Archive for May 15, 2013

“What does Guzdial do anyway?”

I gave the last GVU Brown Bag seminar of the academic year.  Video is available at the link below.

Speaker: Mark Guzdial

Title:  What We Know About Teaching Computer Science (“What does Guzdial do, Anyway?”)


We have known for over 30 years that learning to program is surprisingly hard.  A series of international studies have shown remarkably little success in teaching programming. In my group, we have been developing approaches to improve learning about computing, by improving retention through relevance and by teaching in problem domain context.  Our classes and studies have utilized computer-supported collaborative learning, so we explore learning on-line as well as in-classroom. We have learned how anchored collaboration can lead to longer on-topic discussions, but how perceptions of course culture can dramatically inhibit discussion.  We have shown that well-designed on-line activities can lead to better learning at reduced cost (including time costs for the student and instructor). We are currently developing an ebook for learning computer science by high school teachers where we are trying to integrate these lessons for a new audience.

via GVU Brown Bag Seminar: Mark Guzdial | GVU Center at Georgia Tech.

May 15, 2013 at 1:33 am 6 comments

Human-Centered Computing: A New Degree for Licklider’s World – CACM

I am on the editorial board for the Viewpoints section of Communications of the ACM, and I take care of the education column.  Occasionally, I write the piece.  For the most recent CACM, I wrote a piece that is explicitly about our Human-Centered Computing PhD and implicitly about computing education research.

I wanted to write about how our HCC PhD is different than a CS PhD, and I realized that I could tell the story best in terms of the HCC PhD students who informed my understanding of computing education: Mike Hewner, Betsy DiSalvo, and Erika Poole.  I struggled with the overall story, until I learned that Licklider’s degrees were mostly in psychology.  I realized that if Licklider were studying today, he probably would get an HCC PhD, and that became my story.

In the 1960s, J.C.R. Licklider described his vision for the future of computing, which is remarkably like today’s world. He saw computing as augmenting human intelligence, and for communications among communities. He foresaw cloud computing and the Semantic Web. Licklider’s background was different than many of the early computer scientists. He was not an electrical engineer or primarily a mathematician—his degrees were mostly in psychology.

To predict today’s world took a combination of computing and psychology. It is not surprising that understanding today’s world of ubiquitous computing requires a blend of computing and social science. The phenomena of social computing are not primarily about technology. What is interesting about our modern computing milieu is the blend of technology, humans, and community. Human-centered computing is a new subdiscipline of computer science that prepares students for studying our socio-technical world.

via Human-Centered Computing: A New Degree for Licklider’s World | May 2013 | Communications of the ACM.

May 15, 2013 at 1:25 am 1 comment

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