South Seattle invites students, public to “Hour of Code” – free workshops on computers and the web
By Lindsay Peyton
It may be just 60 minutes, but it’s time well spent, according to South Seattle College’s computer science instructor Ravi Gandham.
He designed the “Hour of Code” series to make a major impact on students and community members, all in short and convenient sessions.
Once a week, student instructors lead the workshops. “People can drop in and out,” Gandham said. “There are no exams and no quizzes.”
It’s simply free form lessons about coding. Participants learn and practice computational concepts, techniques and technologies.
The Hour of Code workshops are slated for 1 p.m. each Wednesday of the college’s winter quarter in Olympic Hall Room 104. South Seattle is located at 6000 16th Ave SW in West Seattle.
Everyone is welcome, whether they attend South Seattle or not. “We’re willing to help out as much as we can,” Gandham said. “It’s a safe environment for like-minded people with an interest in computers.”
Gandham has been an instructor at the college for the past five years. About four years ago, he had the idea for the Hour of Code sessions.
“We felt there was a need for a time when students could come on their own and get the help of other students,” he said. “I wanted to create a place where they could practice things and play with things.”
By allowing his students to lead the course, Gandham also is providing an opportunity to experience teaching. He peeks in on the classes and sometimes answers questions, but he allows his students to tailor the sessions the way they want.
Gandham said students in all courses can benefit from understanding how to build a web site and learning more about computers. “If you’re on campus and not doing anything, just drop in,” he said. “There’s no cost.”
He particularly hopes to draw underrepresented minorities to the course, especially women and immigrants on campus. He believes that by learning coding they can have a leg up in their careers.
“This is a way to nurture them, take their hands, lead them and make a huge difference in their lives,” he said. “I want each and everyone of them to succeed.”
Tyler Dillon is serving as the student organizer of the sessions for this quarter. He attended a past series of workshops and found the experience to be a game-changer.
“I had no idea how the Internet worked,” Dillon said. “It was just this magical world that existed. The course gave me insight into how the web works.”
Now, he’s hoping to transfer to the University of Washington and pursue a career in software engineering. “I know computer science is definitely what I want to do,” he said.
Gandham considers Dillon a top-notch instructor for the course. “My hope is that people like Tyler who lead the sessions will realize that computation is great, but teaching computer science is even more rewarding,” he said. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”
For more information about South Seattle College, visit www.southseattle.edu.