Posts tagged ‘undergraduate’

Students concerned about demand for CS classes at Berkeley: First of many

The article below is from the Berkeley student newspaper, but it’s not just a Berkeley issue.  Enrollment is surging, and schools have too few resources to meet demand.  Dealing with the enrollment surge was a big topic at the ACM Education Council last month.  Based on what I heard at last year’s meeting of the Ed Council, I predicted that the enrollment surge would like lead to less diversity in CS (see blog post here). This year, I came away with the sense that most attendees believe it’s quite likely.  The issue now is measuring the impact and seeing what resources can be marshaled once there’s evidence that there has been damage to diversity.  Both CRA and the National Academies are conducting studies about the impact of the enrollment surge.  Right now, action is more about studying the impact than responding to the need — people might be willing to respond, but we have so few options.  Google has funded several projects to invent new ways to respond (see blog post here), but those are just starting now.  We won’t know for months if they’ll work.

When the culture at UC Berkeley simultaneously stresses the importance of a computer science education and heightens GPA requirements for the major, barriers to entry become increasingly difficult to overcome. More and more students entering UC Berkeley feel pressured to learn basic computer science skills to meet the needs of the postgraduation job market — a notion that the campus and its highly ranked computer science department encourage…But the upsurge in enrollment means fewer resources for beginner students, especially in terms of access to teaching assistants and professors.

The computer science department recently changed its requirements for petitioning for admission to the major: Students who entered UC Berkeley before this fall needed a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the seven lower-division course requirements, whereas students who came in this fall need to complete, specifically, CS 61A, 61B and 70 with a cumulative GPA of 3.3. These are arguably the more difficult “weeder courses” within the prerequisites, and increasing the average required GPA from a B to a B+ makes a real difference for many deserving students hoping to earn a computer science degree. In CS 61A, for example, the past average is a 2.84, or a B-. Holding beginners to such a high standard, especially given the amount of pressure from an increasingly technologically focused society, is a tool to sort students into winners and losers rather than educate them.

Source: Campus computer science program does not compute | The Daily Californian

September 14, 2015 at 7:26 am 7 comments

Seeking study participants: What should BS in CS graduates know about software development?

Katrin was in our ICER DC this last August.  She is trying to measure the expectations that software companies and universities have on BS in CS graduates. She has a survey on software development and the software development process. She asked me to share this message:

my name is Kathrin Bröker and I’m research associate at the University of Paderborn, Germany (Working Group Computer Science Education).
My research focus is on competencies of computer science students. In this context I developed a survey, where I would like to figure out which expectations companies and universities have on graduates with a bachelor degree in computer science. The main focus is on software development and the software development process.
I would greatly appreciate your participation in the survey. To complete the survey you will need ca. 15-20 min. Please follow this link:
In addition, I would be very thankful if you send this mail to other potential participants in this survey.
Best regards
Kathrin Bröker

November 19, 2014 at 8:05 am 3 comments

New NSF Solicitation to Revolutionize Whole Departments

The below note was posted by Jeff Forbes to the SIGCSE Members list.  What an interesting idea — funding to change a whole department!

NSF has posted a new solicitation for proposals, IUSE/Professional Formation of Engineers: Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED).

RED focuses on efforts to effect significant, systemic departmental change that impacts undergraduate student success in their formation as computer scientists or engineers. This program is particularly interested in efforts that address the middle two years of the four year undergraduate experience, during which students receive the bulk of their formal technical preparation. RED proposals need to engage the entire department, and the effort must be led by the chair/head of the department.

See for more information.

Note: “Engineering departments” in the solicitation refers to both engineering and computer science departments, regardless of whether those departments are in a school of Engineering.

Letters of Intent are due October 28, 2014.

August 19, 2014 at 8:18 am Leave a comment

Why Community Colleges are Important for Broadening Participation in Computing

At our ECEP meeting after the NCWIT summit earlier this summer, Cheryl Kiras presented some data on community college enrollment that was really eye-opening for me.

This is from a fact sheet American Association of Community Colleges (available here).  This is describing the percentage of all undergraduates in a group that are enrolled in community colleges.  56% of all Hispanic undergraduates were enrolled in community colleges in Fall 2012.  48% of all Black students, and 59% of all Native American students.  Wow — that really supports the argument that if we want to broadening participation in University level computing, we need to improve the transfer and recruitment paths from Community Colleges into Universities.  We can make it better at the University (and we should), but that’s only reaching half the students.


August 5, 2014 at 8:16 am 5 comments

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 ( 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

Research Universities Are Praised for Returning Focus to Undergrad Ed: Evidence?

What would you accept as evidence in support of this claim?  I don’t see it where I’m at, but I’m willing to believe that my experience is biased and limited.  How could we test this claim?

The president of the Association of American Universities said on Monday that public research institutions were once again moving forward, thanks to a renewed focus on undergraduate education and a willingness to “be extremely aggressive” in taking advantage of new financing opportunities.

Hunter R. Rawlings III said that, for the first time in his career, senior faculty members were spending time and effort on teaching. “Our main job at universities is educating students,” he said during a panel discussion here at this week’s annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. “We forgot about that for a while. But now it has hit us with full force because tuition increases have caused the public to be angry, or skeptical at least, about the quality and the value proposition that they’re getting.”

via Research Universities Are Praised for Returning Focus to Undergrad Education – Administration – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

December 17, 2013 at 1:40 am 12 comments

Role model to lead women into tech world

It’s great to hold this woman up as a role model, but isn’t it a shame that she is so unusual.  Only girl in AP CS? One of only five women in CS at Iowa State?

Cassidy Williams was the only girl in her AP computer science class at Downers Grove South High School.

Now, she is one of only five women majoring in computer science, along with 57 men, in the 2014 graduating class at Iowa State University.

It’s a trend the 21-year-old Downers Grove native hopes to help change for future girls studying computer science.

“If we don’t have women in computer science, we’re only seeing half the picture,” Cassidy said. “We need to have women in the computing workforce to bring their diverse perspectives to a development team, thus creating the best products.”

via Suburban wiz wants to lead women into tech world –

October 29, 2013 at 1:49 am 3 comments

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