Archive for September 21, 2012

New National Academies report on Discipline-Based Education Research

I’ve just started looking at this report — pretty interesting synthesis of work in physics education research, chemistry ed research, and others.

The National Science Foundation funded a synthesis study on the status, contributions, and future direction of discipline-based education research (DBER) in physics, biological sciences, geosciences, and chemistry. DBER combines knowledge of teaching and learning with deep knowledge of discipline-specific science content. It describes the discipline-specific difficulties learners face and the specialized intellectual and instructional resources that can facilitate student understanding.

Discipline-Based Education Research is based on a 30-month study built on two workshops held in 2008 to explore evidence on promising practices in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This book asks questions that are essential to advancing DBER and broadening its impact on undergraduate science teaching and learning. The book provides empirical research on undergraduate teaching and learning in the sciences, explores the extent to which this research currently influences undergraduate instruction, and identifies the intellectual and material resources required to further develop DBER.

Discipline-Based Education Research provides guidance for future DBER research. In addition, the findings and recommendations of this report may invite, if not assist, post-secondary institutions to increase interest and research activity in DBER and improve its quality and usefulness across all natural science disciples, as well as guide instruction and assessment across natural science courses to improve student learning. The book brings greater focus to issues of student attrition in the natural sciences that are related to the quality of instruction. Discipline-Based Education Research will be of interest to educators, policy makers, researchers, scholars, decision makers in universities, government agencies, curriculum developers, research sponsors, and education advocacy groups.

via Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering.

September 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

Female CS PhD’s research areas

I was surprised by these data.  Why would databases have one of the highest percentages of women?  Why would graphics and visualization have one of the lowest?  My guess is that it doesn’t have to do with features of the area and the match to women’s concerns and interests, but instead, is about how welcoming the culture of the field is to women.

The overall percent of women receiving PhDs in computing was 20.3%, but this representation is unevenly distributed across specialty areas. Table 1 shows numbers and percentages of specialty area by gender over the four years. Representation as measured by the percentage of graduates within a specialty who are women is one measure of women’s participation; raw numbers of women completing PhDs in a specialty is another. Because there are higher numbers of students graduating with specialties in Artificial Intelligence and Software Engineering, these areas have relatively high total numbers of women even though the percent of women in these areas is about average.

Highest Representation of Women (% within area): Information Science (38%), Human-Computer Interaction (36%), and Databases/Information Retrieval (26%).

Highest Numbers of Women: Artificial Intelligence, Databases/Information Retrieval, and Software Engineering

Lowest Representation of Women (% within area): Programming Languages/Compilers, Operating Systems, and Graphics/Visualization (all 14%).

via Computing Research News – Online – Computing Research Association.

September 21, 2012 at 9:01 am 6 comments

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