Archive for December, 2013

The ACM/IEEE 2013 CS Curriculum is released (in the nick of time!)

Posted by Mehran Sahami to the SIGCSE members list. Congratulations to the team for finishing it in time.

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted to announce the release of the ACM/IEEE-CS Computer Science
Curricula 2013 (CS2013) Final Report. The report is available at the CS2013
website ( or directly at:
(The report will also soon be posted at the ACM website as well as at

The CS2013 Final Report contains guidance for undergraduate programs in
computer science, including a revised Body of Knowledge, over 80 course
exemplars (showing how the CS2013 Body of
Knowledge may be covered in a variety of actual fielded courses), and 5 full
curricular exemplars from a variety of educational institutions. The report
also contains discussions of characteristics of CS graduates, design
dimensions in introductory courses, and institutional challenges in CS
programs, among other topics. The report has been endorsed by both the ACM
and IEEE-Computer Society. We hope you find it useful.

To cite the CS2013 report, please use the canonical citation provided below
in ACM format and BibTex.

ACM format:
ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Task Force on Computing Curricula. 2013. Computer Science
Curricula 2013. ACM Press and IEEE Computer Society Press. DOI:

title = {Computer Science Curricula 2013},
author = {ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Task Force on Computing Curricula},
month = {December},
year = {2013},
institution = {ACM Press and IEEE Computer Society Press},
url = {},
doi = {10.1145/2534860}

Warm regards,
Mehran Sahami and Steve Roach
Co-Chairs, CS2013 Steering Committee

CS2013 Steering Committee

ACM Delegation
Mehran Sahami, Chair (Stanford University)
Andrea Danyluk (Williams College)
Sally Fincher (University of Kent)
Kathleen Fisher (Tufts University)
Dan Grossman (University of Washington)
Beth Hawthorne (Union County College)
Randy Katz (UC Berkeley)
Rich LeBlanc (Seattle University)
Dave Reed (Creighton University)

IEEE-CS Delegation
Steve Roach, Chair (Exelis Inc.)
Ernesto Cuadros-Vargas (Univ. Catolica San Pablo, Peru)
Ronald Dodge (US Military Academy)
Robert France (Colorado State University)
Amruth Kumar (Ramapo College of New Jersey)
Brian Robinson (ABB Corporation)
Remzi Seker (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ.)
Alfred Thompson (Microsoft)

December 30, 2013 at 10:42 am 1 comment

Computer Science Teacher: How is Computer Science NOT a 21st Century Skill?

Thanks to Alfred Thompson at Computer Science Teacher: How is Computer Science NOT a 21st Century Skill.

December 25, 2013 at 1:31 am 7 comments

Chicago State tries to shut down faculty blog (and Time for End of Year Break)

The blog article linked below is pretty interesting.  The lack of respect for academic freedom here is disappointing, but not uncommon.  More shocking is the Kansas Board of Regents decision that faculty can be fired for saying things in social media “contrary to the best interest of the university.”  (I could have been fired for my Swiki post under these rules.)

And on this note, I’m going to take a break from this blog for the holidays (Christmas and New Year’s for me and my family).  If something urgent comes up, I’ll post, but I’m going to take some time to focus elsewhere.  Thanks for reading, and best wishes to you and your loved ones for the holiday season.

But the university — where administrators have frequently clashed with faculty members — this week is demanding the shutdown of a faculty blog that has been highly critical of the university. The chief lawyer for the university sent a “cease and desist” letter to the professors who run the blog demanding that they shut it down.

The letter says that they can’t use the university’s name or symbols, and further the letter cites the blog’s content, saying that “the lack of civility and professionalism expressed on the blog violates the university’s values and policies.”

via Chicago State tries to shut down faculty blog | Inside Higher Ed.

December 21, 2013 at 1:22 am 5 comments

Google’s mistake: CS teacher PD must be on-line only

Google CS4HS program has had a big impact in computer science education in the United States.  According to the UChicago studies, a sizable percentage of all CS teacher professional development (PD) in the United States — 25% of all PD workshops were funded just by Google.

Google has changed the criteria for the 2014 offerings.  They will only fund all online courses.  Not so in Europe, where they are still funding face-to-face workshops.

This is a mistake for two reasons:

  1. We don’t know yet how to construct on-line CS teacher professional development that succeeds.  The drop-out rate for MOOCs is enormous, and teachers fall into the groups who most often do not complete, especially a CS-oriented MOOC.
  2. What we know about CS teacher PD says that you need to develop a community of practice, and you need to start it face-to-face.  CS is in a different place than most teacher PD.  Most teachers develop their sense of identity (which influences what professional groups they join, where they look for professional development, who they talk to about their classes) from their teacher certification: math teacher, reading teacher, science teacher.  Most states have no teacher certification for CS.  Lijun Ni’s work found that a community of practice was critical for establishing that sense of CS teacher identity.  How do you form it?  Many years ago, I got the chance to chat with Starr Roxanne Hiltz who did some of the earliest work with online teacher communities.  She said that it never worked when starting all online.  The teachers had to meet one another and establish rapport, and then the online component could take off.

Google can scale-up who gets “touched” by CS teacher PD, but will lose considerably in effectiveness.  I predict that the end result will be far fewer new CS teachers from the 2014 workshops than from previous incarnations of CS4HS.  I understand that Google is a company and has to control costs.  But the return on investment for this change will be drastically less — they will end up with fewer well-prepared CS teachers for their investment, not more.

Applicants must satisfy the following criteria in order to be eligible:

  • You must be affiliated with a college, university, technical college, community college, or an official non-profit organization
  • Your workshop must have a clear computer science focus
  • You must use Google products for content delivery
  • You must not cap enrollment

Please note:

In the US/Canada region for 2014, we will only be funding online courses (MOOCs) professional development programs

via CS4HS 2014-US/Canada.

December 20, 2013 at 1:13 am 6 comments

NSF STEM-C Partnerships Program Solicitation Released: New form of CE21

Just posted by Jeff Forbes to the SIGCSE-Members list.

NSF has released a new solicitation relevant to CS education.

STEM-C Partnerships: Computing Education for the 21st Century (14-523)

The STEM-C Partnerships combines and advances the efforts of both the former Math and Science Partnership (MSP) and Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) programs. STEM-CP: CE21 modifies the earlier CE21 program by:

– Merging the previous Broadening Participation (BP) and Computing Education Research (CER) tracks into a single Broadening Participation and Education in Computing (BPEC) track focused on building an evidence base for student learning of computing fundamentals applicable to the elementary, middle, or high school levels;
– Requiring a Broadening Participation component for all proposals on the CS 10K track; and
– Adding a third track, STEM-C Partnerships Computer Science Education Expansion, that aims to expand the work of previously funded NSF MSP Partnerships to increase the number of qualified computer science teachers and the number of high schools with rigorous computer science courses.

Please review the solicitation for the requirements and goals of the three tracks.

The next deadline for proposals is March 18, 2014.

December 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm 5 comments

Udacity, Coursera: Should celebrities teach MOOCs?

I don’t really have a problem with this.  Make the presentation in the videos as attractive as possible.  Just remember Herb Simon’ s quote: “Learning results from what the student does and thinks and only from what the student does and thinks. The teacher can advance learning only by influencing what the student does to learn.”  Doesn’t matter if it’s Agarwal or Damon doing the lecture — that’s not the critical part.

“From what I hear, really good actors can actually teach really well,” said Anant Agarwal, CEO of EdX, who was until recently a computer-science professor at MIT. “So just imagine, maybe we get Matt Damon to teach Thévenin’s theorem,” he added, referring to a concept that Agarwal covers in a MOOC he teaches on circuits and electronics. “I think students would enjoy that more than taking it from Agarwal.”

Casting Damon in a MOOC is just an idea, for now: In meetings, officials have proposed trying one run of a course with someone like Damon, to see how it goes. But even to consider swapping in a star actor for a professor reveals how much these free online courses are becoming major media productions—ones that may radically change the traditional role of professors.

via Udacity, Coursera: Should celebrities teach MOOCs?.

December 19, 2013 at 1:19 am 10 comments

To get Interest: Catch and Hold Attention

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot.  It’s informing my next round of research proposals.

We know more about how to retain students these days, the “hold” part of Dewey’s challenge mentioned below — consider the UCSD results and the MediaComp results.  But how do we “catch” attention?  We are particularly bad at “catching” the attention of women and minority students.  Our enrollment numbers are rising, but the percentage of women and under-represented minorities is not rising.  Betsy DiSalvo has demonstrated a successful “catch” and “hold” design with Glitch.  Can we do this reliably?  What are the participatory design processes that will help us create programs that “catch”?

So what can parents, teachers and leaders do to promote interest? The great educator John Dewey wrote that interest operates by a process of “catch” and “hold”—first the individual’s interest must be captured, and then it must be maintained. The approach required to catch a person’s interest is different from the one that’s necessary to hold a person’s interest: catching is all about seizing the attention and stimulating the imagination. Parents and educators can do this by exposing students to a wide variety of topics. It is true that different people find different things interesting—one reason to provide learners with a range of subject matter, in the hope that something will resonate.

via The Power Of Interest « Annie Murphy Paul.

December 18, 2013 at 1:04 am 3 comments

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