Archive for May 20, 2010

Media Computation and BPC-Related Workshops this Summer

Workshops on Media Computation and related topics on creating engaging introductions to computing are being offered this summer. The goal of these workshops is to encourage teacher innovation in broadening participation in computing by exploring new ways to introduce computing. The workshops are mainly aimed at undergraduate faculty, but are open to high school teachers as well. Details are available at

  • June 14-15 in Amherst, MA: Workshop on “From Visual Programing to Media: Approaches to Starting Computing” including Scratch, Alice, and Media Computation. Hosted by Rick Adrion, Deborah Boisvert, and Renee Fall of CAITE, and co-sponsored by the CAITE and “Georgia Computes!” NSF BPC Alliances.
  • June 16-18 in Cambridge, MA: Workshop on “Media Computation,” hosted by John Sanders of Suffolk University. Funding from NSF CCLI.
  • July 5-6 at The College of New Jersey (Ewing, NJ): Workshop on “Media Computation,” hosted by Peter DePasquale. Funding from NSF CCLI.
  • July 7-9 at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA): Workshop on “Media Computation,” hosted by Manuel A. Perez-Quinones, Fudning from NSF CCLI and the NSF BPC Alliance “Georgia Computes!”

All of the “Media Computation” workshops this summer are including some content based on the “Exploring Wonderland” (Dann, Cooper, & Ericson, 2009) work combining Alice and Media Computation.

The workshops are free with generous travel stipends. Meals at the workshop are covered by the sponsors. Lodging and airfare funding is available for participants from outside the region.

Details on the workshop, including how to register, are available at Thanks to all the hosts for making arrangements for these workshops!

May 20, 2010 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

Albion College eliminates Computer Science

Budget cuts and low enrollment have led to this:

In similar letters from Paul Tobias (Chairman, Albion College Board of Trustees) sent to the Albion faculty and the Albion family, the Board of Trustees reported that they have eliminated computer science as a major at Albion College and that Albion College may continue to offer a computer science minor. In the process, an untenured Assistant Professor has been notified his position will be discontinued after the 2010-2011 academic year. The letter to students also indicated “Students who are currently enrolled in the affected programs will receive personalized advising to enable them to accomplish their academic goals and fulfill their graduation requirements for their major in a timely manner.”

via Albion College Math/CS – News.

In other news coverage, they detail the cuts overall:

Majors in computer science and physical education and minors in dance, journalism and physical education will not be part of the college’s curriculum moving forward — a reduction strategy that will eliminate about 12 courses, said Dr. Donna Randall, the college’s president.

via MLive news: Albion College officials defend decisions.

That comparison point really hit home.  Newspapers are dying, so journalism is less valued and on the chopping block.  Okay, I get that.  Physical education is the least rigorous field of education to prepare teachers for, so if you have to chop one, that’s the least valued.  And computer science is in that group.

To me, this is a sign of the dire straits of computer science and university budgets these days.  More than that, it’s a sign that computing literacy among the general public is at an all time low.  The uproar about these decisions is that they were made by a governing board, against the wishes of the faculty.  This governing board sees computer science as being so useless, so lacking in value?  The board made this decision based on “”how do we best prepare our students for meaningful … work in the 21st century?” What do they think computer science is?

May 20, 2010 at 7:23 am 6 comments

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