Learning the Craft of CS Education: Recommending the CS-Ed Podcast

February 3, 2020 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

I’ve just finished listening to the first three episodes of the new podcast on CS Education from Dr. Kristin Stephens-Martinez (click here for the podcast homepage). If you teach computer science, I highly recommend it to you. It’s not about CS education per se, except in the sense that research often informs the education topics being discussed. Rather, it’s a nuts-and-bolts discussion of issues relevant to the craft of being a CS educator.

Kristin is terrific as the interviewer on the podcast. She plays all of us — teaching CS, looking for tips, trying to get what she can from these experts.

  • The first episode was with David Malan of CS50 at Harvard. It was an in-depth discussion of the tools they’re creating for CS50. I didn’t hear any that I was particularly interested in using, but I did hear about tools that I wanted to recommend to colleagues who teach those topics.
  • Dan Garcia of BJC fame at Berkeley was absolutely delightful. He didn’t talk about Snap! or Beauty and Joy in Computing. Rather, he gave a concrete checklist of how to develop good exams in CS. I’m a fan of checklists, and his were great. I’ll definitely use these tips in the future.
  • Amy Ko of U.Washington talked about her research, but in really concrete, practitioner-oriented terms. The first part was about how to help students debug. She definitely gave me insights on how to help students develop debugging skills. The second part was about how Donald Knuth was really a qualitative researcher — fascinating stuff.

I’m going to show up later in the series. I don’t know remember what I said! I hope that Kristin is kind to me in the post-production phase, because I don’t think I’m typically as grounded and offering concrete advise as these first three were. I’ll find out in the next few weeks.

TL;DR: If you teach CS, go listen to the CS-Ed podcast. You’ll get something useful out of it that’s worth your time.

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