Math and computer literacy instruction are foundational to the Tujenge curriculum, giving students a strong technical foundation.
Taught from day one, math courses in the first year largely review past material, but in the context of the English language and English and American conventions. Math instruction early in the program paves the way for quantitative coursework later on.
Unlike much of the math instruction encountered by scholars at their secondary schools, the Tujenge curriculum is application-centric. Students are asked not to memorize formulae, but rather to understand the underlying concepts behind them, ultimately enabling scholars to flexibly call on their knowledge in new situations and new applications.
Meanwhile, the computer literacy curriculum is designed to respond to the varied experiences of our students: from those with a strong familiarity to personal computers, to those who have rarely if ever used one. Covering everything from the basics of the organization of the file systems and proper typing skills, to spreadsheet and presentation software, and finally to computer programming, students leave the program with a strong and practical skillset demanded of the modern university student.
Spring Term: Foundation
Upon entering Tujenge, scholars review the secondary school mathematics they learned in the Francophone system. This review consists of arithmetic, algebra, data analysis, functions and more. Importantly, the process for deriving answers is given priority over the mere computation of answers — scholars are encouraged to think deeply about why the methods taught work, and not merely to memorize the methods as such.
Simultaneously, scholars are introduced to sound computer practices, with an emphasis on strong typing skills. In addition, the curriculum teaches basic security protocols for internet use in the 21st century.
Summer Term: Explore
After initially continuing the curriculum from the first term, mathematics instruction in the summer eventually shifts focus into preparation for standardized tests and reinforcement of application-based understanding of secondary school-level mathematics. Periodically, however, challenging, technical topics from physics and mathematics are presented in order to encourage deep analysis, and to demonstrate how well ‘within-reach’ otherwise advanced content can be for the motivated university student.
Computer literacy instruction during the summer term continues apace, again emphasizing the strong typing skills needed for the modern computer-literate scholar.
Spring Term: Prepare
In their final term, scholars build on their mathematical foundation to take a crash-course in differential calculus. Typical of the Tujenge philosophy, this course again emphasizes deep, conceptual understanding and the processes of calculus, over the production of solutions.
In addition to calculus, students are briefly exposed to some topics in statistics and linear algebra during the final months of the spring term.
The spring term sees the computer literacy content morph into computer programming, with the majority of the term focusing on developing familiarity with concepts in computer programming — specifically with the programming language of python. However, emphasis is again given to basic problem-solving and thinking as a programmer: how to break a problem down into sub-problems, and how to assemble solutions algorithmically.
By the end of the term, scholars are able to think through their own algorithms and write the appropriate code. The final project (written in Octave) consists of simulating real biological systems, and draws on knowledge of biology, physics, and computer science, as well as core concepts in calculus and linear algebra.