Archive for March 2, 2011

Changing CS1 doesn’t help recruitment

Our experience at Georgia Tech matches the one at Brown.  Changing CS1 can help keep the women who come in, but doesn’t draw new women in.  Students get turned off to CS before they get to college, and improving CS1 can help with retention and attrition, but not recruitment from high school.

Those already on campus might be a different story.  Barb had a great idea that she told me about yesterday — we should offer more Biology-inspired CS1-level courses like the great one at Harvey Mudd.  Biology has way too many students for available jobs, and it’s female-majority.  Let’s provide all those Biology students (who won’t get jobs in Biology) a better option.

The CS department also offers three introductory sequences, partially in hopes of attracting women. But offering many options likely has not affected the University’s numbers, Doeppner said. He said he doubts introductory courses “are scaring women off any more than they’re scaring men off.”

“The problem is not that women get disenchanted with CS when they get here — it’s that they aren’t coming here interested in computer science,” he said. “The perspective that people are getting is that a bunch of male hackers get together and just code all the time, which isn’t really computer science.”

via Algorithms can’t solve CS gender gap – The Brown Daily Herald.

March 2, 2011 at 9:28 am 9 comments

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