CMU-Q’s MindCraft Program Introduces Computer Science to Over 11,000 Students in Qatar

Doha: The MindCraft program at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), a partner university of the Qatar Foundation, has introduced computing to more than 11,000 students in Qatar since workshops began in 2016.

MindCraft workshops introduce middle and high school students to the basic concepts of programming and computational thinking.

Khaled Harras, head of IT at CMU-Q, launched the program in 2016. “Our goal has always been to educate students, give them some basic IT skills and show them that IT is a wide area where they can spread their wings,” Harras said. “We have had students tell us that they are now studying computer science at university. You have changed our lives.

MindCraft started in 2016 in collaboration with Boeing as in-person workshops for high school students. In 2018, the Mindcraft team had the opportunity to scale Mindcraft when CMU-Q partnered with the Jassim and Hamad Bin Jassim Charitable Foundation to create the Hamad bin Jassim Center for K-12 Computer Science Education.

The center’s mission is to promote computer education to school-aged children across Qatar, and Mindcraft now reaches thousands of students every year. Harras is co-director of the HBJ Center.

Over the years, Harras and Nour Tabet, Computer Awareness Coordinator at CMU-Q, have adapted MindCraft for different audiences and modalities.

Ryan H. Bowman