YOung man displaying a 3rd place certificate for the AP Bowl at GT Computing

AP Bowl Goes Virtual, May Expand to Reach More Students

Since 2006, the College of Computing has been helping area high school students prepare to take the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science A exam. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, this year is no exception.

More than 100 Atlanta-area students participated in the virtual 2020 AP Bowl on April 19, which uses a mock exam and other materials to help ensure students pass the actual AP CS A exam. Students that pass the test earn college credits.

“We are contacting the teachers of the students that participated in the AP Bowl and providing them with their students’ scores. They will give us the actual AP exam scores when they are available. The students with the highest scores will be rewarded,” said Sherri Ann Clausnitzer, event co-coordinator.

The event is organized and managed each year by the College’s Office of Outreach, Enrollment, and Community (OEC). As many as 325 students have participated in recent years, but Clausnitzer says registration for this year’s event was closed early because of the pandemic.

“The high school students who participated were all very excited and grateful that the AP Bowl was not canceled. The level of engagement with the students was much higher than we hoped it would be,” Clausnitzer said.

To facilitate the virtual event, Clausnitzer and co-coordinator Ryan Mendes, both of whom are OEC team members, used the online meeting platform Bluejeans. They also used Canvas, a course management platform.

"This was the first time we delivered AP Bowl online so we did a lot of preparation on our end, learning the tools on the go. It was a big-time commitment, but ultimately the platforms worked great for our use case and the work paid off with how smoothly everything went on test day,” Mendes said.

Despite a few issues, the organizers say that they found the online AP Bowl to be as gratifying as doing the exam in-person and the virtual format offered a lot of freedom and flexibility.

“We were able to save thousands of dollars by not having to cater the event. We did not have to book any rooms or do any set-ups. We did not have to give any tours or create any PowerPoint presentations or speeches. And we did not have to grade all of the AP Bowl exams since Canvas is equipped with an awesome grading system,” said Clausnitzer.

Going forward, the team says they will continue with the online version of the event and plan to host AP Bowls more than once during the year. They also would like to include prep for the AP CS Principles exam that was introduced a few years ago.

"An on-campus AP Bowl is great but is naturally limited to those who can make the trip to Tech. Taking the AP Bowl online allows us the opportunity to reach more students easily, and now we can consider delivering a practice exam for both CS A and CS P,” said Mendes.

“Also, instead of just aiming for schools in metro Atlanta, we can reach out to schools across Georgia and maybe even across the nation to participate in the AP Bowl.”