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Charleston Southern University > CSU News > Learning to code via Bible stories

Learning to code via Bible stories: a look into the computer science program

University Relations // 12.16.17

First year computer science students were given an assignment to complete by the end of the semester. Professor Fred Worthy instructed the various teams to simulate Bible stories in a computer program. The students were allowed to choose their subject. Some chose Old Testament stories such as the one from the book of Daniel regarding the three men protected by God in the fiery furnace. Another chose to depict the walls of Jericho falling down after Joshua’s army marched around the walled city seven times.

In each story, every motion by a character required the student to write code for each body part that moved. Not a single student in the class knew how to make that happen when entering this class. Most of the students in this introductory class were there primarily out of curiosity and a desire to learn something new.

Dr. Valerie Sessions, chair of the computer science department, congratulated the students after their presentations and encouraged them to pursue additional challenges in this field which is providing jobs for more and more graduates every day. She also invited the first year students to stop by the presentations by graduating seniors just to see how much farther they can expand their abilities if they decide to pursue a degree in CSU’s constantly growing curriculum.

Computer Science Presentations

Senior Presentations

The presentations made by two senior computer science students dealt with efforts to make technology help us to simplify, not complicate, how we interact with mobile devices and information.

In a presentation before fellow students and professors, Matt McCracken demonstrated how he had created an App to unlock text messages.  McCracken demonstrated different techniques he developed that allowed Apple devices to unlock a text message. During the demonstration, the student walked around the class with his own cell phone and allowed those in attendance to experience the functionality he had built into his improved system.

The second presentation featured Joshua Dickard and his desire to create better data visualization for understanding election centric information. Dickard works for the Charleston County Election Commission, so this task was personal and professional. The student explained how current files are impossible to read, though there’s a heavy reliance on the data. His mission was to create simple charts that could be easily interpreted by those seeking the information. Dickard used graphs and core charts that visually deciphered various demographics and critical information that can be used in future elections.

Sessions explained that each senior must complete such a project and present the findings before graduating.