Posts tagged ‘SIGCSE’

Interview with Friday SIGCSE 2014 Keynoter: Hadi Partovi

Hadi Partovi will be delivering the keynote today at SIGCSE 2014.  The interview they just had with him last month on ACM’s website has some nice bits:

As a tech industry veteran and visionary, what would you say to young people who may not realize that two-thirds of the jobs in software engineering are outside the technology sector?

I would say that the reason to study software isn’t because you want to get a job in technology. School teaches you how to dissect a frog, or how electricity works, even if you want to become a journalist or a lawyer. In the 21st century, it’s equally important, or more important even, to know how to “dissect an app” or learn how the Internet works, even if you want to become a doctor, a chemist, or the President of the United States. Maybe you’ll fall in love with it and decide to get a job in software, and if you do, you’ll be in one of the most creative, highest-paying careers in the world. Most students who study computer science in high school will go on to careers outside of computing — but they will still benefit from it. This is a fundamental, foundational science for the 21st century.

via February 6, 2014: People of ACM: Hadi Partovi — Association for Computing Machinery.

March 7, 2014 at 1:33 am 1 comment

SIGCSE Preview: Project Rise Up 4 CS: Increasing the Number of Black Students who Pass AP CS A — by paying them

I’m guessing that Barbara’s paper on Friday 1:45-3 (in Hanover FG – whole program here) is going to be controversial.  She’s working on a problem we’ve had in GaComputes for years.  Besides Betsy DiSalvo’s work on Glitch, we’ve made little progress in increasing numbers of Black students taking AP CS A and even less progress in getting more of them to pass the test.

She’s had significant progress this last year using an approach that NMSI used successfully in Texas and elsewhere.  She’s offering $100 to Black students who attend extra sessions to help them pass the exam and who do pass the exam.  She’s expanding the program now with a Google RISE grant.  Her approach is informed by Betsy’s work – it’s about going beyond interests to values and giving students help in navigating past their motivations to not-learn.  She does have aspects of the project in place to counteract the disincentives of cash payments for academic achievement. In the final interviews, students didn’t talk about the money.  It may be that the money wasn’t an incentive as much as a face-saving strategy.  (Barb’s preview talk was also recorded as part of a GVU Brown Bag.)

Project Rise Up 4 CS: Increasing the Number of Black Students who Pass Advanced Placement CS A

This paper describes Project Rise Up 4 CS, an attempt to increase the number of Black students in Georgia that pass the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science (CS) A exam. In 2012 Black students had the lowest pass rates on the AP CS A exam both in Georgia and nationally. Project Rise Up 4 CS provided Black students with role models, hands-on learning, competitions, a financial incentive, and webinars on AP CS A content. The first cohort started in January of 2013 and finished in May 2013. Of the 27 students who enrolled in the first cohort, 14 met all of the completion requirements, and 9 (69%) of the 13 who took the exam passed. For comparison, in 2012 only 22 (16%) of 137 Black students passed the exam in Georgia. In 2013, 28 (22%) of 129 Black students passed the exam in Georgia. This was the highest number of Black students to pass the AP CS A exam ever in Georgia and a 27% increase from 2012. In addition, students who met the completion requirements for Project Rise Up 4 CS exhibited statistically significant changes in attitudes towards computing and also demonstrated significant learning gains. This paper discusses the motivation for the project, provides project details, presents the evaluation results, and future plans.

March 5, 2014 at 1:28 am 3 comments

SIGCSE Preview: Measuring Demographics and Performance in Computer Science Education at a Nationwide Scale Using AP CS Data

Barbara and I are speaking Thursday 3:45-5 (with Neil Brown on his Blackbox work) in Hanover DE on our AP CS analysis paper (also previewed at a GVU Brown Bag). The full paper is available here:  This is a different story than the AP CS 2013 analysis that Barbara has been getting such press for.  This is a bit deeper analysis on the 2006-2012 results.

Here are a couple of the figures that I think are interesting.  What’s fitting into these histograms are states, and it’s the same number of bins in each histogram, so that one can compare across.

Fitting this story into the six page SIGCSE format was really tough.  I wanted to make the figures bigger, and I wanted to tell more stories about the regressions we explored.  I focused on the path from state wealth to exam-takers because I hadn’t seen that story in CS Ed previously (though everyone would predict that it was there), but there’s a lot more to tell about these data.

Figure 1: Histograms describing (a) the number of schools passing the audit over the population (measured in 10K), (b) number of exam-takers over the population, and (c) percentage of exam-takers who passed. 


Figure 2: Histograms describing (d) the percent of female exam-takers, (e) the number of Black exam-takers, and (f) the number of Hispanic exam-takers. 


Measuring Demographics and Performance in Computer Science Education at a Nationwide Scale Using AP CS Data

Abstract: Before we can reform or improve computing education, we need to know the current state. Data on computing education are difficult to come by, since it’s not tracked in US public education systems. Most of our data are survey-based or interview-based, or are limited to a region. By using a large and nationwide quantitative data source, we can gain new insights into who is participating in computing education, where the greatest need is, and what factors explain variance between states. We used data from the Advanced Placement Computer Science A (AP CS A) exam to get a detailed view of demographics of who is taking the exam across the United States and in each state, and how they are performing on the exam. We use economic and census data to develop a more detailed view of one slice (at the end of secondary school and before university) of computer science education nationwide. We find that minority group involvement is low in AP CS A, but the variance between states in terms of exam-takers is driven by minority group involvement. We find that wealth in a state has a significant impact on exam-taking.


March 4, 2014 at 1:23 am 3 comments

SIGCSE Preview: A BOF on State-Level Computing Education Policy Change

Please do consider coming to the Birds of a Feather session (#20) this Thursday (see SIGCSE 2014 Program) from 6:10-7:00 where Rick Adrion (my ECEP friend and co-PI) will be hosting a discussion on state-level change to education policy in support of computing education.  Here’s what we have in mind:


6:10-6:40 Choose Group that is most important to your state (or you). Complete short questionnaire and hand to Group Leader.


- Making CS Count

- Getting Computing into K12: curricula, standards, promoting

- K12 Teacher Certification/Licensure

- Teacher Professional Development

- Creating/Expanding State-Based Alliances for CS Ed Reform

Groups will identify 3-4 Action Items and/or Best Practices (30 minutes)

6:40-6:55 Report Out (5 minutes each)

State-Level Advocacy for Computing Education Reform

While it is exciting to see an increasing number of national efforts to reform computing education, such as those led by CSTA, Computing in the Core, ACM, NCWIT, and many others, real change at the state, district and school level requires the active participation of individuals and local organizations to engage policy makers, superintendents and communities. The U.S. education system is highly distributed, with critical decisions pushed more to the community level and less at the national (or even state) level – with large differences between neighboring states. The system is organized along pathways of elementary schools, middle and high schools, community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities. A reform process for improving computing education pathways will take place at multiple levels and state by state. This birds-of-a-feather session will bring together emerging leaders at the state level with representatives from national initiatives to share best practices for implementing change.

March 3, 2014 at 1:12 am Leave a comment

SIGCSE 2014 Preview: How Khan Academy gamifies CS

Briana Morrison and Betsy DiSalvo use theory about gaming and media to analyze how Khan Academy “gamifies” the study of computer science.  What do they get right?  What are they missing?  Thursday from 10:45-12 in Room Regency VI.

Gamification is the buzzword for adding gaming elements such as points or badges to learning experiences to make them more engaging and to increase motivation. In this paper we explore how Khan Academy has incorporated gaming elements into its CS learning platform. By mapping the literature on motivational processes to popular games we critically analyze how successful Khan Academy is at gamifying their site.

via SIGCSE2014 – OpenConf Peer Review & Conference Management System.

March 2, 2014 at 1:21 am 1 comment

SIGCSE 2014 Needs More Student Volunteers

Please pass on to students you know who might want to hang out at the world’s largest conference focused on CS education:

Please please please.. have your students sign up to volunteer for SIGCSE
2014 at:

It’s fun, networking, service, free food, karma, and mitvah all rolled up
into one glorious package!

Details on being a student volunteer are available at the above site. If
you have any questions, contact us at


Pam Cutter, Sara Melnick, and Steve Wolfman
SIGCSE 2014 Student Volunteer Co-Coordinators

February 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

Call for Papers for ICER 2014

Quintin Cutts, Beth Simon and Brian Dorn, chairs for this year’s ACM International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2014, invite you to submit a research paper or lightning talk.  The Conference, the 10th in the series, will be held in Glasgow, Scotland on August 11-13th.Submission Deadlines:
– April 14, 2014 — Research paper submissions (8 pages) with a one week re-submission allowance.
– June 16, 2014 — Lightning talk abstract submissions.Just prior to the Conference, there will be a Doctoral Consortium (DC), with support to attend available from SIGCSE; and just afterwards, there’ll be a Critical Research Review (CRR).  Both activities will enable researchers to gain high-quality critical feedback on their research plans, providing an excellent springboard for a successful and productive research year in 2014/15.

Why submit to/attend ICER 2014?

- Authors have in the past explicitly noted how the quality of ICER reviews significantly improved their work.
- Our single-track, discussion-oriented, paper sessions result in significant additional feedback being provided on every paper.
- The format enables you to meet new researchers and initiate valuable new research activities.
- If you are new to empirical computer science education research, you will be immersed in a practising community for three days.
- Either before or after the conference, you have an opportunity to significantly enhance your research agenda, via the DC or the CRR.
- You can include a holiday in Scotland, including the Edinburgh Festival, the Commonwealth Games (in Glasgow!),
and more historic and pre-historic castles, lochs, glens, islands and mountains than you’ve ever dreamed of…

Full details, including the full CFP, available at

We’re looking forward to receiving your papers,

best regards,

Quintin, Beth and Brian.

Brian Dorn, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Union Pacific Community Chair of Computer Science Education
University of Nebraska at Omaha |

January 30, 2014 at 1:40 pm 2 comments

Media coverage of Barbara Ericson’s AP CS 2013 Analysis

Barb does her analysis of AP CS data every year, but for some reason, her 2013 analysis has really taken off with the media.  I’m going to use this post to track the ones I’ve found.

If you find others, please send them my way and I’ll update here.  If anyone’s interested, our more SIGCSE 2014 paper with more detailed analysis (e.g., controlling for state population, doing a six year historical view of six states, and using regression analysis to explore the relationship of wealth to exam-taking) can be found here:

January 13, 2014 at 9:30 am 25 comments

Virtual Faculty Communities of Practice to improve instructional practices

Posted to the SIGCSE-Members list — I really like this idea! Our work on DCCE showed that communities of teachers was an effective way of improving teacher’s sense of belonging and desire to improve.  Will it work for faculty?  ASEE is the organization to try!

Greetings SIGCSE,

This is a great opportunity for CS faculty to work with like-minded faculty from across the country to explore and share support for introducing new instructional practices into your classroom.  Please consider this for yourself and pass it on to your colleagues.

Engineering education research has shown that many research-based instructional approaches improve student learning but these have not diffused widely. This is because (1) faculty members find it difficult to acquire the required knowledge and skills by themselves and (2) sustaining the on-going implementation efforts without continued encouragement and support is challenging. This project will explore ways to overcome both obstacles through virtual communities.

ASEE is organizing several web-based faculty communities that will work to develop the group’s understanding of research-based instructional approaches and then support individual members as they implement self-selected new approaches in their classes. We expect participants to be open to this technology-based approach and see themselves as innovators in a new approach to professional development and continuous improvement.
The material below and the project website ( provide more information about these communities and the application process. Questions should be addressed to Rocio Chavela at
If you are interested in learning about effective teaching approaches and working with experienced mentors and collaborating colleagues as you begin using these in your classroom, you are encouraged to apply to this program. If you know of others that may be interested, please share this message with them.
Please consider applying for this program and encouraging potentially interested colleagues to apply. Applications are due by Friday, September 13, 2013.
Faculty groups, which will effectively become virtual communities of practice (VCP) with 20 to 30 members, will meet weekly at a scheduled time using virtual meeting software during the second half of the Fall 2013 Semester and during the entire Spring 2014 Semester. Each group will be led by two individuals that have implemented research-based approaches for improving student learning, have acquired a reputation for innovation and leadership in their course area, and have completed a series of training sessions to prepare them to lead the virtual communities. Since participants will be expected to begin utilizing some of the new approaches with the help and encouragement of the virtual group, they should be committed to teaching a course in the targeted area during the Spring 2014 Semester.
VCP Topics and Meeting Times
This year’s efforts are focusing on required engineering science and design courses that are typically taught in the second and third year in each of the areas listed below.
Computer science
Co-leaders are Scott Grissom and Joe Tront
Meeting time is Tuesday at 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EST starting October 29, 2013 and running until December 17, 2013
Application Process
Interested individuals should complete the on-line application at The application form asks individuals to describe their experience with relevant engineering science courses, to indicate their involvement in education research and development activities, to summarize any classroom experiences where they have tried something different in their classes, and to discuss their reasons for wanting to participate in the VCP.
The applicant’s Department Head or Dean needs to complete an on-line recommendation form at to indicate plans for having the applicant teach the selected courses in the Spring 2014 Semester and to briefly discuss why participating in the VCP will be important to the applicant.
Since demonstrating that the VCP approach will benefit relatively inexperienced faculty, applicants do not need a substantial record of involvement in education research and development. For this reason, the applicant’s and the Department Head’s or Dean’s statements about the reasons for participating will be particularly important in selecting participants.
Application Deadline
Applications are due by Friday, September 13, 2013. The project team will review all applications and select a set of participants that are diverse in their experience, institutional setting, gender, and ethnicity.
Scott Grissom
School of Computing & Info Systems
Grand Valley State University

August 20, 2013 at 1:28 am 2 comments

The ACM ‘paywall,’ computing education research, and open access

I reference research papers regularly in this blog, often in the ACM Digital Library. I’ve been receiving more complaints lately when I reference papers “behind a paywall.” After I linked to the article that Leo Porter, Beth Simon, Charlie McDowell, and I wrote about successful practices in CS1, someone tweeted that we were “whores” by allowing our paper to be sold by ACM. As Greg Wilson said to me, the support for open access in our community is “vehement.” Now, there is a petition demanding that the ACM open up the Digital Library, free of charge.

I’m a computing education researcher in the ACM SIGCSE community. “Open access” is much more complicated in my community. The arguments for opening access are more subtle in under-funded and even non-funded education community.  The British Academy has just released a set of papers (July 2013) on the challenges of fitting social science and humanities research into open access models.  They argue that we need a ‘mixed economy’ because there are different expectations and funding models for research in different disciplines.  Open access is different for computing education research than other areas of computer science because it is a social science.

Why Education is more complicated for Open Access

The case for open access is made in the first sentence of the petition:

Computer science research is largely funded by the public, for the public good.

There are two cases to consider: the research that is funded by the public, and the research that is not. Let’s start with the research that is not funded publicly, because that’s a big part of what makes education unusual.

Many (maybe most) of the papers published at the SIGCSE Symposium and the ICER Conference are not supported by public funds. Go through the SIGCSE papers and note which reference public funding and which don’t — it’s a pretty high percentage that don’t. ICER was created explicitly because there were groups of faculty, without public funding, who were collaborating and doing experiments in their classes and then pooling the data. They needed someplace to publish. Those faculty were paid to teach, and they had heavy teaching loads. They did the research on their own time, because they valued doing it. I don’t see how the public can lay claim to their work.

Some of the work at SIGCSE is publicly funded, but maybe at lower levels compared to funding from Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, or Department of Energy. My research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). How much we are funded is limited by NSF rules and by institute rules. For example, graduate student research assistants can only be paid for up to 20 hours of work (and only 15 before passing qualifying examinations, in my school). Few PhD students complete his or her research work in only 20 hours a week. Let’s say it’s 60 hours per week. Are we really arguing that all of that student’s work is “funded by the public” when that is true for only 1/3 of the hours? Should the public be able to lay claim to all of the student’s work because of those 20 hours per week? If anyone does work outside of what they’re paid for, isn’t that their work?

The issues are actually much the same for faculty, though we get paid much better. Faculty at my school are funded for 9 months by the state of Georgia, and I do federal NSF-funded work for an additional two months per year.  For the last two years of “Georgia Computes!” I could only charge two weeks (specifically, 80 hours) of my time to that project per year. ECEP is a five year project on which I can only charge 160 hours per year. I spend 150 hours per year just on the management meetings for ECEP. I’ve already spent more than 40 hours on the road, doing the work of ECEP in Maryland, South Carolina, and at the CSTA Conference. All of that is before the work of evaluating data and writing papers. I am pretty sure that the state of Georgia does not see itself funding my work with these other states. Simply put: The federal government does not fund everything I do. If they don’t fund everything I do, I don’t believe that they can lay claim to it.

When I shared this story with my colleague, Beki Grinter, she pointed out that the case is similarly murky for corporate-funded work. Microsoft paid for the robotics CS1 work here at Georgia Tech and Bryn Mawr. Can the public lay claim to that work, too? That work is in the ACM Digital Library. By what right is that work made freely available?

All authors want their work to be distributed widely, to have impact. I usually provide copies of my papers when asked, and I use the ACM DL Authorizer service to provide free access to my papers. It’s up to other authors to decide if they are willing to do the same. Yes, opening up the DL would allow the papers to be distributed even more widely. But is that sustainable? What about the funds that are lost? I am willing to forego that breadth of access in favor of the good of closed access. That’s the deal that all the ACM authors made when they assign ACM copyright. The open access movement aims to change the agreement, after the fact.

Education research and the developed world

The petition I mentioned earlier focuses on the public funding for the public good. Another argument for open access that I’ve heard (and thanks to my college, Ellen Zegura, for helping me understand this) is to serve people the developing world — people who don’t have access to the resources of the developed world, and for whom ACM Digital Library access is prohibitively expensive.

Education research is different than most CS research because it’s a social science.  Are the papers published in the SIGCSE Symposium and the ICER conference directly useful to the developing world?

“Transferring education from the United States to Africa wouldn’t work,” argued Bakary Diallo, rector of African Virtual University. “Because we have our own realities,” he added, “our own context and culture.”

  • Writing humanities and social science research is a dialogue with an audience (as described in this piece in The Guardian).  It’s not merely a process of reporting findings.  If you are writing for a developed world audience, you are explicitly not speaking to a developing world audience.  If you want to write for a developing world audience, you should learn to write for that audience.

I have not worked in the developing world, so I can’t speak to the issues of bridging the gap between the developing and developed worlds.  But most education researchers have faced these issues of differing cultures and audiences.  I have talked about Media Computation in several countries.  When the places I visited were like my culture and audience, it worked pretty well — MediaComp is being adopted successfully in Australia, for example.  When the places I visited were not like my culture, I realized that I was solving completely the wrong problems for them and what I was saying was useless.  When I spoke to teachers in China and Mexico and Qatar, I realized that I needed to listen before I could say anything worthwhile to them.

The problem of transferring education research isn’t just a problem of the gap between the developed and developing world.  In ECEP, we are realizing that even curricula, outreach programs, and policy approaches don’t transfer between states — even neighboring states!  I work in Georgia, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and California now.  The values and concerns are very different even between Georgia and South Carolina, and we’re really struggling to figure out what our summer camp model means in Massachusetts and California.

There’s a perspective that says that this view is “patronizing,” and continuing an “us/them” perspective. I believe in tailoring for different audiences, but that doesn’t imply superiority of one audience over another audience.  The key idea in my work is that one size does not fit all for computing education. In our CS classes, we often make the mistake of assuming that what works for some percentage of our class is good enough for everyone, and if some don’t succeed with that approach, it’s their fault. There is evidence to believe that different students succeed best at different approaches, e.g., that there are aptitude-treatment interactions,. Cognitive science has told us for decades that students’ prior background influences how and what they learn. Our Media Computation approach improved the success rates of liberal arts students at Georgia Tech, from a less than 50% success rate to an 85% success rate.   I don’t believe that my liberal arts students are superior to my CS students, or vice-versa, but I do believe that each group has different goals and succeeds best with different approaches.  I’m concerned that pushing for open access is making the same mistake that we keep making in CS — if it works for us, it’s good enough for them, so just give it to them and let them figure it out.  (Kind of like MOOCs.)

Any responsibility that the developed world has to share research with the developing world is not met by simply sending them our papers.  If we want to share our research findings, we have to learn their educational problems and their educational goals and values.  We would have to learn to communicate about their issues.

Where does the money go

I have to admit a bias here: I consider myself part of the ACM community. I value being part of that community, being an editor and reviewer and author, and that funds from those efforts goes to sustain the community. Language matters — ‘paywall’ sounds permanent, as a “wall” is. It’s really more like a ‘tollgate,’ where the tolls support the community.

The ACM does good with the funding it receives, from my perspective in education. The funds generated by the DL go back to support the authors’ research communities

  • A portion of all fees generated from SIGCSE publications goes back to the SIGCSE Board. I have served on that Board for the last three years. The funds are used for travel grants to new faculty to get them to the SIGCSE Symposium, for special projects funding to produce new curricular materials for the community, and to provide for a rainy-day fund in case conferences don’t break-even. If the DL funding wasn’t there, the conferences would probably have to raise their rates, to reduce the risk of ending up with a deficit.
  • ACM itself funds efforts like the ACM Education Board and Education Council. These organizations fund the development of curriculum standards. By “fund,” I mean pay for travel, food, and lodging. The participants volunteer hundreds of hours of their own time for a really important purpose. These curricular standards are particularly important in the developing world, to serve as a guide for what a CS degree is supposed to be.

Of course, part of the fee goes to maintaining the DL, and that’s not insignificant. I hope the DL will continue. That costs money. A fee-based system is sustainable.

The ACM is not a nameless corporate entity. It’s a volunteer-driven, membership community. The DL is not a bank that is covetously hoarding intellectual wealth. It’s a source of knowledge for computing professionals, and a source of funding for the good work of ACM.  If we want to make our research findings useful elsewhere, we should actively do that by understanding those cultures and audiences. We cannot expect that creating open access will necessarily fix educational problems elsewhere, but demanding open access may cost our community a lot.

(Thanks to Ian Bogost, Briana Morrison, and Leo Porter for advice on an earlier draft of this post.)

August 8, 2013 at 1:59 am 21 comments

NSF TUES is Cancelled: Where will CS Ed funding come from?

The report on the requested NSF budget for 2014 has a pretty dramatic list of programs that have been cancelled as part of the administration’s desire to  reorganize and “consolidate” federal STEM education programs.

CAUSE is an NSF-wide investment that incorporates funding from established programs in the EHR directorate and other NSF directorates funded though the Research and Related Activities (R&RA) account. It is created by consolidating three Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) programs: STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP), Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence- based Reforms (WIDER), and Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (TUES); several R&RA programs: BIO’s Transforming Undergraduate Biology Education (TUBE); ENG’s Research in Engineering Education and Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE); GEO’s Geosciences Education and Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG); and the cross-NSF program, Climate Change Education (CCE).

TUES used to be the Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program.  TUES and CCLI have funded most of the federally-funded efforts presented at SIGCSE. Earlier, CE21 was cancelled, and its replacement isn’t announced.

An article in the latest Science magazine describes the new programs (and how surprised everyone in the STEM education community has been).  K-12 belongs in the Department of Education (what does this mean for CS10K?), undergrad and grad in NSF, and informal ed in the Smithsonian (the Smithsonian?!?).

As far as I can tell, the NSF budget document is the only reference to the new NSF CAUSE (Catalyzing Advances in Undergraduate STEM Education).  There is no solicitation, and no date for submitting proposals.  Bottomline: the programs that have funded most of CS curriculum support are now gone, and the replacements do not yet exist.   I hope that this all works out well, but it’s a little scary right now.

April 24, 2013 at 1:04 am 5 comments

Congratulations to Eric Roberts on the 2012 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award!

2012 Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award:                  Eric Roberts, Stanford University
For his outstanding contributions to computing education over decades, through international leadership and intellectual contributions in developing effective computing curricula.

Eric Roberts has been a truly outstanding educator for decades, starting as the first computer scientist at Wellesley College in 1980. He has personally taught thousands of computer scientists, and reached many more through his textbooks and curriculum development. His textbooks are exemplary; the first, Thinking Recursively, was named in a 1998 CACM survey article as one of the core texts that every computer science educator should know. He built an organization of professional lecturers at Stanford that has become a model for effective teaching of computer science at universities across the country.

Eric has shown exceptional leadership in computing education, made all the more effective because of the obvious priority he placed on being an outstanding educator. He devotes enormous time and energy to drawing attention to and addressing problems in our community, such as underrepresentation of women in computing and the need to devote more resources to computing education during times of enrollment surge. His principles and values have made him a respected voice in the computing education community.

Erics leadership is international in scope. He co-chaired the ACM Education Board for several years, and was one of the founding co-chairs of the ACM Education Council. From 1999 to 2005, he worked to develop a computing curriculum for public high schools in Bermuda. This program was the first national computing curriculum to be certified by an international standard board.

Erics work on Computing Curriculum 2001 exemplifies his leadership. He drew together diverse constituencies and stakeholders in a multi-year process. He was the principal author of the final report. The report is a significant intellectual achievement that has served educators around the world as they consider what every computing student needs to learn.



April 10, 2013 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

Slides from “The Revolution will be Televised” MOOCopalypse panel

The SIGCSE 2013 panel on “The Revolution will be Televised” on MOOCs and the impending MOOCopalypse was well attended and led to some great discussion. Our entire slide deck is available here.

My favorite part of the session was the response to my comments about access to MOOCs in Africa, i.e., that’s a motivating claim for many (“MOOCs provide learning opportunities to the developing world, like in Africa!”) while the reality is that there is very little access in Africa. We had two people in the audience then take the microphone and talk about their experiences in Tanzania and Sudan. The former department chair in Tanzania said that the MOOCs don’t contain the content yet that they need. The faculty member from Sudan said that only 50% of Sudan has access to the Internet. She said that the connected half doesn’t know that MOOCs exist.

My thanks to Mehran Sahami for organizing the panel, and to my fellow panelists Nick Parlante (eternal optimist about MOOCs) and Fred Martin (hero to the rebel forces battling the MOOCopalypse, for pushing his vision of MOOCs for flipped classrooms) for an engaging session!

Audience at MOOC panel

March 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm 5 comments

Just in time for #SIGCSE13: Ironman draft of CS2013 is out!

Posted by Mehran Sahami.  There are several sessions for feedback on the draft and to provide exemplars for the curriculum section.

Dear Colleagues,

Just in time for SIGCSE, we are happy to announce the availability of the
ACM/IEEE-CS Computer Science Curricula 2013 (CS2013) – Ironman v1.0 draft.
The draft is available at the CS2013 website ( or directly

The Ironman v1.0 draft contains a revision of the CS2013 Body of Knowledge,
based on comments from the previously released CS2013 Strawman and Ironman
v0.8 drafts.  The Ironman v1.0 draft also includes additional new chapters
as well as over 50 course exemplars, showing how the CS2013 Body of
Knowledge may be covered in a variety of actual fielded courses.

** SIGCSE-13 SPECIAL SESSION: CS2013: Reviewing the Ironman Report **
A special session, entitled “ACM/IEEE-CS Computer Science Curriculum 2013:
Reviewing the Ironman Report,” will be held at SIGCSE-13.  This session will
give you an overview of the current state of the CS2013 curricular
guidelines and provide opportunities for discussion and feedback from the
community.  The special session will be held on Thursday, March 7, 2013 from
10:45am to 12:00pm in Ballroom E.

Another SIGCSE-13 special session is the “CS 2013: Exemplar-Fest”.  This
session will showcase submitted samples of CS2013 course/curriculum
exemplars and provide the opportunity to engage the community in the
development of additional course/curricular exemplars for CS2013.  The
special session will be held on Friday, March 8, 2013 from 10:45am to
12:00pm in Ballroom F.

The Ironman v1.0 draft is the penultimate draft of the CS2013 curricular
guidelines.  The final version of the CS2013 guidelines will be published in
Fall 2013.  We welcome additional comments on the CS2013 Ironman draft from
the computing community.  Information on how to comment on the draft is
available at the CS2013 website.  Comments on the Ironman draft will be
addressed in the final released version of CS2013.

The CS2013 Curriculum Steering Committee is continuing to seek exemplars of
courses and curricula from the broader community. This open process will
better connect the CS2013 Body of Knowledge to real, existing approaches
representing diverse and innovative ways to teach computer science. In
Computer Science terms, the topics and learning outcomes in the Body of
Knowledge represent a “specification”, whereas a curriculum is an
“implementation” and a course is part of a curriculum.  Information on how
to contribute course/curriculum exemplars is available at the CS2013 website
( or directly at:

Warm regards,
Mehran Sahami and Steve Roach
Co-Chairs, CS2013 Steering Committee

CS2013 Steering Committee

ACM Delegation
Mehran Sahami, Chair (Stanford University)
Andrea Danyluk (Williams College)
Sally Fincher (University of Kent)
Kathleen Fisher (Tufts University)
Dan Grossman (University of Washington)
Beth Hawthorne (Union County College)
Randy Katz (UC Berkeley)
Rich LeBlanc (Seattle University)
Dave Reed (Creighton University)

IEEE-CS Delegation
Steve Roach, Chair (Univ. of Texas, El Paso)
Ernesto Cuadros-Vargas (Univ. Catolica San Pablo, Peru)
Ronald Dodge (US Military Academy)
Robert France (Colorado State University)
Amruth Kumar (Ramapo Coll. of New Jersey)
Brian Robinson (ABB Corporation)
Remzi Seker (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ.)
Alfred Thompson (Microsoft)


March 6, 2013 at 9:51 am 2 comments

Where to find Guzdial at SIGCSE Symposium 2013

I’ve already written a couple of SIGCSE Symposium 2013 preview posts (on the Dorn and Elliott Tew paper, and on the UCSD set of papers on Peer Instruction).  Here in my last preview post, I’ll give you a sense for what I’ll be up to.  I fly out to Denver Tuesday 5 March in the evening.

  • Wednesday (6 March 2013), I’ll be at the SIGCSE Board Meeting all day.  If I figured it right, this is my last face-to-face Board meeting — I’ve decided not to run again and I think that the new Board starts this Fall.
  • Thursday, I have no presentations, but I have the day pretty much booked meeting with people who are also going to be at SIGCSE. Should be fun!
  • Friday is over-booked.
    • At 10:45 in Governors 12, Betsy DiSalvo is presenting her paper on Glitch (that I’m a co-author on), “Workifying Games.”
    • We’re having an ECEP lunch for advisors and Experts Bureau members at noon. (I didn’t realize until this weekend that there’s a plenary on Friday at lunchtime — that’s never happened before that I can recall at the SIGCSE Symposium.)
    • At 1:45 in Ballroom E, I’m on the “Passion, Beauty, Joy, and Awe” panel — I’ve decided to try to do a live coding with sound demo, which should be exciting and (maybe) fun and (maybe) disastrous.
    • At 3:45 in Ballroom E, I’m on the Panel on MOOCs, “The Revolution will Be Televised: Perspectives on Massive Open Online Education,” with both proponents and critics. (Guess which role I’ll be playing.)
    • I’m having a dinner with student volunteers at 5 pm, then hoping to find Michael Köllig to congratulate him on his Outstanding Contribution to CS Education award.
  • Saturday is literally double-booked.
  • Sunday, I’ll be at the ACM Education Council meeting all day, then fly home at 5, getting home at 10 pm. Monday is our PhD recruiting day and teaching, so not much recovery and decompression time.

(If I miss some days of the blog in here, I hope you’ll understand.)

March 5, 2013 at 1:32 am 2 comments

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