Archive for September 1, 2010

“Georgia Computes!” (read: Barb) impact on CS1 in Georgia

I’m working on my (er, overdue) annual report to NSF on “Georgia Computes!” and just found this pretty remarkable tidbit.  One of the big projects we’re doing as part of our two year extension on “Georgia Computes!” is to conduct a survey of all CS1 students in the whole state — what’s our real WDF rate? where are these students coming from?  29 schools in the University System of Georgia have computing programs, and 19 of those participated in our survey.

Here’s the factoid.  Barbara (through the Institute for Computing Education) has now taught CS high school teachers at 152 of the 422 (about 36%) high schools in Georgia. Of the 1,349 students taking CS1 last year and participating in our study, 64% (865) went to a public high school in Georgia.  (I thought that that was a surprisingly low percentage.)  But here’s the kicker: 58% of those kids (498) came from the schools where Barbara trained the teachers.

If we’re only in 36% of the schools, but those are the ones generating 58% of the (responding) CS1 students, I’d say that Barb’s workshops are having a disproportionate impact on CS1 in the state.

September 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm 13 comments

Tips for Women on Surviving STEM Graduate Studies

The advice in this blog rings true for me (i.e., my experience suggests that these recommendations would help), but it’s also depressing.  Do we still have men saying to women graduate students: “Of course you want babies and a family,” even though you say you don’t, or “Since you have children, you are certainly not working as hard as you should,” or “You will certainly follow your husband for his job”?  It’s still not getting any better?

From teaching this course over the years, I have learned of the difficulties faced by many women grad students in STEM disciplines, especially in the lab sciences. Practices of favoritism, exclusion of women from team experiences (field research trips, for example), poor/difficult communication, lack of acknowledgment of women’s contributions, and on and on create a hostile environment for many female grad students. I try to give them strategies for dealing, and I talk in the university about the problem every chance I get, but of course I don’t get much credence because I am not a scientist.

If you could blog about survival strategies for women graduate students in the STEM fields, especially in lab cultures, it would be very helpful.

via Career Advice: Survival Tips – Inside Higher Ed.

September 1, 2010 at 12:20 pm 1 comment

MOOC: Massive Open Online Course

I learned a new term today.  I found the Chronicle article about MOOC’s disappointing.  They talk about how much students like it, and about how energized the faculty were about doing it, and how the challenge was getting these huge number of students to “behave.”  But did anybody learn?

Still, the concept is spreading. The classes have even spawned a new name: Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC. In February, Wendy K. Drexler, a postdoctoral associate at the University of Florida who studied with Mr. Siemens and Mr. Downes, will help lead a new would-be MOOC about technology and learning. Ms. Drexler calls their course, which she took for credit as a high-school teacher, one of the most valuable learning experiences of her life.

She found herself interacting mostly with participants who weren’t taking the course for credit. Corporate instructional designers, other classroom teachers, consultants: The chance to engage with so many different people on a focused topic, she says, was “mind-boggling.”

via ‘Open Teaching’: When the World Is Welcome in the Online Classroom – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

September 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm 3 comments


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