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With help from Apple, VSU will offer coding as a general education class
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With help from Apple, VSU will offer coding as a general education class

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With help from tech-giant Apple, Virginia State University will begin offering coding and application design classes for non-computing majors as part of their general education, the university announced this week.

Apple has announced a $30 million commitment to help 11 historically Black colleges and universities strengthen educational offerings in coding. VSU will receive computers, training and access to software, an Apple spokesperson said.

Forty-five colleges, primarily HBCUs from the Southeast, have already partnered with Apple for its HBCU C2 initiative. Hampton University and Norfolk State University are part of the program, named C2 for “coding” and “creativity.”

Apple already committed $100 million toward its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, an effort to support students, innovators and advocacy organizations looking to achieve “a more just world,” the company said in a statement.

Using Apple hardware, universities teach coding and the Swift programming language through the tech company’s online curricula “Everyone Can Code” and “Everyone Can Create.”

VSU will start implementing the program next semester, said Dawit Haile, VSU’s dean of the College of Engineering and Technology. The university intends to begin offering workshops, reaching out to companies and students and developing a curriculum.

It will offer new classes as soon as possible, but Haile couldn’t pinpoint a start date.

“The development of Gen Ed coding and app development courses will provide opportunities for non-majors to acquire essential digital literacies and technical skills,” Haile said.

VSU also will partner with a local community organization or nonprofit to design extracurricular coding programs, like a coding camp or club for the region at large.

“This past year has shed light on the importance of technology in our ever-advancing global society,” Haile said. “This new initiative and partnership with Apple provides our students an opportunity to further be a part of the revolutionary world of technology.”

ekolenich@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6109

Twitter: @EricKolenich

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Eric Kolenich writes about higher education for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He joined the newspaper in 2009 and spent a decade as a reporter in the Sports section. (804) 649-6109

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