UTCS's Hour of Code Initiative

An Outreach Program

Hour of Code is an initiative led by the non-profit Code.org to encourage non-programmers to spend an hour programming. The Hour of Code lessons are available all year, but the focus of the initiative is to get people to participate during Computer Science Education Week, which is in early December. The idea is to expose people to programming so they will have some understanding of what computer scientist is and may eventually choose that career path---or encourage others to do so. Since December 2015, UT Computer Science department has facilitated the Hour of Code initiative at local grade schools. The UTCS community---undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends---worked together to either lead the grade-school students through the Hour of Code lesson or to provide support to their teachers as they did so. In exchange for our help, we request that teachers allow each volunteer to introduce themselves and tell why they chose computer science and then why they stayed in computer sciences---our field is large and varied, and we are here for many different reasons. In doing so, we hope to expose the students to the diversity within our field.

How is it going?
In 2015, approximately 100 volunteers helped expose over 2,300 students to programming at 10 different Austin-area schools, grades Pre-K-12. That year, we volunteered over 200 hours in local classrooms. In 2016, we expanded our initiative and approximately 150 volunteers helped expose over 2,800 students to programming at 10 different Austin-area schools. In the 2016 effort, we volunteered almost 350 hours in local classrooms. Participating schools included: Perez Elementary, Sunset Valley Elementary, Hemphill Elementary, Manor Middle, Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin Achieve, Ann Richards' School for Young Women Leaders, the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy (LASA), and our very own UT Austin students (a subset, of course!). For 2017-2019, we continued along that track, before suspending for the pandemic in 2020. We are happy to be back in 2022!

Hour of Code Teacher Resources

Want your school to be involved?

Please send email to Alison N. Norman (ans@cs.utexas.edu) and let her know that you are interested.

Want to volunteer with us?

Volunteer opportunities are sent out over our outreach email list. Please send email to Alison N. Norman (ans@cs.utexas.edu) to get subscribed. Please include the email address at which you would like to receive messages, and please know that you will need to pass a background check with Austin Partners in Education.

Want to donate?

We are always raising funds to help offset the cost of transportation. We would love your help! Any amount is appreciated.