 21:23:02 CST on Friday, February 16, 2001