CENG Adapting to a Pandemic through Virtual Classes

May 7, 2020

We all know that we are living in strange times, ones where we have to stay in our houses and wear masks and sanitize groceries. Everything seems like it's changed. CENG, also known as Computer Engineers of the Next Generation, certainly has. But more importantly, it has adapted to our current circumstances. When schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic we knew maintaining our teaching standards would be a challenge, but our students and teachers rose to the occasion.

Although it was certainly disappointing knowing we couldn't continue classes in person, teachers used the situation as an opportunity to learn about and provide online classes. To guarantee a smooth transition, we trained our volunteers, students and parents to use the video-conferencing platform Zoom. We've currently run four online coding classes in Intermediate Scratch, Intermediate JavaScript and Python. Utilizing Zoom's breakout rooms and screen sharing, we've been able to coach small groups of students with similar abilities and monitor their progress. Online classes are certainly a different environment than our onsite classes, but we're confident we've been able to provide a strong curriculum during this difficult time, when it's so important for kids to continue learning.

"Given that this is his last year in elementary school, the Python classes would have been particularly painful to lose in the current pandemic," sixth-grade student Maarten's mother Lisa Martinez said. "We're impressed by the resolve of the student-teachers to continue on Zoom, undaunted by the present circumstances."

We are proud of and thankful for all of our students, teachers and parents who have helped us continue our reach to underrepresented minorities during a worldwide emergency. Over the summer, we plan to offer more online coding classes and expand our reach locally and internationally by partnering with other nonprofit organizations. We hope to keep spreading a love and interest for computer science in all schools, whatever situation students, or the world, may be in.

CENG is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to inspire underrepresented students to explore and develop an interest in Computer Science. For more information on our programs, please check out our website at cengclass.org.