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The Hot New Courses Your School Should be Adding to the Schedule

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 -- Scott Sterling

For better or worse, education is a business that often follows the latest trends. Those trends could be pedagogical, like flipped learning, or dictated by world events or economic realities.

When it’s the latter, some new courses start springing up on the schedules of forward-thinking schools and districts. Here are the latest courses being added to curricula across the country.

Software engineering

Not surprisingly, when politicians talk about the country falling behind in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, schools begin to offer STEM courses to help bridge that gap. One focus is on coding, especially because neither math nor science studies has the time or capacity for true software engineering instruction.

The introduction to engineering studies begins with computer science courses that cover scripting, languages, networking, and security. Students particularly interested in the field of software development then move on to specific languages, depending on what they want to code. For websites, it’s HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. For mobile apps, it’s either Objective-C for iOS or Java for Android.

Global competence

Foreign language budgets are falling behind the other subjects, but some schools and districts are refocusing on a broader idea of “global competence.” Not only should students be able to communicate in different languages (Mandarin and Arabic being the hot ones right now), but they should also understand the cultural differences and norms in order to be a contributing member of the new global economy.

The curricula for these courses tend to be a mix of language, history, economics, and etiquette of the target country or region. Because of budget situations, schools are often turning toward blended learning models for instruction.

Writing for the real world

Many adults of a certain generation took a course in middle or high school where the primary focus was typing, with practice coming in the form of dictating formatted letters. That model is obviously outdated (these days, students can type before they can write).

Modern courses on writing go by a few different names, including workplace writing and digital citizenship, but the focus is now on learning skills that help students communicate online. That could be anything from composing a tweet to brainstorming effective subject lines and status updates.

Data science or “big data”

Major organizations and businesses collect immense amounts of data—everything from customer information and buying habits to demographics. This data, based on its vastness, is called ”big data.”

These organizations need people who can extract the relevant pieces from these databases, interpret data, and disseminate their findings to other branches of the organization. Data technicians or engineers are part computer scientist and part statistician, which is why this field needs its own course.

At Edmentum, we work hard to provide schools and districts with the most in-demand courses. We’ve recently expanded our Career Technical Education library to include over 100 cutting-edge course options for students. You can also check out our Course Catalog for a complete listing of our course offerings.