Yale Faculty Approves CS50 Venture; Harvard Mum

UPDATED: November 9, 2014, at 10:02 p.m.

Yale faculty voted “overwhelmingly” Thursday to bring Harvard’s most popular undergraduate course, Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science I,” to New Haven in the fall of 2015, according to Yale Computer Science Department Chair Joan Feigenbaum ’81.

The course proposal was already approved on Oct. 16 by Yale’s Course of Study Committee for a three-year trial period, but the vote at the monthly faculty meeting officially completes the approval process on Yale’s end.

“There was a lively discussion of the need to expand the instructional-support role of undergraduates but no real opposition,” Feigenbaum wrote in an email, explaining that the course would need to develop its own on-the ground instructional staff, who would hold office hours and sections.

Now, according to  Feigenbaum, Harvard faculty must approve of the “joint Harvard-Yale CS50” in order to move forward with its implementation.


“I'm very optimistic that Harvard will approve the joint course as well,” Feigenbaum wrote in an email Thursday.


Harvard CS50 Professor David J. Malan ’99 did not respond to request for comment on the development, but said through a spokesperson earlier this week that he has considered offering  CS50 jointly at both Harvard and Yale and "expect[s] [to] know more by December."

Malan emailed Feigenbaum over the summer proposing an idea for a “joint Harvard-Yale CS50,” course, which Feigenbaum said would consist of Malan’s lectures streamed to Yale and would be led by an on-the-ground instructor and Yale support staff.

Prior to the faculty’s vote, Yale had already tapped a professor, Brian Scassellati, to teach the course in New Haven, according to Feigenbaum.

—Check for updates.

—Staff writer Meg P. Bernhard can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Meg_Bernhard.


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