Posts tagged ‘DCCE’

Computing Teachers are Different from Software Developers: WIPSCE 2014 Keynote

A computer science degree is neither necessary nor sufficient for success in teaching computing. The slides below miss the live demo of Media Computation. My TEDxGeorgiaTech talk (video on YouTube) has much of the same components, but is lacking the ukulele playing that I did today. There was no recording made of my talk.

November 6, 2014 at 4:48 am 9 comments

Why women leave academia and why universities should be worried

Fascinating study  — not surprising, but worthwhile noting.  This work was done in Chemistry, so it bears replication in other STEM disciplines.  Some on the SIGCSE-Members list were wondering, “Is this just for research-oriented universities?  Or for teaching-oriented universities, too?”  In our work interviewing faculty as part of our work in GaComputes and DCCE, we heard surprisingly similar concerns at both kinds of institutions.  The faculty at schools with a teaching mission told us that their tenure was based on research publications, and they felt similar levels of stress.

Young women scientists leave academia in far greater numbers than men for three reasons. During their time as PhD candidates, large numbers of women conclude that (i) the characteristics of academic careers are unappealing, (ii) the impediments they will encounter are disproportionate, and (iii) the sacrifices they will have to make are great.

via Why women leave academia and why universities should be worried | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional.

June 21, 2013 at 1:10 am 1 comment

Heading Down Under for ICER 2012: 4-13 September 2012

I leave tomorrow 4 September for Auckland, NZ and the International Computing Education Research (ICER) 2012 conference which will be 10-11 September.  I will be presenting Lauren’s work on subgoal-based instruction in CS, Barbara will be presenting our statewide survey work, Briana Morrison will present the Disciplinary Commons for Computing Education, and Christine Alvarado will present a lightning talk on our ebook evaluation of the Runestone Interactive Python book.  I will likely miss some blog posts between now and when I return 13 September.  (It will be particularly hard for me to post on 5 September, the day I “skip” while over the Pactific.)

We’re leaving a bit early so that I don’t have to be in an airplane on 7 September, my birthday — I’m ending my first half century Down Under.

September 3, 2012 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

ICER2012 Preview: Adapting the Disciplinary Commons for High School CS Teachers

While the schedule for the International Computing Education Research (ICER) 2012 conference is now up, the papers aren’t linked to it.  I’m guessing that it’s because of the snafu that ACM had with their publishing contractor.  I was waiting for the papers to be linkable before I started talking about our other two papers. Instead, I’ll just link to versions of our submitted papers (but not the final ones).

I’ve already talked about Lauren’s paper on using subgoal analysis to improve instruction about App Inventor, which I’ve made available here.  Here I’ll tell you a bit about Briana Morrison’s paper on adapting the Disciplinary Commons model for high school CS teachers.

The Disciplinary Commons is a model for professional development that Sally Fincher and Josh Tenenberg developed.  We received NSF CPATH funding during the last three years to create the Disciplinary Commons for Computing Education (DCCE), which included both high school and university faculty.  The university part wasn’t all that successful, and wasn’t the most interesting part of the work.  The really interesting part was how Briana, Ria Galanos, and Lijun Ni adapted the DC model to make it work for high school teachers.

There are really two big needs that high school CS teachers have that are different than university CS teachers:

  • Recruiting strategies:  There are no majors in high school (in general) in the United States.  High school CS teachers have no guaranteed flow of students into their classes. High school computer science is an elective in the US.  If you want to teach CS, you recruit students into your class, or else you’ll end up teaching something else (or you lose your job).
  • A Community:  While I’m sure they exist, I’ve not yet met a higher education CS faculty member who is his or her own department.  Most high school CS teachers are the only CS teachers in their school.  They rarely know any other high school CS teachers.  Providing them with a community makes a big difference in terms of their happiness, teaching quality, and retention.

Briana does a great job in her paper of explaining what happened in the DCCE over the three years that we ran it, and providing the evidence that good things happened.  The evidence that the recruiting strategies worked is astounding:

According to these self reported numbers, the high school teacher participants increased the number of AP CS students in the year following their participation in the DCCE by 302%. One teacher in Year 3 had a 700% increase in students in her AP CS class and attributed it to the recruiting help received from the DCCE.

The evidence that the community-building helped is actually even stronger.  We had The Findings Group as our external evaluators on DCCE, and they used social network analysis (SNA).  The diagram is compelling, and the stats on the network show that the teachers dramatically increased their awareness and use of the network of high school CS teachers.

Briana is continuing to work with DCCE, to help other high school disciplinary commons start up around the country.  NSF CPATH is allowing us to spend out the remaining money to fund her travel to help out other groups.  Briana is now a PhD student working with me, and she’s figuring out what her dissertation is going to look like, and if it’ll build on the success of DCCE.

(NSF CPATH funded DCCE. All the claims and opinions here are mine, not necessarily those of any of the funders.)

August 17, 2012 at 8:18 am 5 comments

Call for Participation for Second C^3 Conference

Saturday was the first C^3 Conference. It was a great pleasure to sit in the audience and see a parade of good speakers from Georgia walk up to talk about their efforts to improve computing education! We had about 30 high school and university teachers stay in an auditorium on a gorgeous Atlanta Saturday (70F in February!), to talk about their teaching practice.

We’re planning on one more C^3 Conference for 2011. Call for participation is below.

Georgia Tech and Southern Poly have organized an event called the C3 Conference (Computing Commons Collaboration Conference) for both high school computing teachers and undergraduate computing faculty to meet, present, share ideas, and discuss topics of interest on teaching introductory computer science courses. You are now invited to participate in the second mini-conference of this event at Georgia Tech on April 16, 2011 (1-5:30 pm). There is NO COST to attend this conference. The deadline for submitting one-page proposals are Tuesday, March 15, and the deadline for registration is Friday, April 8.
You can find more information in the Call for Participation below. Please feel free to pass this message on to anyone who might be interested.
Call for Participation for the C3 Conference
The C3 Conference (Computing Commons Collaboration Conference) is a new format of the Disciplinary Commons for Computing Educators (DCCE) (, dedicated to gathering local computing educators, including both undergraduate computing faculty and high school computing teachers, to share their best practices of, and building scholarship in, teaching introductory Computer Science. This event is also intended to provide opportunities for collaboration and communication among the participants. The conference is designed to create a forum where local computing educators are able to meet, present, share ideas, and discuss topics of interest about teaching computer science courses.
This event includes two mini-conferences with invited speakers, selected presentations with discussion, and poster sessions focusing on a variety of topics that are of interest to both undergraduate college faculty and high school teachers. The first conference was in February at SPSU and the second is in April at Georgia Tech.
We are inviting you to participate in the second mini conference to be held on April 16, 2011, from 1pm – 5:30 pm at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA.
We invite your participation in one or more of the following three ways:
1) Call for Abstracts for Presentation and Discussion
Submit a 1-2 page proposal abstract on a specific topic for a 45-minute discussion session. Topics should be relevant to college faculty and high school teachers who teach computing courses, in the broadest sense of the term. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
· Models of CS 1 curriculum: how introductory computing courses are organized in different schools
· Topics for advanced independent study
· Resources to engage students in computing
· How to handle varying levels of student abilities (differentiated instruction)
· Non-traditional activities for learning computing
· Methods of grading programs and assignments
· How to handle collaboration on assignments (and cheating)
· First week of class techniques and exercises to build community for students
· Web-based educational tools and/or tools for distance education
Discussion abstracts need not be research based and can be experiential only, e.g., a classroom experience, teaching technique, curricular initiative, etc. Proposals should include the authors’ viewpoint and experience and how discussion and interaction will be encouraged. Abstracts will be selected in terms of the significance and relevance of the topic as well as its means of encouraging discussion and interaction among participants.
2) Call for Posters
Poster proposals should be no more than 1 page and represent a best practice, a demonstration, materials you use in class, ideas/topics you are developing, or anything that you want to display to encourage discussion or collaboration with participants. During the conference, participants will have the opportunity to browse the posters (which may be posters, videos, handouts, etc.) while enjoying refreshments during breaks between the presentation sessions. No formal presentation of the poster material is required other than the desire to talk to others about your practice, idea, or ongoing work in the field of computing education.
3) Attendance
Please mark the April 16th date on your calendar for attendance. There is no cost for attending this conference. The experience will be priceless. Come and enjoy a half day of collaborating with others who are also passionate about teaching computing and sharing the joy, beauty, and awe of the discipline.
This Call for Participation is for those who would like to submit a paper or poster and for those who would like to attend but will not be presenting or submitting a poster.
1.) If you would like to submit a paper or poster for the second mini-conference, the deadline is Tuesday, March 15, 2011. Please email your proposal abstract with the following information to Lijun Ni at
  • Your name, school name, e-mail address, mailing address, and phone number
  • The session for which you are submitting the proposal abstract – discussion session or poster?
  • Your proposal abstract with title, presenter(s), and a short description of your presentation or poster. If you are submitting a proposal for a presentation, be sure to include a description of your objectives and a short summary of the content of your presentation along with ways of involving the audience in the discussion.
2.) If you would like to register for this conference, please fill out the registration form at the conference website: Please register for attendance by Friday, April 8, 2011.
If you have questions about this event, please contact any of the following conference chairs:
Briana Morrison (Computing Faculty, SPSU),
Pat Roth (Computing Faculty, SPSU),
Ria Galanos (Computer Science Teacher, Centennial HS),
Mark Guzdial (Computing Professor, Georgia Tech),
Lijun Ni (CS education Ph.D Student, Georgia Tech),

February 28, 2011 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

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