Archive for May 19, 2010

Harvey Mudd’s Breadth Intro Course presented at NCWIT

The National Center for Women and IT (NCWIT) is having their annual meeting this week in Portland, OR.  Barb’s there, as co-chair of the K-12 Alliance. I’m normally there, representing Georgia Tech in the Academic Alliance, but it’s also the last week of school for our kids, so I’m here in Atlanta doing things like chaperoning kids end-of-year parties.

One of the activities for the Academic Alliance this week is a roll-out of a new case study on the success that Harvey Mudd has had in increasing the enrollment of women in Computer Science.  Harvey Mudd’s approach has several parts, not all of which is curricular.  For example, they take a bunch of female students out to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, which is a huge boost to motivation and engagement with the field.

Harvey Mudd is also developing a new introductory course that aims at covering a broad range of concepts in computer science.  Their goal is to create a “CS for Scientists” course, that emphasizes the role of CS in science, and the study of computing as a science.  They are working from automata and assembly language, up through robotics and Python.  There’s a meta-site for the course that describes the content, publications on the course and its assessment, and links to some of the websites for instantiations of the course.  (Thanks to Christine Alvarado for providing the URL to the meta-site.)

May 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm 1 comment

Being in charge of education at a research university

I was Director of Undergraduate Programs for a while here in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech.  I recognize my job in some of the comments in the below referenced article.

This article talks about the amount of time demanded by the job, and that was certainly my experience.  A bigger issue for me was being in charge of education at a research university.  Many faculty at research universities love to teach and care a lot about it.  But the purpose of a research university is research, and nobody gets tenured or promoted for being a great teacher.  Being in charge of the least important thing is not a fun job.

I ate up those 40 hours before the semester even started. The rest of it came out of my hide. Don’t get me wrong — I love teaching. I even love higher education. But being a teaching chair is the second most thankless job in the industry. I’m convinced that being a dean or associate dean is the first most thankless job.

via Career Advice: Demotion or Promotion? – Inside Higher Ed.

May 19, 2010 at 9:00 am 2 comments

Time to figure out high-quality online education

Dean Edley (below) is right.  Online education is not high quality today.  It is time for the big name Universities to figure out how to do it right, how to get it perceived as being high-quality.  I see the value in the open source education movement, but the real trick is turning that into credentialed degree programs that will be recognized as high-quality.

“Somebody is going to figure out how to deliver online education for credit and for degrees in the quality sector—i.e., in the elite sector,” said Christopher Edley Jr., dean at Berkeley’s law school and the plan’s most prominent advocate. “I think it ought to be us—not MIT, not Columbia, not Caltech, certainly not Stanford.”

But UC’s ambitions face a series of obstacles. The system has been slow to adopt online instruction despite its deep connections to Silicon Valley. Professors hold unusually tight control over the curriculum, and many consider online education a poor substitute for direct classroom contact. As a result, courses could take years to gain approval.

via In Crisis, U. of California Outlines a Grand and Controversial Online Learning Plan – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

May 19, 2010 at 8:55 am 2 comments


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