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National Computer Science School Challenge 2012
The National Computer Science School (NCSS), the School of IT at the University of Sydney invite teachers and their students to participate in the NCSS Challenge 2012.
No programming experience is required.
In 2011, over 2,200 students and teachers from 237 schools from across Australia participated in the NCSS Challenge. Unlike other computer programming competitions the NCSS Challenge does not assume any existing programming experience. Instead students develop their programming skills in a competitive yet supportive environment during the event. The NCSS Challenge is aimed at computing studies students, but any student with an interest in IT, science, engineering or mathematics is strongly encouraged to participate.
The NCSS Challenge runs for 5 weeks starting Monday August 6th 2012. Teachers and students can register on the website challenge.ncss.edu.au. Each week, the competition publish a short (5-6 page) set of course notes designed for high school students and a set of problems to be solved using the material from the notes. The online automated marking system analyses the submitted solutions and provides students and their teachers with immediate feedback about how they are progressing. The system gives hints for incorrect solutions and the competition has a forum where students can get assistance from the Challenge Tutors and other students.
There are three Challenge streams:
Beginners: is designed for students with no prior experience to programming, and includes questions that cover basic concepts. This is a new course pitched at a more introductory level than in previous years.
Intermediate: is designed for students who have either completed the Beginners stream in previous years, or have some other prior experience in programming. This is similar to the Beginners stream in previous years.
Advanced: an advanced stream for experienced Python programmers or students who completed the Intermediate stream previously. Students who are new to the Challenge should not take this as their first course. For more information about the different streams and to view sample problems, download our brochure 'Guide to the NCSS Challenge 2012' from challenge.ncss.edu.au.
The cost of registration for each stream is $20 (which includes GST). Registration covers the running costs, especially paying the tutors who answer questions on the forums and encourage those who are finding the Challenge difficult. Students who submit solutions each week will receive a certificate of participation. Merit Certificates will be sent to strong students and the top students will also appear on the Challenge leader board each week.
It is recommended that students enrol in one stream per year. Students who choose to participate in multiple streams will have to pay the registration cost for each stream they enrol in. Please note there are no refunds.
All students participating in the Challenge have direct access to lecturers from the School of Information Technologies at the University of Sydney. The students who have participated in the 2011 Challenge found it a rewarding and enjoyable educational experience. For teachers it is an opportunity to get students excited about computing and bolster enrolment in senior computing classes. A number of teachers from around Australia use the Challenge as an in class activity for the full five weeks.
Queries about the NCSS Challenge can be directed to Nicky Ringland on (02) 9036 9712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Curran, Director, National Computer Science School