Archive for March 18, 2013

Of MOOCs and Mousetraps: Making Curricular Decisions in Massive Courses

Karen Head is writing occasional blog posts about her efforts to teach introductory  composition in a MOOC.  I appreciate getting a chance to see into the design choices she needs to make to fit into the context of a massive on-line course.

From the beginning we have had logistical issues getting a large group together on a regular basis. After only three meetings, we decided to break into two main subgroups: one focusing on curricular decisions and the other on technical ones. My partner in this project, Rebecca Burnett (director of our Writing and Communication Program), and I attend all meetings to ensure that the two sides remain coordinated. Some of the key curricular decisions we needed to make immediately were the length and theme of the course, expected student commitment, types of assignments, and appropriate instructional approaches. We decided the course should last eight weeks rather than six to create a framework for students to understand the goals and approaches, and to allow time for more end-of-course reflection. We also decided to have a single “build on” main assignment; each week students will learn new skills and apply these to the continuing project. For our theme, which lends itself to our multimodal course goals, we will have students write and speak about a principle that guides their everyday lives.

via Of MOOCs and Mousetraps – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

March 18, 2013 at 1:39 am 1 comment

Computer science enrollments soared last year, rising 30% – Computerworld

The growth of departments in the Taulbee report is astonishing, but what Computerworld got wrong is calling it “computer science enrollments,” as opposed to “computer science enrollments in PhD-granting institutions.”  The Taulbee report doesn’t cover all CS departments, and that’s why the new NDC survey has been launched.

The Taulbee report also indicates that the percent of women graduating with a Bachelors in CS has risen slightly, while the Computer Engineering percentage has dropped.  Both are well south of 15%, though — a depressingly small percentage.

The number of new undergraduate computing majors in U.S. computer science departments increased more than 29% last year, a pace called “astonishing” by the Computing Research Association.

The increase was the fifth straight annual computer science enrollment gain, according to the CRA’s annual surveyof computer science departments at Ph.D.-granting institutions.

via Computer science enrollments soared last year, rising 30% – Computerworld.

March 18, 2013 at 1:39 am 1 comment

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