The COVID-19 pandemic closed K–12 schools nationwide, and many districts have struggled to swiftly shift learning online. There are significant concerns that remote learning policies could worsen educational inequities for students in low-income communities, including limiting access to high-quality computer science learning. These concerns are acute in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), where computer science is a graduation requirement.

For several years, EDC has partnered with CPS—including working with the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) program to design online curriculum and professional development. In Navigating Remote Exploring Computer Science Teaching (NEXT), EDC, CPS, ECS, and The Learning Partnership are studying the effects of forced remote learning on ECS students’ outcomes.

Key Activities

The project is carrying out the following activities:

  • Design and facilitate online professional development to help teachers maintain the same strong focus on equitable and inclusive instruction as the face-to-face curriculum
  • Develop and deliver ongoing and responsive support for teachers—including online professional development and a professional learning community for ECS coaches
  • Evaluate the impact of online professional development and coaching on ECS implementation and student outcomes


  • Findings will help CPS identify strategies to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 school closures on thousands of CPS students, particularly those in low-income communities
  • Results will guide ECS sites nationwide in reaching and engaging diverse populations of students in high-quality computer science learning, despite COVID-19
  • The research will advance knowledge of effective online professional development

Learn More

National Science Foundation

The Learning Partnership, Chicago Public Schools, Exploring Computer Science (ECS)