Posts tagged ‘undergraduate’

Writing programs using ordinary language: Implications for computing education

Once upon a time, all computer scientists understood how floating point numbers were represented in binary.  Numerical methods was an important part of every computing curriculum.  I know few undergraduate programs that require numerical methods today.

Results like the below make me think about what else we teach that will one day become passé, irrelevant, or automatized.  The second result is particularly striking.  If descriptions from programming competitions can lead to automatic program generation, what does that imply about what we’re testing in programming competitions — and why?

The researchers’ recent papers demonstrate both approaches. In work presented in June at the annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Barzilay and graduate student Nate Kushman used examples harvested from the Web to train a computer system to convert natural-language descriptions into so-called “regular expressions”: combinations of symbols that enable file searches that are far more flexible than the standard search functions available in desktop software.

In a paper being presented at the Association for Computational Linguistics’ annual conference in August, Barzilay and another of her graduate students, Tao Lei, team up with professor of electrical engineering and computer science Martin Rinard and his graduate student Fan Long to describe a system that automatically learned how to handle data stored in different file formats, based on specifications prepared for a popular programming competition.

via Writing programs using ordinary language – MIT News Office.

July 31, 2013 at 1:36 am 2 comments

Workshop on integrating professional practice into the engineering curriculum

Hot topic these days, like the debate in the UK.  Workshop to be held in conjunction with ASEE in Atlanta June 26-28.

A primary objective of undergraduate computing and engineering programs is to prepare graduates for professional practice. New graduates often find themselves working on large, complex systems that require dozens (or hundreds) of people and months (or years) to complete. Unfortunately, graduates often feel ill-prepared to work on systems of such size and complexity. Educators find it extremely difficult to provide a realistic experience with such systems in an academic environment.

Engineering and computing curricula primarily rely on a senior design course (one or two semesters in length) to teach professional practice. Students are typically organized in project teams to develop a realistic product or service, in which the students engage in various professional practices: such as project management, requirements analysis and modeling, highlevel and detailed design, implementation or simulation, quality assurance, project reporting, and use of appropriate engineering tools and methods.

May 10, 2013 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

CERIAS: Some thoughts on “cybersecurity” professionalization and education

Relates to the issue of when an employee needs college, and when they don’t.  For Cybersecurity, they do.  Relates to the growing needs in cybersecurity in the UK and in the US.

Too many (current) educational programs stress only the technology — and many others include significant technology training components — because of pressure by outside entities, rather than a full spectrum of education and skills. We have a real shortage of people who have any significant insight into the scope of application of policy, management, law, economics, psychology and the like to cybersecurity, although arguably, those are some of the problems most obvious to those who have the long view. (BTW, that is why CERIAS was founded 15 years including faculty in nearly 20 academic departments: “cybersecurity” is not solely a technology issue; this has been recognized by several other universities that are treating it more holistically.) These other skill areas often require deeper education and repetition of exercises involving abstract thought. It seems that not as many people are naturally capable of mastering these skills. The primary means we use to designate mastery is through postsecondary degrees, although their exact meaning does vary based on the granting institution.

via CERIAS : Some thoughts on “cybersecurity” professionalization and education.

March 25, 2013 at 1:40 am Leave a comment

First Workshop on AI-Supported Education for Computer Science

Shared by Leigh Ann Sudol-DeLyser (Visiting Scholar, New York University) with the SIGCSE list.

Dear SIGCSE-ers!

I would like to announce the First Workshop on AI-Supported Education for Computer Science to be held at the Artificial Intelligence in Education conference this summer in Memphis and invite the submission of papers from the SIGCSE community. Please see the website at: https://sites.google.com/site/aiedcs2013/ Submissions are due by April 12, 2013.

Workshop Description:

Designing and deploying AI techniques within computer science learning environments presents numerous important challenges. First, computer science focuses largely on problem solving skills in a domain with an infinitely large problem space. Modeling the possible problem solving strategies of experts and novices requires techniques that represent a large and complex solution space and address many types of unique but correct solutions to problems. Additionally, with current approaches to intelligent learning environments for computer science, problems that are provided by AI-supported educational tools are often difficult to generalize to new contexts. The need is great for advances that address these challenging research problems. Finally, there is growing need to support affective and motivational aspects of computer science learning, to address widespread attrition of students from the discipline. Addressing these problems as a research community, AIED researchers are poised to make great strides in building intelligent, highly effective AI-supported learning environments and educational tools for computer science and information technology.

Topics of Interest:

  • Student modeling for computer science learning
  • Adaptation and personalization within computer science learning environments
  • AI-supported tools that support teachers or instructors of computer science
  • Intelligent support for pair programming or collaborative computer science problem solving
  • Automatic question generation or programming problem generation techniques
  • Affective and motivational concerns related to computer science learning
  • Automatic computational artifact analysis or goal/plan recognition to support adaptive feedback or automated assessment
  • Discourse and dialogue research related to classroom, online, collaborative, or one-on-one learning of computer science
  • Online or distributed learning environments for computer science

March 15, 2013 at 1:41 am Leave a comment

CSAB and ABET/CAC Criteria Committee Survey

At the ACM Education Council meeting this last weekend, I heard about changes in the accreditation criteria being considered for computing disciplines (e.g., Computer Science, Information Systems, Information Technology).  The committee has asked for feedback on several issues that they’re considering, e.g., how much mathematics do students really need in computing?

That question, in particular, is one that I’m reading about in The Computer Boys Take Over by Nathan Ensmenger.  Ensmenger tells the story of how mathematics got associated with preparation of programmers (not computer scientists).  Mathematics showed up on the early aptitude tests that industry created as a way of figuring out who might be a good programmer.  But Ensmenger points out that mathematic ability only correlated with performance in academic courses, and did not correlated with performance as a programmer.  It’s not really clear how much math is really useful (let alone necessary) for being a programming.  Mathematics got associated with programming decades ago, and it remains there today.

The Committee is inviting feedback on this and other issues that they’re considering:

This survey was developed by a joint committee from CSAB and the ABET Computing Accreditation Commission, and is designed to obtain feedback on potential changes on the ABET Computing Accreditation Criteria.  We are looking for opinions about some of the existing ideas under discussion for change, as well as other input regarding opportunities to improve the existing criteria.

Respondents to the survey may be computing education stakeholders in any computing sub discipline, including computer science, information systems, information technology, and many others. Stakeholders may include professionals in the discipline, educators, and/or employers of graduates from computing degree programs.

The survey may be completed online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/caccriteria2013.

Please send inquiries to csab@csab.org.

Thank you for your participation.

March 11, 2013 at 1:48 am 1 comment

MUST READ: Hacking at Education: TED, Technology Entrepreneurship, Uncollege, and the Hole in the Wall

Audrey Watters has an insightful essay that show how the “Hack Education” and TED movements misunderstand school.  Public school is not better than learning on your own.  Public school is about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to learn.  I believe that the issues are the same for MOOCs, which tend to draw a well-educated, majority-class, and male audience.  I highly recommend reading her entire essay linked below.

“I’m the first MacCaw not to go to Cambridge,” says one of the informant. This and a myriad of other utterances are rather mind-boggling markers of privilege, markers that Hacking Your Education fails to examine and that the book seems extraordinarily unaware of.

One hack it offers for the young uncollege-er: “take people out for coffee” — budget $150 a month to do so. Another hack: “go to conferences.” Sneak in. “Hardly anyone will notice.” Another hack: “buy an airplane ticket.” “You can go anywhere in the world for $1500.” “Collect frequent flyer points.” Too bad if you’re big or black or brown or a non-native English speaker or the working poor or a single mom. Just practice your posture and your grammar and your email introductions, and you’re golden.

via Hacking at Education: TED, Technology Entrepreneurship, Uncollege, and the Hole in the Wall.

March 8, 2013 at 1:42 am 2 comments

Computer Science Education Had A Good Day In America | TechCrunch

A nice upbeat piece!  I hadn’t talked about the Code.org video here — I recommend checking it out.  (I will point out that Chris Bosh who “coded in college” according to the video, was at Georgia Tech for his one year in college.)

America’s elite institutions came out in full force for computer science education. First, the House of Representatives voted to update its traditional students arts competition to include a nationwide mobile apps competition. Then, to top off the day, the nation’s leading geeks, from Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates, helped launch a national nonprofit to encourage young programmers.

via Computer Science Education Had A Good Day In America | TechCrunch.

March 7, 2013 at 1:10 am 2 comments

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

Where did CS PhD’s get their undergraduate degrees?

The latest issue of Computing Research News has a report from CRA-E (their Education subcommittee) on where CS PhD’s come from.  Research universities, institutions that stop at Masters degrees, four year colleges, or top liberal arts institutions?  Turns out the answer is that the vast majority of CS PhD’s get their undergraduate degrees from research universities, but the sum of the PhD’s who get their undergraduate degrees from the top 25 liberal arts institutions is greater than any single research institution.  There’s also evidence that the research universities produce better graduate students, using NSF fellowships as the quality metric.  That was quite unexpected — I would have guessed that the four years and the liberal arts institutions would have played a much greater role.

In 2010, 1665 Ph.D.’s were awarded in computer science of which 714 went to domestic students.   Approximately 71% of the domestic Ph.D.’s received their undergraduate degrees from research universities, 15% from master’s institutions, 11% from four-year colleges, and 4% from other colleges.  These proportions have remained essentially unchanged since 2000 with all four types seeing similar increases since 2005.

via Computing Research News – Online – Computing Research Association.

January 22, 2013 at 1:04 am 15 comments

CS2013 Ironman Draft Available

We are happy to announce the availability of the ACM/IEEE-CS Computer Science Curricula 2013 – Ironman v0.8 draft. The draft is available at the CS2013 website (http://cs2013.org) or directly at:
http://cs2013.org/ironman-draft/cs2013-ironman-v0.8.pdf

The Ironman v0.8 draft contains the complete CS2013 Body of Knowledge, fully revised based on comments from the previously released CS2013 Strawman draft. We are now calling on the computing community to submit exemplars of courses and curricula to better connect the CS2013 Body of Knowledge to real, existing approaches representing diverse and innovative ways to teach computer science.

CALL FOR EXEMPLARS
The CS2013 Curriculum Steering Committee is seeking 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. The CS2013 Ironman v1.0 draft (the penultimate CS2013 draft) will be released in early 2013, containing an initial set of such course/curriculum exemplars.

Including exemplars as part of the CS2013 effort is a new idea not present in previous versions of the ACM/IEEE-CS Computer Science Curriculum guidelines. The steering committee believes they will provide greater value than stylized model courses that do not directly describe actual experience. Submitting an exemplar is your opportunity to present a successful approach to teaching computer science in a way that will prove useful to educators working to adopt the CS2013 guidelines.

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

SIGCSE-13 SPECIAL SESSION: CS2013 EXEMPLAR-FEST
A special session, entitled “CS 2013: Exemplar-Fest,” will be held at SIGCSE-13. 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. Exemplars submitted prior to December 5th can be considered for potential inclusion in this special session. The special session will be held on Friday, March 8, 2013 from 10:45am to 12:00pm.

COMMENTING ON CS2013 IRONMAN v0.8 DRAFT
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.

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)

November 21, 2012 at 10:18 am 2 comments

CU now has a 2nd computer science degree program

Thanks to Mark Miller for sending this — what a great idea!  I know that others have a BA in CS, but I particularly like the argument that they’re making, that this is about incorporating computing into other disciplines.  And I saw on Leysia Palen’s Facebook posting that the new degree was approved.

The proposed program would offer a bachelor of arts in computer science to suit students who, for example, are majoring in geography but want the skill set to develop map databases or who are studying speech, language and hearing and could benefit from building voice-recognition software.

If approved, arts and sciences students would be able to double-major to combine a liberal arts degree program with the BA degree in computer science. The computer science curriculum would still be taught by engineering faculty members.

via CU regents to consider 2nd computer science degree program – Boulder Daily Camera.

November 16, 2012 at 8:30 am 8 comments

U. Texas invests $5M in edX to increase completion rates: Justified?

I guess what Agarwal says is true: Just because the first MOOCs have been “particularly challenging” with low completion rates does not  mean that a MOOC could not work for “less well-prepared students.”  But, it also gives us no reason to believe that they could succeed.  Lots of people are hoping that MOOCs will succeed at lower-level classes, at increasing completion rates.  Would you invest $5M (of taxpayer money) explicitly to improve completion rates over face-to-face classes, when MOOC’s currently have lower completion rates than face-to-face classes?  NSF grants are for far less money, and demand much higher expectations of return (though one might argue that NSF should go after riskier investments).  Or maybe the situation in higher education (especially U. Texas) is so dire, that MOOCs are considered a last-chance effort?

But for Anant Agarwal, the president of edX, poor retention in the early courses, which were built to be particularly challenging, does not mean a MOOC aimed at less well-prepared students is doomed to fail.

“That is one of the particular exciting things about the University of Texas coming on board,” said Agarwal in an interview on Monday in Boston, where he had just given the keynote talk at a meeting of the New England Board of Higher Education.

“It is the largest and most diverse system and has a large number of first-generation [students],” he said. “And they and we all see online learning as a way of increasing the success rate. And for that the [low-level, high-enrollment] courses are going to be key.”

And edX is not done with completion-oriented partnerships. Agarwal says edX has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop MOOCs aimed at community college students.

“We’ll be announcing community college partners soon,” he said. “We’ve narrowed it down and have got the final agreements in place.”

via U. of Texas aims to use MOOCs to reduce costs, increase completion | Inside Higher Ed.

October 18, 2012 at 9:08 am 9 comments

What’s an Internet engineer?

I’d not heard this term “Internet engineer” before this. I did find a definition of the term, but it doesn’t really match what’s being described below. The job definition I found talks about using websites for transactions. This is about understanding the Internet well enough that one can change the information flow on it. I have found that there are schools that offer a degree in “Internet engineering.” Is this a new kind of career for which we need to prepare students in Computing?

“Evidence related to this incident does not clearly indicate whether it was perpetrated intentionally and, if so, to what ends,” the report says. “Regardless of whether Chinese actors actually intended to manipulate U.S. and other foreign Internet traffic, China’s Internet engineers have the capability to do so.”

via Internet traffic was routed via Chinese servers – Washington Times.

September 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Computing as a requirement for everyone, from a collegiate reporter

A piece from a collegiate reporter on requiring computing in undergraduate and high school classes.

Math, writing, history and…computer science?

A typical list of required courses for a college student today does not include computer science — but should it?

via The power of computing | USA TODAY College.

August 1, 2012 at 3:35 am 1 comment

Period of transition: Stanford computer science rethinks core curriculum

I heard from Mehran Sahami, Eric Roberts, and Steve Cooper at the ACM Education Council meeting that CS is now the largest undergraduate major at Stanford.  That’s pretty exciting, but not really too surprising.  The Silicon Vally entrepreneurial atmosphere is palatable, even with my short visit there in March.

This is an interesting piece on the revision that Stanford is making to its undergraduate CS curriculum.

Though computer science enrollments are up in general nationwide, owing much to the success of social and mobile applications like Facebook and Instagram, Stanford is outpacing the broader trend. The program has seen an 83 percent increase in enrollment in its first two years, and computer science has become the largest major on campus.

In the 2011-12 academic year, the department broke the all-time record for students declaring computer science as their major: More than 220 students in that one class alone chose to major in computer science, a 25 percent leap from the previous record in 2000-01.

“We were surprised at the level of interest and the speed at which the community responded,” said Sahami. “Today, more than 90 percent of all Stanford undergrads take at least one computer science course. It’s pretty astounding.”

via Period of transition: Stanford computer science rethinks core curriculum | Stanford School of Engineering.

July 2, 2012 at 5:14 am 6 comments

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