October 19, 2016

Upgraded interactive game teaches high school students to code, offers scholarship

Can you hack it?

That’s the question the LSU College of Engineering is posing to high school students nationwide with the launch of the upgraded “Code IT Up Challenge.” The popular capture the flag-style interactive coding game launched Wednesday, and registered players will have until Nov. 30 to compete for a cash prize.

The challenge—created by a group of alumni as a way to cultivate interest in computer science as a major—invites players to use hints to code their way through various levels to capture an encrypted flag. The flag will then give them a code for a password that unlocks the next level. As players accomplish each level, they will earn badges they can share on social media. They can keep track of their progress, as well as that of other players, on the game’s leaderboard.

While the challenge serves a fun gaming purpose, it also serves an educational purpose. Players have the opportunity to interact with Git, an open source system. The game also teaches filesystem and dotfiles functions. Players with skills ranging from computer novice to seasoned hacker can enjoy the game and learn something along the way. 

In the spring, 182 students from 22 states took on the first Code IT Up Challenge. Players agreed the game was an interesting way to capture attention and teach them new coding skills.

“The best thing about taking part in the Code IT Up Challenge was using the skills I had learned from my computer science classes and applying them to an interesting and unique challenge that tested my skills,” said Joshua Duke, one of last year’s winners.

The College of Engineering predicts an even bigger competition this year. Players can expect exciting challenges with the addition of new levels, and the top three players will win a one-time scholarship to study computer science at LSU.

 

About the LSU Division of Computer Science and Engineering

The Division of Computer Science and Engineering resides in the School of Electrical and Computer Science in the College of Engineering. The Division is actively involved in research encompassing theoretical foundations, systems and architecture, databases and data analytics, software, computational science and digital media. In 2013, the LSU College of Engineering, Louisiana Economic Development and IBM partnered to increase interest in computer science throughout the state by expanding recruiting, course offerings, and internship and job opportunities. 

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 For more information, visit www.codeitup.lsu.edu/challenge, or contact Caroline Byrne at cbyrne4@lsu.edu or (225) 578-4630.



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