Is hubble space telescope a computing innovation?

One of my students chose this for his 4.4 project and I just don’t think its a computing innovation but I’m not sur4 so I don’t know what to do.

Hi @yanet.cabrera,

One of the most common questions from students (and teachers) about the Explore PT is “Is x a computing innovation?” or “Is x a good topic for the Explore PT?”

According to the Course and Exam Description (p41), “A computing innovation is an innovation that includes a computer or program code as an integral part of its function”.

Generally, it makes for a good topic if it fits the definition above and all the written response questions can be answered thoroughly by the student.

I hesitate to give the student a straightforward response because I believe what’s a good/bad topic for a student depends a lot on the student’s understanding and interest in that topic. What might be a great topic for one student might be very difficult for another. Thus I fall back to pointing them to the written response questions and have them decide for themselves whether they’ll be able to answer those questions well.

There’s often a fear that somehow one can answer the questions but still get 0 points on some rubric rows, especially now that the rubric has some explicit language stating that the entry will get 0 points if the innovation is not actually a computing innovation. I think this is pretty rare to qualify as a good response but lose the point for not qualifying as a computing innovation - it’s more likely that the student misinterpreted the question and the response actually doesn’t qualify OR there were signs of the topic not being a computing innovation due to the inability to have proper answers for some of the other questions (especially regarding data).

The only examples I’ve seen and remember in terms of the topic failing the “computing innovation” requirement are protocols (ex: TCP/IP) or devices that transmit power/information without computing/manipulating it (ex: fiber optics, wireless charging). But I feel it would have been apparent those were poor topics because they either don’t use a computer as part of their main functionality and/or it’s not clear how data is in/outputted/transformed.


When a student asks me if something is a good topic for the Explore PT, I ask them if they can these questions:

  1. Does it contain a computer or software?
  2. Can you identify a beneficial and harmful effect to society, economy or culture?
  3. What data does it create, modify or use?
  4. Is there a data security, privacy or storage concern?

I don’t pass judgement on their answers but I tell them if they can’t answer all those questions then they need to pick a different topic.