Posts tagged ‘ACM’

Survey to inform the next round of Computing Curricula

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) with support from other organizations are producing a new curricular report titled, “Computing Curricula 2020: An Overview Report” (CC2020) in an effort to retain global currency in the computing curricula guidelines.  We reach out to you because we value your opinion in this effort. We invite you to participate in this project by responding to a brief survey found at the URL
 
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W6W76LB
 
where you can provide your comments by responding to the survey prompts.  The survey should take between 3 and 5 minutes, we do apologize for any cross postings
 
Thank you in advance for your time and valuable contributions to this project.
 
—The CC2020 Task Force

May 22, 2017 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Congratulations to Bill Wulf, 2014 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Awardee

William Wulf is the 2014 recipient of the ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award

Wulf is recognized for contributions as a teacher, author, and national leader who focused attention and changed the national education agenda and in the process supported the needs of underserved and under-represented students. As Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science & Engineering (CISE), he understood the role NSF played in supporting science and engineering in the US for both basic research and operation of several high performance computing centers and networks. As President of the US National Academy of Engineering, he advocated for advances in engineering education and technical literacy. Wulf is professor emeritus of Computer Science at the University of Virginia. An ACM Fellow, he received the 2011 ACM Distinguished Service Award.

via Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award – ACM Award.

May 20, 2015 at 7:42 am Leave a comment

Mehran Sahami wins ACM Presidential Award for the CS2013 Curriculum Revision

This is really well-deserved. Mehran worked amazingly hard to pull a wide range of stakeholders together for the CS2013 curriculum. The ACM Presidential Award is discretionary — they only give it out if someone really deserves it. Glad to see Mehran getting this recognition!

  • For outstanding leadership of, and commitment to, the three-year ACM/IEEE-CS effort to produce CS2013  a comprehensive revision of the curricular guidelines for undergraduate programs in computer science

Mehran Sahami of Stanford University, recipient of the ACM Presidential Award for leading the revision of an innovative computer science curriculum that reflects the application of computing tools in a wide variety of disciplines. Sahami led the effort by ACM and the IEEE Computer Society to develop guidelines for undergraduate degree programs that redefine essential computing topics and set the standards for computer science education worldwide for the next decade. The report includes examples of flexible courses and curricula models for a broad range of higher education institutions worldwide.

 

via ACM Presidential Award – ACM Award.

April 24, 2014 at 9:22 am 3 comments

Susan Rodger (SIGCSE Chair) wins ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award

Congratulations, Susan!

Susan H. Rodger, recipient of the Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for contributions to the teaching of computer science theory in higher education, and the development of computer science education in primary and secondary schools. She and her students developed JFLAP (Java Formal Languages and Automata Package), an interactive software tool that allows students to construct and test examples of automata and grammars. These concepts are foundational to the design of software components, such as compiler parts. Intended primarily for undergraduate students or as an advanced topic for high school, JFLAP is used worldwide in computer science theory, compiler, and discrete mathematics courses. Through workshops for faculty development, Rodger’s work contributed to the creation of a professional community around the use of visualizations to teach algorithms. She also leads efforts to introduce the programming language Alice in primary and secondary schools. Rodger is a professor of the practice of computer science at Duke University. Currently chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), she is a board member of CRA-W and a member of the ACM Education Policy Committee. The Karlstrom Award recognizes educators who advanced new teaching methodologies; effected new curriculum development in Computer Science and Engineering; or contributed to ACM’s educational mission.

via ACM Honors Computing Innovators Who Are Changing the World — Association for Computing Machinery.

April 21, 2014 at 9:34 am Leave a comment

Call for participants in 2nd Annual ACM Non-Doctoral Computing Programs Study

2nd Annual ACM NDC Study

Of Non-Doctoral Granting Departments in Computing
If you…

•Are at a 4-year, not-for-profit school, with 1 or more programs in in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Systems, Information Technology, or Software Engineering…
•Do NOT report data to the Taulbee Survey…
•Did NOT receive a login URL for your program(s)…

Please contact ACM Education Manager Yan Timanovsky (timanovsky@hq.acm.org) ASAP! Deadline is March 16  (extensions possible upon request).

 

Why participate:

•  As an annual survey, NDC produces timely data on enrollment, degree production, student body composition, and faculty salaries/demographics that can benchmark your institution/program(s) and invite useful conversations with your faculty and administration.

•   Those who qualify for and complete NDC in its entirety will be entered in a drawing to receive one of (3) unrestricted grants of $2,500 toward your department’s discretionary fund.

 

 

 

 

 

March 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

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 (http://cs2013.org) or directly at:
http://cs2013.org/final-draft/CS2013-final-report.pdf
(The report will also soon be posted at the ACM website as well as at
doi.org.)

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.

CITING THE CS2013 FINAL REPORT
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:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2534860

BibTex:
@techreport{CS2013,
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 = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2534860},
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

ACM NDC Report Confirms Growth in Graduates With Computing Skills

The first ACM study of non-doctoral computing (NDC) departments has just released its report (to contrast with the Taulbee Survey which is focused on doctoral-granting department).  Below is the coverage in the Huffington Post.

The study shows that enrollment in undergraduate computer science (CS) programs within these departments increased 11 percent between 2011-12 and 2012-13. Computer science bachelor’s degree production in these departments is expected to increase nearly 14 percent during this period. Other areas of computing, such as software engineering and information technology, also are experiencing growth according to the report. Only in the information systems area is there no real evidence of growth. Master’s degree production in the NDC departments also generally is increasing, adding to the skilled employment base in these key technology areas.

via ACM Report Confirms Growth in Graduates With Computing Skills | Stuart Zweben.

October 26, 2013 at 1:45 am 1 comment

The ACM ‘paywall,’ computing education research, and open access

I reference research papers regularly in this blog, often in the ACM Digital Library. I’ve been receiving more complaints lately when I reference papers “behind a paywall.” After I linked to the article that Leo Porter, Beth Simon, Charlie McDowell, and I wrote about successful practices in CS1, someone tweeted that we were “whores” by allowing our paper to be sold by ACM. As Greg Wilson said to me, the support for open access in our community is “vehement.” Now, there is a petition demanding that the ACM open up the Digital Library, free of charge.

I’m a computing education researcher in the ACM SIGCSE community. “Open access” is much more complicated in my community. The arguments for opening access are more subtle in under-funded and even non-funded education community.  The British Academy has just released a set of papers (July 2013) on the challenges of fitting social science and humanities research into open access models.  They argue that we need a ‘mixed economy’ because there are different expectations and funding models for research in different disciplines.  Open access is different for computing education research than other areas of computer science because it is a social science.

Why Education is more complicated for Open Access

The case for open access is made in the first sentence of the petition:

Computer science research is largely funded by the public, for the public good.

There are two cases to consider: the research that is funded by the public, and the research that is not. Let’s start with the research that is not funded publicly, because that’s a big part of what makes education unusual.

Many (maybe most) of the papers published at the SIGCSE Symposium and the ICER Conference are not supported by public funds. Go through the SIGCSE papers and note which reference public funding and which don’t — it’s a pretty high percentage that don’t. ICER was created explicitly because there were groups of faculty, without public funding, who were collaborating and doing experiments in their classes and then pooling the data. They needed someplace to publish. Those faculty were paid to teach, and they had heavy teaching loads. They did the research on their own time, because they valued doing it. I don’t see how the public can lay claim to their work.

Some of the work at SIGCSE is publicly funded, but maybe at lower levels compared to funding from Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, or Department of Energy. My research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). How much we are funded is limited by NSF rules and by institute rules. For example, graduate student research assistants can only be paid for up to 20 hours of work (and only 15 before passing qualifying examinations, in my school). Few PhD students complete his or her research work in only 20 hours a week. Let’s say it’s 60 hours per week. Are we really arguing that all of that student’s work is “funded by the public” when that is true for only 1/3 of the hours? Should the public be able to lay claim to all of the student’s work because of those 20 hours per week? If anyone does work outside of what they’re paid for, isn’t that their work?

The issues are actually much the same for faculty, though we get paid much better. Faculty at my school are funded for 9 months by the state of Georgia, and I do federal NSF-funded work for an additional two months per year.  For the last two years of “Georgia Computes!” I could only charge two weeks (specifically, 80 hours) of my time to that project per year. ECEP is a five year project on which I can only charge 160 hours per year. I spend 150 hours per year just on the management meetings for ECEP. I’ve already spent more than 40 hours on the road, doing the work of ECEP in Maryland, South Carolina, and at the CSTA Conference. All of that is before the work of evaluating data and writing papers. I am pretty sure that the state of Georgia does not see itself funding my work with these other states. Simply put: The federal government does not fund everything I do. If they don’t fund everything I do, I don’t believe that they can lay claim to it.

When I shared this story with my colleague, Beki Grinter, she pointed out that the case is similarly murky for corporate-funded work. Microsoft paid for the robotics CS1 work here at Georgia Tech and Bryn Mawr. Can the public lay claim to that work, too? That work is in the ACM Digital Library. By what right is that work made freely available?

All authors want their work to be distributed widely, to have impact. I usually provide copies of my papers when asked, and I use the ACM DL Authorizer service to provide free access to my papers. It’s up to other authors to decide if they are willing to do the same. Yes, opening up the DL would allow the papers to be distributed even more widely. But is that sustainable? What about the funds that are lost? I am willing to forego that breadth of access in favor of the good of closed access. That’s the deal that all the ACM authors made when they assign ACM copyright. The open access movement aims to change the agreement, after the fact.

Education research and the developed world

The petition I mentioned earlier focuses on the public funding for the public good. Another argument for open access that I’ve heard (and thanks to my college, Ellen Zegura, for helping me understand this) is to serve people the developing world — people who don’t have access to the resources of the developed world, and for whom ACM Digital Library access is prohibitively expensive.

Education research is different than most CS research because it’s a social science.  Are the papers published in the SIGCSE Symposium and the ICER conference directly useful to the developing world?

“Transferring education from the United States to Africa wouldn’t work,” argued Bakary Diallo, rector of African Virtual University. “Because we have our own realities,” he added, “our own context and culture.”

  • Writing humanities and social science research is a dialogue with an audience (as described in this piece in The Guardian).  It’s not merely a process of reporting findings.  If you are writing for a developed world audience, you are explicitly not speaking to a developing world audience.  If you want to write for a developing world audience, you should learn to write for that audience.

I have not worked in the developing world, so I can’t speak to the issues of bridging the gap between the developing and developed worlds.  But most education researchers have faced these issues of differing cultures and audiences.  I have talked about Media Computation in several countries.  When the places I visited were like my culture and audience, it worked pretty well — MediaComp is being adopted successfully in Australia, for example.  When the places I visited were not like my culture, I realized that I was solving completely the wrong problems for them and what I was saying was useless.  When I spoke to teachers in China and Mexico and Qatar, I realized that I needed to listen before I could say anything worthwhile to them.

The problem of transferring education research isn’t just a problem of the gap between the developed and developing world.  In ECEP, we are realizing that even curricula, outreach programs, and policy approaches don’t transfer between states — even neighboring states!  I work in Georgia, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and California now.  The values and concerns are very different even between Georgia and South Carolina, and we’re really struggling to figure out what our summer camp model means in Massachusetts and California.

There’s a perspective that says that this view is “patronizing,” and continuing an “us/them” perspective. I believe in tailoring for different audiences, but that doesn’t imply superiority of one audience over another audience.  The key idea in my work is that one size does not fit all for computing education. In our CS classes, we often make the mistake of assuming that what works for some percentage of our class is good enough for everyone, and if some don’t succeed with that approach, it’s their fault. There is evidence to believe that different students succeed best at different approaches, e.g., that there are aptitude-treatment interactions,. Cognitive science has told us for decades that students’ prior background influences how and what they learn. Our Media Computation approach improved the success rates of liberal arts students at Georgia Tech, from a less than 50% success rate to an 85% success rate.   I don’t believe that my liberal arts students are superior to my CS students, or vice-versa, but I do believe that each group has different goals and succeeds best with different approaches.  I’m concerned that pushing for open access is making the same mistake that we keep making in CS — if it works for us, it’s good enough for them, so just give it to them and let them figure it out.  (Kind of like MOOCs.)

Any responsibility that the developed world has to share research with the developing world is not met by simply sending them our papers.  If we want to share our research findings, we have to learn their educational problems and their educational goals and values.  We would have to learn to communicate about their issues.

Where does the money go

I have to admit a bias here: I consider myself part of the ACM community. I value being part of that community, being an editor and reviewer and author, and that funds from those efforts goes to sustain the community. Language matters — ‘paywall’ sounds permanent, as a “wall” is. It’s really more like a ‘tollgate,’ where the tolls support the community.

The ACM does good with the funding it receives, from my perspective in education. The funds generated by the DL go back to support the authors’ research communities

  • A portion of all fees generated from SIGCSE publications goes back to the SIGCSE Board. I have served on that Board for the last three years. The funds are used for travel grants to new faculty to get them to the SIGCSE Symposium, for special projects funding to produce new curricular materials for the community, and to provide for a rainy-day fund in case conferences don’t break-even. If the DL funding wasn’t there, the conferences would probably have to raise their rates, to reduce the risk of ending up with a deficit.
  • ACM itself funds efforts like the ACM Education Board and Education Council. These organizations fund the development of curriculum standards. By “fund,” I mean pay for travel, food, and lodging. The participants volunteer hundreds of hours of their own time for a really important purpose. These curricular standards are particularly important in the developing world, to serve as a guide for what a CS degree is supposed to be.

Of course, part of the fee goes to maintaining the DL, and that’s not insignificant. I hope the DL will continue. That costs money. A fee-based system is sustainable.

The ACM is not a nameless corporate entity. It’s a volunteer-driven, membership community. The DL is not a bank that is covetously hoarding intellectual wealth. It’s a source of knowledge for computing professionals, and a source of funding for the good work of ACM.  If we want to make our research findings useful elsewhere, we should actively do that by understanding those cultures and audiences. We cannot expect that creating open access will necessarily fix educational problems elsewhere, but demanding open access may cost our community a lot.

(Thanks to Ian Bogost, Briana Morrison, and Leo Porter for advice on an earlier draft of this post.)

August 8, 2013 at 1:59 am 22 comments

Congratulations to Eric Roberts on the 2012 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award!

2012 Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award:                  Eric Roberts, Stanford University
For his outstanding contributions to computing education over decades, through international leadership and intellectual contributions in developing effective computing curricula.

Eric Roberts has been a truly outstanding educator for decades, starting as the first computer scientist at Wellesley College in 1980. He has personally taught thousands of computer scientists, and reached many more through his textbooks and curriculum development. His textbooks are exemplary; the first, Thinking Recursively, was named in a 1998 CACM survey article as one of the core texts that every computer science educator should know. He built an organization of professional lecturers at Stanford that has become a model for effective teaching of computer science at universities across the country.

Eric has shown exceptional leadership in computing education, made all the more effective because of the obvious priority he placed on being an outstanding educator. He devotes enormous time and energy to drawing attention to and addressing problems in our community, such as underrepresentation of women in computing and the need to devote more resources to computing education during times of enrollment surge. His principles and values have made him a respected voice in the computing education community.

Erics leadership is international in scope. He co-chaired the ACM Education Board for several years, and was one of the founding co-chairs of the ACM Education Council. From 1999 to 2005, he worked to develop a computing curriculum for public high schools in Bermuda. This program was the first national computing curriculum to be certified by an international standard board.

Erics work on Computing Curriculum 2001 exemplifies his leadership. He drew together diverse constituencies and stakeholders in a multi-year process. He was the principal author of the final report. The report is a significant intellectual achievement that has served educators around the world as they consider what every computing student needs to learn.

 

 

April 10, 2013 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

Just in time for #SIGCSE13: Ironman draft of CS2013 is out!

Posted by Mehran Sahami.  There are several sessions for feedback on the draft and to provide exemplars for the curriculum section.

Dear Colleagues,

Just in time for SIGCSE, we are happy to announce the availability of the
ACM/IEEE-CS Computer Science Curricula 2013 (CS2013) – Ironman v1.0 draft.
The draft is available at the CS2013 website (http://cs2013.org) or directly
at:
http://cs2013.org/ironman-draft/cs2013-ironman-v1.0.pdf

The Ironman v1.0 draft contains a revision of the CS2013 Body of Knowledge,
based on comments from the previously released CS2013 Strawman and Ironman
v0.8 drafts.  The Ironman v1.0 draft also includes additional new chapters
as well as over 50 course exemplars, showing how the CS2013 Body of
Knowledge may be covered in a variety of actual fielded courses.

** SIGCSE-13 SPECIAL SESSION: CS2013: Reviewing the Ironman Report **
A special session, entitled “ACM/IEEE-CS Computer Science Curriculum 2013:
Reviewing the Ironman Report,” will be held at SIGCSE-13.  This session will
give you an overview of the current state of the CS2013 curricular
guidelines and provide opportunities for discussion and feedback from the
community.  The special session will be held on Thursday, March 7, 2013 from
10:45am to 12:00pm in Ballroom E.

** SIGCSE-13 SPECIAL SESSION: CS2013 EXEMPLAR-FEST **
Another SIGCSE-13 special session is the “CS 2013: Exemplar-Fest”.  This
session will showcase submitted samples of CS2013 course/curriculum
exemplars and provide the opportunity to engage the community in the
development of additional course/curricular exemplars for CS2013.  The
special session will be held on Friday, March 8, 2013 from 10:45am to
12:00pm in Ballroom F.

COMMENTING ON CS2013 IRONMAN v1.0 DRAFT
The Ironman v1.0 draft is the penultimate draft of the CS2013 curricular
guidelines.  The final version of the CS2013 guidelines will be published in
Fall 2013.  We welcome additional comments on the CS2013 Ironman draft from
the computing community.  Information on how to comment on the draft is
available at the CS2013 website.  Comments on the Ironman draft will be
addressed in the final released version of CS2013.

CALL FOR EXEMPLARS
The CS2013 Curriculum Steering Committee is continuing to seek exemplars of
courses and curricula from the broader community. This open process will
better connect the CS2013 Body of Knowledge to real, existing approaches
representing diverse and innovative ways to teach computer science. In
Computer Science terms, the topics and learning outcomes in the Body of
Knowledge represent a “specification”, whereas a curriculum is an
“implementation” and a course is part of a curriculum.  Information on how
to contribute course/curriculum exemplars is available at the CS2013 website
(http://cs2013.org) or directly at:
http://cs2013.org/exemplars.html

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 (Univ. of Texas, El Paso)
Ernesto Cuadros-Vargas (Univ. Catolica San Pablo, Peru)
Ronald Dodge (US Military Academy)
Robert France (Colorado State University)
Amruth Kumar (Ramapo Coll. of New Jersey)
Brian Robinson (ABB Corporation)
Remzi Seker (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ.)
Alfred Thompson (Microsoft)

############################

March 6, 2013 at 9:51 am 2 comments

New ACM Classification System doesn’t get Computing Education

The new ACM classification system was just released.  The goal is to create a taxonomy for all of computing research.  It’s a significant improvement on the old one.  Human-Centered Computing is one of the top-level branches now, which is terrific.

Unfortunately, computing education is classified as being a “Professional Topic” issue. What’s particularly odd about that is that “computing literacy” and “K-12 education” and even “computational thinking” appear (correctly, in my opinion) under “computing education,” but none of those are about creating professionals or even about conveying professional practice. Computing education research is a Human-Centered Computing research issue. It’s disappointing that it’s been moved into branch of the taxonomy that doesn’t reflect that.

Computing education is not about being a computing professional, especially today when much of the world is trying to understand how computer science fits into schools.  Consider some of the relevant computing education research questions: What should (say) a fourth grader learn about computing, how should we teach it, and what challenges will we face? None of those questions are about being, becoming, or communicating about computing professionals. Think about it from a perspective of STEM education more generally — students’ study biology not to become a biologist.

Does it really matter?  I think it does.  A research taxonomy as a reification of how the field thinks about itself. It’s supposed to be a reflection of how “Computing” thinks about our constituent elements, and how we describe ourselves to the world. That’s where the placement of computing education is important. Placing it under “Professional Topics” suggests that computing education is about “creating more professionals” or “making more of us.”

There’s certainly a time and place to make the argument that we need “more of us.” When the CCC argues for the value of computer science, they are arguing that what computing professionals and researchers do is important and requires more funding. This is definitely saying that we need more of us to do the work. In some sense, this is what Physics does when they are arguing for some super Ballistic Supercollider (some super BS) — “we are important, we need more of us, society needs what we do.”

But that’s not why physics is taught in most high schools. It’s not because we need thousands of physicists to find the Higgs Boson. Rather, we need citizens who understand why it’s important to find the Higgs Boson, and more importantly, how physics helps them to understand their own world (and maybe why the Higgs Boson is part of understanding our world.) The argument that ACM and NSF are making about computing education is in this latter category. See Cameron Wilson’s blog post on “All Hands on Deck! Scaling K-12 Computer Science Education“. The argument for computer science in K-12 (or “computing for everyone/all”) is not that we need to make lots of professionals. My argument is that computing education informs human-computer interaction — that we as humans can do more, do better, and understand our world more if we (everyone/all) understand something about computing.

That’s why putting “Computing Education” under “Professional Topics” (along with “History of Computing,” “Computing Industry,” and “Computing Profession”) is wrong. It implies that Computing Education is about “us” when really it’s about “everyone.”

Where Computing Education appears in the Classification isn’t important in any practical sense. It’s important for how we think about ourselves and how we explain ourselves to others.

September 26, 2012 at 9:16 am 11 comments

CS2013 Strawman Curriculum Standard now available

Dear colleagues,

We are delighted to announce the availability of the ACM/IEEE-CS Computer
Science Curricula 2013 – Strawman draft.
The draft is available at the CS2013 website (http://cs2013.org) or directly
at:
http://cs2013.org/strawman-draft/cs2013-strawman.pdf

BACKGROUND ON CS2013
Continuing a process that began over 40 years ago with the publication of
“Curriculum 68”, the major professional societies in computing–ACM and
IEEE-Computer Society–have sponsored efforts to establish international
curricular guidelines for undergraduate programs in computing on roughly a
10-year cycle. This volume, Computer Science Curricula 2013 (CS2013),
represents a comprehensive revision of previous computer science curricular
guidelines, redefining the knowledge units in CS and rethinking the
essentials necessary for a Computer Science curriculum.

COMMUNITY COMMENT
The CS2013 Steering Committee welcomes comment on the CS2013 Strawman draft
from the computing community. The comment period will begin shortly
(additional information on how to provide comments will be sent out in a few
days) and remain open until July 15, 2012. Comments on the Strawman draft
will be addressed in future drafts of CS2013.

SIGCSE-12 PANEL ON CS2013
A panel session at SIGCSE-12 will provide a brief overview of CS2013 and
provide the opportunity for in-person feedback from the community on the
Strawman draft. The panel session is scheduled for Thursday, March 1, 2012
at 10:45am-12noon in Room 301AB.

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 (Univ. of Texas, El Paso)
Ernesto Cuadros-Vargas (Univ. Catolica San Pablo, Peru)
Ronald Dodge (US Military Academy)
Robert France (Colorado State University)
Amruth Kumar (Ramapo Coll. of New Jersey)
Brian Robinson (ABB Corporation)
Remzi Seker (Univ. of Arkansas, Little Rock)
Alfred Thompson (Microsoft)

February 20, 2012 at 8:12 am 5 comments

Playing Telephone with Karlstrom Award Announcements

The press releases, announcements, and notes of congratulations on our ACM Karlstrom Award have been wonderful!  Stepping back and watching it happen, it’s interesting (to me, at least) how the story changes with different story-tellers.  It’s like the game of telephone, where one person whispers something to the first person, who whispers it to the second, and so on, until it is completely unlike the original version.  I wouldn’t say that the Karlstrom award story is “completely unlike” the original, and none of the changes are malicious in any way. But I think the stories reflect the story-teller.

You have seen the original ACM citation — we are receiving the award for our work on Media Computation, which led to “Georgia Computes!” (and our general efforts in contextualized computing education).  The College of Computing had its own press release which did mention Media Computation, but downplayed it.

Our Dean, Zvi Galil, sent out this wonderful note yesterday morning:

Hello everyone,

Today we will announce some GREAT news: Mark Guzdial and Barbara Ericson will be honored with the ACM Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award, the first time ACM has given this award to a pair rather a single individual. This national award enhances Georgia Tech’s position at the forefront of computing education.

You’re all well aware of the tremendous success of Georgia Computes! in drawing primary and secondary students from around the state into computing. Other states have emulated this program, but we’ve got both the original and the brains behind it. Earlier this year Mark & Barb shared in the 2011 Faculty Outstanding Service Award, so there’s no telling what they will win next.

Congratulations Mark & Barb! Excellent work.

Zvi

It’s a lovely email, which also mentions our Institute Service Award (for our work in Georgia Computes! across the state).  It’s notable for our new Dean (started in June) to be highlighting education and service accomplishments — I believe it shows where his values lie.  It’s also interesting for saying nothing about Media Computation. Everything he’s saying is correct.  He’s just not mentioned why we got the award.  It’s emphasizing an angle on the story that highlights what is most visible for the College, and which emphasizes the role that Georgia Tech plays in the state.

If the award were for “Georgia Computes!” then there are many more players.  Barb and I are PI’s with Amy Bruckman.  Tom McKlin has been our external evaluator throughout, and as important evaluation is in these efforts, he’s almost been a co-PI (except that we need him to have his own agenda, his own company, and his own guaranteed funding stream, to give him his claim to being “external.”)  Wayne Summers at Columbus State is a co-PI on the extension, as we seek to deepen “Georgia Computes!” activities around the state.  Finally, from a broader ACM perspective, any story of the impact of “Georgia Computes!” would have to include Jan Cuny, our NSF program manager who funded the Alliance and whose vision for broadening participation has had a fundamental impact on every alliance.

Next, here’s the Atlanta-Journal Constitution piece in yesterday’s news, who got the College’s press release early:

We were really excited to see this one, since this is our hometown paper.  (Our daughter got a text yesterday, “Your Dad was in the paper!” She replied, “My Dad AND my Mom!”  “Really? Your Mom is Barb Ericson?”  Perhaps the reader missed the “husband-and-wife” part?)  This version has a lot of errors, but I suspect that the reporter was simplifying, rather than getting it wrong or misunderstanding.  In this version, we got the award for Georgia Computes, which is important for a Georgia paper.  ACM in this version is now making a national teaching award — which it isn’t, it’s international.  (Though I think too few of the Karlstrom awardees are from outside the United States –I know some truly outstanding educators that should be on that list from Europe, Israel, and Australasia.)  And Barbara is now a Professor.  I get that it’s hard for people to understand that there are Research Scientists who are at a University but aren’t Professors.  I suspect that the reporter is spelling out an easier-to-understand story.

The President of Georgia Tech wrote us a great congratulatory note (first time we’ve ever received email from him), addressed to “Professor Ericson and Professor Guzdial.”  (I think that means Barb has a new title!)  He phrased his note like Zvi’s, congratulating us on the accomplishments “especially Georgia Computes!”  It’s clear that he got his version of the story from both the AJC article and Zvi’s note.

Both Barb and I are thrilled by the recognition and the award!  Stepping back to look at this as a researcher and an educator, it’s interesting to see who tells what stories, and how the story gets changed, and why (at least, to guess why).

April 7, 2011 at 9:43 am 3 comments

WGBH, ACM Celebrate Dot Diva Launch to Reshape Image of Computing for High School Girls

The Dot Diva website launches today. It’s pretty interesting, showing how computing connects to a wide range of students’ passions.

The WGBH Educational Foundation and ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) together with NCWIT (the National Center for Women & Information Technology) have invited hundreds of female students from all over Massachusetts on Monday, September 27, to celebrate the launch of Dot Diva, a new initiative to create a positive image of computing for high school girls.  The event, at Microsoft New England Research & Development, includes an interactive fashion show, high tech music demos, an artbotics art installation, and local college Fair.  The Dot Diva initiative, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation NSF, is intended to increase the number of college-bound girls who recognize the power and potential of computing and computer science to achieve fulfilling career opportunities.  “Our aim is to show these young women that computing is creative, collaborative, and changing the world,” said Julie Benyo, Director of Educational Outreach at WGBH.  “Dot Diva enables us to offer young women a realistic view of computing that gives women the power to create and discover new things. It represents a two-year effort to create a “communications makeover” using extensive research and testing of messages that appeal to college-bound female students.”

via WGBH, ACM Celebrate Dot Diva Launch to Reshape Image of Computing for High School Girls — Association for Computing Machinery.

September 27, 2010 at 12:06 pm 1 comment

Technology plus policy for scale

I’m at the University of California at Berkeley for an ACM Education Council meeting this week.  Yesterday, we heard a slew of reports: On what the SIGs (from SIGCHI to SIGGRAPH to SIGPLAN) are doing in education, on the latest in the common core initiative, to what’s going on at CSTA.  Mehran Sahami gave an overview of Stanford’s new CS Curriculum, and Andy van Dam presented his report from CRA-E (which he’ll do again at Snowbird.)  (Both Mehran and Andy’s talks emphasized the role of context in motivating computing and in supporting learning about connections between computing and contexts that we want students to learn.)

The highlight of the day for me was a panel that Dan Garcia organized on the challenges and future of computing education, considered across the education pipeline.  The speakers were:

  • Michelle Friend Hutton, middle school CS teacher and president of CSTA.
  • Josh Paley, a high school CS teacher in Palo Alto (high end school).
  • Eugene Lemon, a high school CS teacher from Oakland, CA (where four of their students were killed this year, including one of his AP CS students who was about to become the first student from their school to ever go on to a four year college).
  • Tom Murphy, a community college professor (who teaches C++ and Scheme, and whose goal is for his students to not have to re-take anything when they get to Berkeley).
  • David Patterson, a famous Berkeley professor and past president of ACM.

Dave went last, and expressed pessimism that the problems of K-12 CS education could ever be solved.  That was quite a gauntlet to throw down, so the Q&A session afterward was long (was scheduled for 30 minutes, and went on for over an hour) and active.  Roscoe Giles of Boston University encouraged us to think not only about solutions, but about solutions that scale.  Teaching CS in K-12 is a huge problem.  Eric Roberts of Stanford (with Dave Patterson agreeing) suggested that technology is really our only possible solution to the problem — we have to be able to use the technology we teach about, to teach about technology better.

I wanted to throw in a follow-on comment.  I strongly agree with Eric and Dave that technology is key, but I think that education policy is a critical component.  The CS10K project is about having 10,000 high school CS teachers ready to teach AP in 10K schools by 2015.  We have 2,000 high school CS AP teachers today.  We can’t possibly increase five-fold the number of teachers without distance education — we can’t ramp up face-to-face programs fast enough.

But what happens in 2020?  Lijun Ni’s research (based on studies of other STEM fields) suggests that we’ll have maybe 5K teachers left of that original 10K.  STEM teachers tend to drop out at a higher rate than other K-12 teachers, around 50% within five years.  What influences teachers staying?  Having a sense of belonging which is influenced by certification (e.g., teachers who are certified in science call themselves “science teachers” and tend to seek out professional development and community) and support systems.  Unless there is certification, and high school CS curricula (e.g., more than AP classes defined and being taught), and a community of CS teachers, we can expect to lose more than half those teachers in the first five years.

So technology is necessary to get the scale Roscoe is calling for, but so is policy to keep those teachers at scale.

June 22, 2010 at 10:53 am 13 comments

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