SPEAKER: Nick Parlante
ABSTRACT. I fiddle with topics in the syllabus, edit demos and presentations and entertain myself with fun slide transitions. And yet, inevitably, I must accept that most of what my students learn and remember from my course comes from the assignments. Great assignments are hard to dream up and time-consuming to develop. With that in mind, the Nifty Assignments session is all about promoting and sharing the ideas and ready-to-use materials of successful assignments.
J.J. Ekstrom, Brigham Young University
Allen Parrish, U.S. Naval Academy
Ed Sobiesk, Army Cyber Institute
Rajendra Raj, Rochester Institute of Technology
This session will provide an introduction to ABET as the leading organization in the world that provides accreditation of undergraduate computing programs. ABET accredits programs in computer science, information systems and information technology, and provides a flexible infrastructure for accrediting programs in emerging computing disciplines. The session will discuss ABET’s contributions to these academic computing disciplines and to the standardization of computing education. The session will also articulate the benefits of obtaining program accreditation in the computing field.
ABET continues to evolve its computing accreditation criteria as the computing disciplines evolve. During 2016, ABET provided initial approval to new computing accreditation criteria, that--in final form--will be rolled out over the next several years for both new accreditations and re-accreditations. These criteria, which are currently undergoing public review, include revisions to the general computing criteria and to program criteria for computer science, information technology and information systems. This session will discuss the new criteria and provide an opportunity for audience feedback to be considered in the final revision that is currently in progress. ABET is also developing new program criteria to accredit cybersecurity programs. This session will provide a progress report on that effort and will provide an opportunity for audience feedback on the proposed cybersecurity program criteria.
Freddy May, Founder of Codio
This presentation shows how CS lecturers can author and publish a rich library of tutorial content (including re-purposing existing lecture materials) as well as both simple and highly complex auto-graded code tests. Everything is done with just a browser and without the need for any in-house infrastructure.
You will see how students are able to write everything from simple functions right up to highly complex projects using databases and any other components that might be required. This code can be tested and displayed to lecturers and assistants who are able to monitor their progress. We will demonstrating seamless integration with all major LMS platforms, and how course leaders can significantly reduce wasted administration time and system administration overheads, as well as enhance the overall student experience.
Gayathri Magie, WW Academic Initiatives Lead, IBM
Learn the platform for all of your Internet of Things development and application needs. Learn about IBM's Watson IoT platform on IBM Bluemix that will help you rapidly connect your devices, and also infuse capabilities around device management, information management, real-time analytics, risk management and cognitive computing. Create and deploy your IoT application on the cloud using Node-Red with ease. You will also learn to use a variety of “recipes” provided by our device partners and individual users to connect your devices to the cloud. You can take the knowledge and contribute yourself to the developerWorks recipes community.
Ibrahim Awwal, Gradescope
Sergey Karayev, Gradescope
You will learn how to manually grade both paper-based exams and programming projects in our rubric-based interface. Additionally, you will see how you can build your own autograders to automatically grade programming projects. Lastly, we will show a recent feature we call AI-assisted grading: for question types such as simple math questions, Gradescope AI groups student answers by content, so that you can review and grade answer groups instead of individual submissions.
Gradescope has been used to grade over ten million pages of handwritten work and over half a million programming projects. Ibrahim Awwal (ECE MS from UCSD) is a co-founder who has developed Gradescope since it was a humble TA-developed side project. Sergey Karayev (Computer Science PhD from Berkeley) is a co-founder who has been focusing on applying his research in computer vision and machine learning to AI-assisted grading.
Mitch Resnick, Professor of Learning Research, MIT Media Lab
Yannick Dupont, Educational Content Development Manager, LEGO Education
Digital technologies are changing the ways in which we play, learn and create. These tend to take on an even greater force when it comes to their potential impact on the lives of students. For over 35 years LEGO Education has been working with teachers and educational specialists to deliver playful learning experiences that bring subjects to life in the classroom and make learning fun and impactful. By bridging physical and digital educational resources, students are encouraged to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future.
This session will provide an introduction to LEGO Education, where learning is at the very core of the LEGO Group’s values. Get an in-depth overview of the LEGO Education learning philosophy and our approach to computational thinking and the design engineering process. Learn more about how LEGO Education uniquely combines the familiarity of the simple, easy-to-use bricks with easy-to-use computer science, coding resources and engaging STEM challenges designed to meet curriculum standards. LEGO Education empowers teachers and their students to explore, learn and apply coding to the real world.
SPEAKER: Alice Steinglass
This demonstration aims to give a brief overview of App Lab and its purpose, then move quickly into demonstrating the more advanced features of App Lab that few people know are even there! The audience should come away with knowledge and access to exemplars that highlight App Lab’s possibilities, and see some of its richer features in action. Finally, we will end with a discussion about how best to integrate App Lab into existing courses.
App Lab was developed as part of collaboration between Code.org and David Bau (Google), creator of PencilCode.net.
EarSketch, a web-application to teach Computer Science through Music
SPEAKER: Jason Freeman
K-12 / Novice Learners
Interested in Class, but Not in the Hallway: A Latent Class Analysis (LCA) of 2015-16 CS Student Surveys
SPEAKER: Leigh Ann Delyser
ABSTRACT. Computer science education initiatives often use measures of interest to assess outcomes. Although appropriate for initiatives meant to encourage future participation, these measures do not always align with the complex nature of interest as described by the learning sciences literature or recognize the reality that school-related initiatives aimed at student engagement in CS will not produce individual interest in every student. In this paper, we present a review of the interest literature, and data from a survey with evidence of validity of over 1500 students in various CS courses. By using Latent Class Analysis (LCA), we identify five different statistically significant subgroups of CS students: Enthusiasts, Engaged, Bookish, Idlers, and Disinterested. Our findings suggest that while some students enjoy CS in class and feel the teacher is pedagogically effective, they may not develop the individual interest characterized by seeking additional learning opportunities outside of class.
Teaching Computer Science in the Victorian Certificate of Education: Results of a Pilot Study
SPEAKER: Richard Cox
ABSTRACT. A new computer science curriculum is under development for the Victorian Certicate of Education (VCE). It gives students direct entry into second year University Computer Science. The curriculum focuses on algorithms and data structures, and complements the existing VCE Information Technology curriculum. We taught a pilot course during 2014 involving students from seven schools, and administered an algorithmic thinking quiz (ATQ) on entry and exit, and also gave the ATQ to a first year university reference group. In this paper we present the new curriculum and report on the results of the evaluation. We report lessons learned regarding the effectiveness of the pedagogical approaches adopted and we make recommendations for improving future versions of the course. Pedagogical issues are discussed in relation to the cognitive education literature on the teaching of algorithmic thinking.
Concepts and Practices: Designing and Developing A Modern K12 CS Framework
SPEAKER: Miranda Parker
ABSTRACT. Computer science is rapidly expanding across the United States, and as schools look for guidance about what constitutes developmentally appropriate topics, state education departments are looking assistance in the development of standards. The K12 Computer Science (CS) Framework was developed to fit those needs. The framework is the first of its kind in the K12 CS domain, filling a must-needed structural and definitional role in the field. The framework was created as part of a collaboration at multiple levels within the CS community across the United States. Following the footsteps of other disciplines, this framework provides definitions and guidelines on what students should know (concepts) and be able to do (practices) within certain grade bands in today's computing classrooms. This paper details why the framework was developed, how it was designed, and what impacts it has on the future of K12 computing education.
Gender Differences in Students' Behaviors in CS Classes throughout the CS Major
SPEAKER: Yingjun Cao
ABSTRACT. This paper presents results of a large-scale survey of students' experiences in CS classes at two institutions: a small liberal arts college and a large research-focused university. Our work provides a fine-grained view of students' feelings and behaviors in CS classes, from introductory through to upper division courses. We find significant differences between the reported behaviors and feelings of female students compared to male students: female students are less comfortable asking questions in class and interacting with their instructor, and come out of a class with lower confidence in their ability to tutor for the class, despite the fact that they perform just as well as male students. Furthermore, we find some of these differences are consistent or increase across course levels, and could potentially affect students' post-college trajectories. Focusing attention on the student experience in more advanced classes may impact gender differences seen in the transition to the CS workforce.
Exploring Gender Diversity in CS at a Large Public R1 Research University
SPEAKER: Monica Babes-Vroman
ABSTRACT. With the number of Computer Science jobs on the rise, there is a greater need for Computer Science graduates than ever. At the same time, most Computer Science (CS) departments across the country are only seeing 25-30% of female students in their classes, meaning that we are failing to draw interest from a large portion of the population. In this work, we explore the gender gap in CS at Rutgers University using three data sets that span thousands of students across 3.5 academic years. By combining these data sets, we can explore interesting issues such as retention as students progress through the CS major. For example, we find that a large percentage of women taking the Introductory CS1 course for majors do not intend to major in CS, which contributes to a large increase in the gender gap immediately after CS1. This finding implies that a large part of the retention task is attracting these women to further explore the major. We correlate our findings with initiatives that some CS programs across the country have taken to significantly improve their gender diversity, and identify initiatives that we can start with in our effort to increase the diversity in our program. These findings may also be applicable to the computing programs at other large public research universities.
Eliminating Gender Bias in Computer Science Education Materials
SPEAKER: Vahab Pournaghshband
ABSTRACT. Low female participation in Computer Science is a known problem. Studies reveal that female students are less confident in their CS skills and knowledge than their male counterparts, despite parallel academic performance indicators. While prior studies focus on limited, apparent factors causing this lack of confidence, our work is the first to demonstrate how, in CS, instructional methods and materials may lead to the promotion of gender inequality. We use a multidisciplinary perspective to examine profound, but often subtle portrayals of gender bias within the course materials and reveal their underlying pedagogical causes. We examine three distinct samples of established CS teaching materials and explain how they may affect female students. These samples, while not a complete display of all gender inequalities in CS curriculum, serve as effective representations of the established trends of male-centered representation, imagery, and language that may promote gender inequality. Finally, we present easily implementable, alternative gender equitable approaches that maximize gender inclusion.
Successful First Year Experience for At-Risk Students
SPEAKER: Alice Armstrong
ABSTRACT. This paper discusses the content and impact of a new first year experience (FYE) course for at-risk students in the Computer Science and Engineering department at [a mid-sized teaching university]. The initial results from the new course are quite promising: DFW rates (grade of D, grade of F, and withdrawal) were cut in half for the first and second semesters and departmental and institutional retention rates were dramatically improved.
Evaluating an Alternative CS1 for Students with Prior Programming Experience
SPEAKER: Michael Kirkpatrick
ABSTRACT. Before Fall 2013, our CS majors were required to take the same 4-credit introductory programming course as part of a two-semester CS1 designed to be welcoming to novices. As CS in K-12 has expanded, the diversity of incoming students' programming backgrounds has increased, raising concerns that the climate was becoming increasingly intimidating for novices. The literature suggests these effects could disproportionately impact retention of female students and other underrepresented minorities, undermining other efforts to broaden participation in computing. To address these concerns, we split the first course based on students' prior programming experience. Using statistical techniques, we analyzed the intermediate quantitative impact of this and other curricular changes. Our results suggest that adding the alternative CS1 course had little effect on retention, but the overall structure has been successful in achieving comparable CS2 outcomes regardless of prior experience.
Exemplary Paper: Pencil Puzzles for Introductory Computer Science: an Experience- and Gender-Neutral Context
SPEAKER: Zack Butler
ABSTRACT. The teaching of introductory computer science can benefit from the use of real-world context to ground the abstract programming concepts. We present the domain of pencil puzzles as a context for a variety of introductory CS topics. Pencil puzzles are puzzles typically found in newspapers and magazines, intended to be solved by the reader through the means of deduction, using only a pencil. A well-known example of a pencil puzzle is Sudoku, which has been widely used as a typical backtracking assignment. However, there are dozens of other well-tried and liked pencil puzzles available that naturally induce computational thinking and can be used as context for many CS topics such as arrays, loops, recursion, GUIs, inheritance and graph traversal. Our contributions in this paper are two-fold. First, we present a few pencil puzzles and map them to introductory CS concepts that the puzzles can target in an assignment, and point the reader to other puzzle repositories which provide the potential to lead to an almost limitless set of introductory CS assignments. Second, we have formally evaluated the effectiveness of such assignments used at our institution over the past three years. Students reported that they have learned the material, believe they can tackle similar problems, and have improved their coding skills. The assignments also led to a significantly higher proportion of unsolicited statements of enjoyment, as well as metacognition, when compared to a traditional assignment for the same topic. Lastly, for all but one assignment, the student's gender or prior programming experience was independent of their grade, their perceptions of and reflection on the assignment.
On the (Mis) Understanding of the "this" Reference
SPEAKER: Noa Ragonis
ABSTRACT. The paper presents research conducted with high school (HS) students (N=86) learning object-oriented programming (OOP) and computer science HS teachers (N=48). The focus was on students’ and teachers’ understanding of the this reference. Proper conceptualization of this indicates an understanding of objects in general and of the current object, and it involves various aspects of programming variants. Students' preferences as to the use of the this reference were also examined. Findings revealed a lack of understanding of both the implication and the implementation of this; only 45% of the students expressed understanding of when we must use this; only 60% expressed understanding of when not to use this, and only 24% expressed clear understanding in their definition of this. Even correct answers do not necessarily indicate conceptual understanding, rather a repetition of definitions or programming habits, or a reliance on operative aspects of the implementation. The teachers expressed a considerable lack of clarity in accurately characterizing the correctness of students' answers.
Assessing and Teaching Scope, Mutation, and Aliasing in Upper-Level Undergraduates
SPEAKER: Kathi Fisler
ABSTRACT. Scope, aliasing, mutation, and parameter passing are fundamental programming concepts that interact in subtle ways, especially in complex programs. Research has shown that students have substantial misconceptions on these topics. But this research has been done largely in CS1 courses, when students' programming experience is limited and problems are necessarily simple. What happens later in the curriculum? Does more programming experience iron out these misconceptions naturally, or are interventions required?
This paper explores students' understanding of these topics in the context of a programming languages class for third- and fourth-year CS majors. Our pre- and post-tests pose questions in two programming languages to gauge whether upper-level students transfer knowledge between languages. Many students held misconceptions about these concepts at the start of the course. Students made progress in only some languages and topics, and cross-language transfer does not occur naturally. We also discuss various pedagogic activities we used to engage students with these concepts, and provide data and student opinion on their effectiveness.
Multiple Levels of abstraction in Algorithmic Problem Solving
SPEAKER: Yoav Blau
ABSTRACT. The notion of abstraction repeatedly appears, in various ways, at all levels of computer science. It involves the aspects of leaving out details and comprehending concepts and mechanisms. It also involves the aspect of recognizing relationships between task elements. The latter aspect was not yet studied with respect to abstraction levels and algorithmic design. We study it here. We analyze senior students' algorithmic solutions according to accepted interpretations of multiple abstraction levels, and offer some guidelines for enhancing abstraction in students' algorithmics.
CC2020: A Vision on Computing Curricula
SPEAKER: Allen Parrish
ABSTRACT. This panel discusses the development of a global, futuristic computing overview curricular report called Computing Curricular 2020, also known as CC2020. This new document, which is an initiative of the ACM Education Council, published by ACM, will be a revision of one of the most cited curricula documents called Computing Curricula 2005, also known as CC2005 . CC2020 will build on the attributes of the existing predecessor. It will encompass broad global inclusion by welcoming active participation from computing societies around the world such as the Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ). CC2020 will also be futuristic in its development. While the new document will include an update to reflect existing curricula reports for computer engineering, computer science, information systems, information technology, and software engineering, it will also describe ways in which new and emerging curricular areas would be included within the framework of the report.
Technology We Can’t Live Without!, revisited
SPEAKER: Sumukh Sridhara
ABSTRACT. The pace of technology for use in computing education is staggering. In the last few years, the following technologies have completely transformed our teaching: Piazza, GradeScope, Google Docs, YouTube, Doodle and whenisgood.net, Skype and Google Hangout, and Khan Academy among others. Hardware has also played a part – we love our Zoom digital voice recorder (for recording CD-quality lecture audio), Blue Yeti USB mike (for audio/videoconferences), and iClickers (for engaging students in class).
This panel is an outgrowth of a Technology that Educators of Computing Hail (TECH) Birds of a Feather session that we’ve held at SIGCSE for seven years, and the panel from SIGCSE 2015  that served as a springboard for a regular column in ACM Inroads . It will provide a chance for seasoned high school and university educators to show you the technologies that have “bubbled to the top” for them, and what key problems they solve. Like concert musicians, they will give live demonstrations and reveal the particular configuration options required to make their technology “sing”. We hope this forum will allow the presenters to dive deeply into the common use cases of these technologies, highlight why they are invaluable, share any “gotchas” they’ve uncovered, and explain how others can adopt them at their institutions. The highlight of the panel is when the audience, inspired by the presentations, is invited to share their favorite “can’t live without” technologies as well.
ACM Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education
SPEAKER: Diana Burley
ABSTRACT. In this special session, members of the ACM Joint Task Force (JTF) on Cybersecurity Education will provide an overview of the task force mission, objectives, and release a draft of the curricular guidelines. After the overview, task force members will engage session participants in the curricular development process and solicit feedback on the draft guidelines.
1. Joel Ross, Andrew Ko, David Stearns: "Accessibility as a First-Class Concern in Teaching GUIs and Software Engineering"
2. Megan Lawrence, Mary Bellard: "Teach Access: Preparing Computing Students for Industry"
3. Julia Bernd: "Teach Global Impact: A Resource for CSP (or Any CS Class!)"
4. Saty Raghavachary: "Curriculum design for 'Explorations in Computing' (a new General Education course at USC)"
5. Brian Broll, Akos Ledeczi: "Bringing Real-Time Collaboration to Visual Programming"
6. Patty Hicks: "Moving From Business Education to Computer Science Concepts in the Middle Grades"
7. Dee Weikle: "Using the 5 Practices to Improve Facilitation of POGIL Activities"
8. Chen-Hsiang Yu: "Lessons learned from an EPIC course - Mobile Application Development for Mobile Health"
9. Douglas Fisher: "Establishing conventions for citing educational materials"
10. Kendra Walther: "Class-Sourcing Exams: Student-Generated Exam Questions"
Anurag Nagar: "Developing Big Data Curriculum with Open Source Infrastructure"
12. John Maccormick: "Seeking evidence for basing the CS theory course on non-decision problems"
Accessibility as a First-Class Concern in Teaching GUIs and Software Engineering
SPEAKER: Joel Ross
ABSTRACT. Ensuring that software systems are accessible to users with disabilities is historically neglected but increasingly important for professional software developers. It is imperative that students are familiar with accessible practices to support this often-overlooked form of diversity.
We suggest that including accessibility topics when teaching user-interface development skills is a low-effort task that can directly support teaching core software development principles such as "separation of concerns" and "standards compliance."
In this lightning talk we describe our initial efforts to integrate accessibility and accessible design as "first-class" topics into our department's required course on web development, including specific examples of concepts covered, classroom activities, and assignments. We also discuss suggestions for how to potentially integrate accessibility topics into other computer science courses which include any kinds of front-end user interfaces. The goal of this talk is to promote awareness of accessibility concerns, demonstrate the ease by which educators can include such material, and encourage discussion about how to engage students in such diversity considerations throughout the curriculum.
Teach Access: Preparing Computing Students for Industry
SPEAKER: Mary Bellard
ABSTRACT. This lightning talk will introduce Teach Access (www.teachaccess.org) an initiative comprised of technology industry professionals and educators working together to make accessibility foundational to higher education degrees. Technology companies dedicated to accessibility have faced the common challenge of hiring designers, engineers and researchers with accessibility knowledge/experience that are prepared to build inclusive products and services. Similarly, academic programs in design, engineering and HCI are seeking ways to better prepare students for jobs in industry that require them to address accessibility and the needs of society’s diverse populations. Given this shared challenge, industry, academia and advocacy have come together through the Teach Access initiative to create new models for teaching and training students of technology to create accessible experiences.
Teach Global Impact: A Resource for CSP (or Any CS Class!)
SPEAKER: Julia Bernd
ABSTRACT. One of the most innovative features of the new AP Computer Science Principles course framework is that it includes the Global Impact of Computing—not just as an occasional flourish, but as one of its foundational Big Ideas (#7). The real-world impact of computing—on society and on their own lives—is a great hook that can stimulate students’ lasting interest in computer science, whether in CSP or any other CS class. Teach Global Impact is a collaborative effort among leading computer science educators that leverages seven excellent CSP curricula and PD programs. (BJC, CISS, Code.org CSP, CS Matters, CSP CS4HS, Mobile CSP, and UTeach CSP.) These curricula are contributing activities that highlight the potential impacts of big data, multimedia, artificial intelligence, and Internet connectivity, among other things. We are working to bring together all of these existing Global Impact lesson materials into a unified resource, and to fill in any gaps by creating new materials, along with classroom strategy guides for teaching about impact. This lightning talk will introduce teachers to the resources available on the Teach Global Impact website, including a database of existing materials, new activities and strategy guides, and a Computing in the News feed featuring student-curated stories aligned with CSP learning objectives. We’ll also talk about new activities in the works, including classroom simulations around net neutrality and encryption ethics, a lesson plan on online research and writing for CS, and a series of videos illustrating key essential knowledge points.
Curriculum design for 'Explorations in Computing' (a new General Education course at USC)
SPEAKER: Saty Raghavachary
ABSTRACT. Starting Fall 2016, the CS department at USC has begun offering CS100: Explorations in Computing, a brand new General Education (GE) course. The course is only open to non-CS majors (since our CS students go through a CS-specific introductory track that encompasses the CS100 material). The class has 24 students, from a variety of disciplines such as Communications, Business Administration and Theatrical Arts. The course presents a broad overview of computational/algorithmic problem-solving techniques that form the basis of today's digital society. It provides students, a strong foundation for understanding how everyday activities such as web searching, communicating via social media, playing games, booking a ride, etc., work "behind the scenes". The course's intent is to promote computational thinking, as put forth by Jeannette Wing and others. In designing the course, the following aspects were kept in mind: the course is formulated as a GE, for a non-CS audience - so it cannot be heavy on coding; the topics need to involve some form of computational/algorithmic approach; the topics need to have a connection with things that students do with their digital devices (eg. play games, send instant messages, order things..); the topics have to grab the students' attention (keeping in mind that they grew up with tablets, the Web, animated movies and videogames). To that end, the topics are grouped under the following headings: Media Computing, Recreational Math, Algorithmic Art, Social Media and Data.
Bringing Real-Time Collaboration to Visual Programming
SPEAKER: Brian Broll
ABSTRACT. Visual programming environments have been effective educational resources but are typically limited to a single user at a time. Given the amount of collaboration in modern software development and the value of group projects for beginner programmers, providing collaboration capabilities could be invaluable for students using a block-based programming environment. This lightning talk introduces an effort to bring Google Docs-like collaboration to visual programming. We will discuss our initial model of collaboration in which the sprites and scripts can be edited by multiple users simultaneously, but the execution of the programs on the stage remains local. We will also present alternative collaboration models and the tradeoffs involved, various options for leveraging collaboration in the classroom and any additional potential benefits of providing collaboration support.
Moving From Business Education to Computer Science Concepts in the Middle Grades
SPEAKER: Patty Hicks
ABSTRACT. This Lightning Talk describes the challenges and successes of moving from a Business Education curriculum to a Computer Science Concepts curriculum in a suburban middle school. In June 2013 a team of middle school computers teachers met to review and update the 6th-8th grade curriculum. The existing curriculum was focused on keyboarding and productivity tools (Office Suite of programs) and the direction for an updated curriculum was to focus on 21st Century skills and current technology. The new 8th grade elective focused on coding and computer science concepts was a big hit with parents and students. Enrollments doubled and even tripled in the seven middle schools. Not everyone agreed with the move away from business education. Of the 14 full-time computer teachers only 3 were endorsed in computer science. The bulk of the teachers were endorsed in business education or held a generic technology endorsement. Research continues to show that middle school is the optimum time to interest girls in coding. And middle schools tend to have “electives” or non-academic classes where coding classes can find a home. But how do you convince the teachers that this change in academic focus is in the best interests of the students? And how do you prepare them to teach a new curriculum that they do not know and might not agree with? Conference attendees in the 6-12 education space are invited to attend and consider how to ensure that the teachers without a computer science background or endorsement will be prepared and supportive of the move towards computer science for all.
Using the 5 Practices to Improve Facilitation of POGIL Activities
SPEAKER: Dee Weikle
ABSTRACT. POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) is a flipped classroom, problem-based learning technique for teaching students content through carefully designed questions that they work through in teams with well-defined roles. This technique enables students to retain content while also learning process skills such as communication and teamwork. Developing POGIL activities and facilitating them takes practice and experience. Few, if any, current faculty have been taught using POGIL activities and so have less experience to bring to their development and especially to their incorporation into the classroom. The skills and preparation for delivering an effective POGIL class are very different than faculty have seen in action. The 5 practices: Anticipating, Monitoring, Selecting, Sequencing, and Connecting can be used to better understand how to prepare for and facilitate POGIL activities. While the POGIL organization (pogil.org) has many training sessions, including facilitator training available, most computer science materials still do not incorporate facilitator information that goes beyond the answers to the questions and suggested timing for sections of activities. A brief example of an activity prepared using the 5 practices will be shared to illustrate the potential
Lessons learned from an EPIC course - Mobile Application Development for Mobile Health
SPEAKER: Chen-Hsiang Yu
ABSTRACT. Learning one domain knowledge is good for undergraduate students to face existing job market, but it might not be enough for the future career challenges. At Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT), we are promoting Externally-collaborative, Project-based, Interdisciplinary Curricula (EPIC) learning that provides opportunities to work on interdisciplinary projects for the students. In this talk, I would like to share experience of designing and teaching an EPIC course by applying mobile application development to biomedical domain for creating a mobile health system at WIT. The students from two different departments, Computer Science and Networking and Biomedical Engineering, learn together and work collaboratively on a final project. The lessons learned from this process include: (1) How to find appropriate disciplines to make a course? (2) How to design a syllabus for students with different backgrounds? (3) How to design lectures and laboratory assignments for the collaboration? (4) How to guide students to work on the project collaboratively? etc. At the end of the talk, I will conclude my experience with suggestions and describe the future work in this direction.
Establishing Conventions for Citing Educational Materials
SPEAKER: Douglas Fisher
ABSTRACT. Course syllabi, exercises, assignments, and project specifications are creative acts of design. But there are no conventions for citing such works, as one would cite a research paper or patent. There are several potentially important reasons for establishing conventions for citing educational content, and thus tracking their diffusion and influence. (1) Design of courseware is at least as important to teaching as is delivering lectures and grading assessments. If citation conventions were established, then the degree of adoption by others could be part of a teaching-faculty member’s professional evaluation. (2) Research grants often include education and outreach plans, and being able to track the influence of materials under such plans would be valuable for funding agencies and principal investigators. (3) Establishing citation conventions may raise consciousness about citing any and all creative works that an instructor uses, particularly when we want our students to embrace citation best practices. After all, what most undergraduates will see of the scholarship modeled by faculty will be through teaching. (4) Conferences like SIGCSE are increasingly competitive, and publishing a paper that reports on educational material, thereby enabling “conventional citation” may be difficult. But we still want to cite and track uptake of the educational material. This lightning talk argues that citation conventions be adapted for educational materials, and describes a sample convention. The goal of the lightening talk is to gauge interest and solicit collaborators.
Class-Sourcing Exams: Student-Generated Exam Questions
SPEAKER: Kendra Walther
ABSTRACT. Coming up with quality, representative, fair exam questions can be difficult. This lightning talk explores one faculty member’s eureka moment to have students generate their own exam questions. This approach was tried in a 300-level cross-listed Computer Science/Information Technology course entitled “Programming Graphical User Interfaces.” Students were asked to generate at least one question in each of a variety of categories (multiple choice, true/false, short-answer, and coding questions). Five points of the exam (out of 100) was assigned to the students based on their submitted questions. Students were told that if they had a reasonable distribution of quality questions across all course topics, the test would pull entirely from their exam questions. Students used a Google Form to submit questions and to rate how “good” they thought their questions were. The student-submitted questions yielded a 22-page comprehensive study guide, and, at least in this first instance, a solid, representative, fair exam.
CANCELLED: Developing Big Data Curriculum with Open Source Infrastructure
SPEAKER: Anurag Nagar
ABSTRACT. This lightning talk will focus on our experience of developing and managing large undergraduate and graduate Big Data courses. The demand for trained professionals in the field of Big Data technologies is huge, and there is urgent need to develop and update courses in this area. One of the biggest hurdles for many schools is establishment, maintenance, and constant update of high performance computing infrastructure. Further, the technology landscape for Big Data is constantly evolving, and newer technologies, such as Apache Spark, require significant expenditure to set up and upgrade with every new release. Traditional infrastructure at most higher educational institutions is insufficient for this, and is also not able to scale up to meet the expectations of large class sizes and multiple simultaneous sessions. In this lightening talk, we will share our experience of running large undergraduate and graduate Big Data courses using open source infrastructure. Some of this infrastructure is cloud based, while others require students to create virtualized environment on their personal computers. Both types of resources are freely available, easy to setup, and provide students with enough cluster power to run most academic tasks and projects. We will provide specific examples of using such technologies for common tasks, such as setting up a distributed file system, running MapReduce algorithms on large datasets, performing large scale machine learning and graph mining using Apache Spark, and maintaining a high availability Cassandra cluster.
Seeking evidence for basing the CS theory course on non-decision problems
SPEAKER: John Maccormick
ABSTRACT. Computational and complexity theory are core components of the computer science curriculum, and in the vast majority of cases they are taught using decision problems as the main paradigm. For experienced practitioners, decision problems are the best tool. But for undergraduates encountering the material for the first time, non-decision problems (such as optimization problems and search problems) may be preferable. This lightning talk will give a brief pointer to some new technical definitions and pedagogical strategies that have been used successfully for teaching the theory course using non-decision problems as the central concept. For example, instead of the familiar complexity classes P and NP, we can define analogous classes of non-decision problems, Poly and NPoly. The key question behind this lightning talk is to ask whether the new definitions and strategies are actually beneficial. Anecdotal evidence and certain theories of learning suggest the new approach should result in superior learning outcomes for students. We are seeking ideas, feedback, and collaborators interested in investigating this hypothesis and obtaining stronger evidence for it. To summarize, our central question is: how can we investigate whether students gain a superior grasp of computational and complexity theory when they are taught primarily using non-decision problems?
Best Paper: Computing with CORGIS: Diverse, Real-world Datasets for Introductory Computing
SPEAKER: Austin Bart
ABSTRACT. To successfully bring introductory computing to non-CS majors, one needs to create a curriculum that will appeal to students from diverse disciplines. Several educational theories emphasize the need for introductory contexts that align with students' long-term goals and are perceived as useful. Data Science, using algorithms to manipulate real-world data and interpreting the results, has emerged as a field with cross-disciplinary value, and has strong potential as an appealing context for introductory computing courses. However, it is not easy to find, clean, and integrate datasets that will satisfy a broad variety of learners. The CORGIS project enables instructors to easily incorporate data science into their classroom. Specifically, it provides over 40 datasets in areas including history, politics, medicine, and education. Additionally, the CORGIS infrastructure supports the integration of new datasets with simple libraries for Java, Python, and Racket, thus empowering introductory students to write programs that manipulate real data. Finally, the CORGIS web-based tools allow learners to visualize and explore datasets without programming, enabling data science lessons on day one. We have incorporated CORGIS assignments into an introductory course for non-majors to study their impact on learners' motivation, with positive initial results. These results indicate that external adopters are likely to find the CORGIS tools and materials useful in their own pedagogical pursuits.
Best Paper: Making Noise: Using Sound-Art to Explore Technological Fluency
SPEAKER: Erik Brunvand
ABSTRACT. We describe our experience designing and delivering a general education technological fluency course that frames the discussion of computer science and engineering technology (electronics and programming) in the context of sound-art: art that uses sound as its medium. This course is aimed at undergraduate students from a wide variety of backgrounds and is designed to fit into the “Intellectual Explorations” area of a general undergraduate program. The goal is to introduce computer engineering and computational principles to non-CS students through an exploration of sound-art, experimental and electronic music, noise-making circuits, hardware hacking, and circuit bending.
Best Paper: Infrastructure for Continuous Assessment of Retained Relevant Knowledge
SPEAKER: Kathleen Timmerman
ABSTRACT. An important part of maintaining and continuously improving programs is assessing student objectives to evaluate the impact of change. This paper reviews an infrastructure that was designed to give continuous periodic direct measurements of retained relevant knowledge throughout a computer science and computer engineering baccalaureate curriculum. This infrastructure is designed to give immediate feedback to students and instructors as well as long-term assessment of program health. Additionally, due to the continuous nature of the assessment, its deployment is designed to avoid undue burden in deployment.
David Malan, Harvard University
Omar Shaikh, San Francisco State University
S. Monisha Pulimood, College of New Jersey
Vanessa Gennarelli, GitHub Education
In this session, we will present three examples of GitHub in the classroom: GitHub for CS50 (the largest course at Harvard) that collects assignments, enables portfolios and promotes project-based learning; an automated testing framework, Travis CI, with GitHub Classroom to support students and teaching assistants for large courses; and GitHub for group projects in a service learning course. Learn from the speakers’ specific experiences and variations, reflections and recommendations. After a brief presentation, there will be time for Q&A. Following the hour-long program will be a GitHub classroom lab, where teachers can work with an instructional designer to use GitHub classroom themselves and see how it works.
Susan Baskin, Teradata Corporation
Karen Davis, University of Cincinnati
Teradata University Network (TUN) provides computer science and information systems faculty members and students with a rich variety of FREE resources for teaching and learning about data and database management, data warehousing, data science, and analytics, and information management. These resources include software (both from Teradata and its partners, such as Fuzzy Logix, IBM Watson Analytics, MicroStrategy, NetApp, SAS, and Tableau), teaching materials (exercises, assignments, tutorials, case studies, etc.), and access to real-world data sets. This session will provide information on our 2017 TUN student competitions, an introduction to TUN resources, and demonstrate how these resources can be used to support your computer science courses. In addition, you will learn how you can contribute to TUN to make it an even better community for CS faculty.
Fulfilling Papert’s Dream: Computational Fluency for All
SPEAKER: Mitch Resnick
Workshop 401: Evidence Based Teaching Practices in CS
SPEAKER: Cynthia Lee
ABSTRACT. In this workshop participants will receive an overview of teaching practices in computer science that research indicates are effective. While the field of computer science education is young, it has uncovered several teaching practices that can be adopted by instructors that can improve both the retention and performance of students. These evidence based teaching practices include active learning techniques such as peer instruction and prior-knowledge activities, pair programming, and use of subgoal labels. Participants will experience first hand many of these techniques and will be provided with resources on where to find more information, including the original research papers, on each technique.
Workshop 402: Teaching Parallel Computing with OpenMP on the Raspberry Pi
SPEAKER: Suzanne Matthews
ABSTRACT. Parallel computing is one of the new knowledge units in the ACM/IEEE CS 2013 curriculum recommendations. This workshop will present the Raspberry Pi as an inexpensive hardware platform for providing each student with her own parallel processor. The tactile and visceral benefits of each student having her own machine and being able to take full advantage of its multicore capabilities are significant. In this hands-on workshop, we show how parallelism can be used to spread the workload of compute-intensive applications across the multiple cores of a Raspberry Pi, and explore its use as an inexpensive hardware platform for teaching parallel computing. CS educators who are interested in learning about parallel computing, OpenMP, and how to teach these concepts on a Raspberry Pi are encouraged to attend. Attendees will enjoy a hands-on hardware/software experience, exploring how parallel computations operate and work in practice. In Part I of the workshop, attendees will set up and explore a Raspberry Pi multi-core computer in small teams. In Part II, each team will use the parallel capabilities of the Raspberry Pi to explore parallel computation through the use of OpenMP “patternlets” published on CSinParallel.org. Part III explores applications of the Raspberry Pi to parallel applications such as image processing and population dynamics, using OpenMP. All materials from this workshop will be freely available from CSinParallel.org.
Workshop 404: How to Plan and Run Effective Teacher Professional Development
SPEAKER: Barbara Ericson
ABSTRACT. To reach President Obama’s vision of computer science for all, we will need to prepare many more secondary teachers to teach computer science. In 2015, less than 3,000 schools passed the College Board’s audit to offer the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science (CS) A course, while close to 12,000 schools passed the audit to offer Calculus AB. The presenters have led teacher professional development workshops for many years and will share their knowledge and materials to help others offer effective teacher professional development. In particular they will cover how to plan a workshop, how to find funding, how to prepare materials for secondary teachers, what materials are available for teacher professional development, how to teach pedagogical content knowledge (how to teach computer science), and how to increase diversity in computer science classrooms.
The presenters have free materials for the new Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (CSP) course as well as the Advanced Placement Computer Science A course. These materials include free interactive ebooks for both CSP teachers and students to help them learn programming and a free interactive ebook for the AP CS A course. Participants will be encouraged to share their materials and strategies as well.
Workshop 406: Designing Blended Learning Models to Support Computational Learning: Minecraft Edition
SPEAKER: Dominic Amato
ABSTRACT. This workshop introduces participants to the Digital Youth Network’s Minecraft City Server; a project that seeks to lower the barrier of who can lead computing-related learning opportunities for diverse youth. We present teaching techniques and advice for adapting the Minecraft platform as an educational portal based upon the research we have done with youth across Chicago. Participants will receive handouts describing mentorship techniques and curriculum models that facilitate learning interactions in a blended space. Of critical focus will be exploring the question of how to coordinate mentorship when working in two learning spaces (online and physical) simultaneously. Handouts will be supplemented with a discussion of the adult support roles that we identified as being critical to running engaging Minecraft learning experiences for youth. The workshop will also allow participants to experience the affordances of Minecraft to create an engaging blended learning environment that teaches computational concepts. Participants will receive a hands-on introduction to the basic game mechanics, designing with redstone, the in-game equivalent to electrical circuitry, and exploring computer programming in-game with the scripting language Lua.
Workshop 407: From Lightbulbs to Logic: Teaching Hardware in Intro to CS
SPEAKER: Sean Hickey
ABSTRACT. In K-12 classrooms, introductory computer science most often focuses on programming. However, teaching software really only tells half the story of how a computer works. Teaching hardware from an early point in a CS sequence helps to complete the picture for students and demystify what is happening under the hood of the machine. In this hands-on workshop, participants will work in teams to build computational circuits using switches, wires, breadboards, and LEDs. Starting from first principles of boolean logic and binary arithmetic, participants will collectively assemble a working multi-bit addition circuit.
This workshop targets K-12 teachers (especially middle school and high school) who have experience teaching programming. Attendees should bring a laptop, if possible.
Workshop 408: How to Integrate Interactive Learning into Large Classes
SPEAKER: Andreas Seitz
ABSTRACT. Learning to apply computer science requires practical experience and cannot only be taught through theory. Interactive learning is an approach that combines theory and exercises into multiple short iterations of theory, example, exercise, solution, and feedback. It is based on active, blended and experiential learning and focuses on immediate feedback to improve the learning experience and to allow students to reflect about their learning. It includes hands-on activities and increases students' motivation and engagement.
This workshop describes experiences of multiple interactive learning courses for large classes, including exercises for (1) multiple choice quizzes, (2) interactive tutorials, (3) interactive programming exercises, (4) interactive modeling and (5) team activities. Based on our experience, we present multiple case studies and concrete examples of (inter)active exercises. While the assessment of many exercises can be (semi-)automated, teaching assistants in the classroom manually assess other exercises. We show how educators can integrate these exercises into large classes without significantly increasing their effort.
You can find more details about the workshop and its schedule at http://www.interactive-learning.org.
Workshop 409: UTeach CS Principles: Broadening Participation Through K–12 Computer Science Education and Teacher Professional Learning and Support
SPEAKER: Bradley Beth
ABSTRACT. UTeach Computer Science Principles (CSP) is a classroom-ready curriculum designed in alignment with the CSP framework and endorsed by the College Board for Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles implementation. Piloted in dual enrollment format with 700 high school students, and refined iteratively from 2011–2015, UTeach CS Principles is now being offered in about 300 high schools, and preliminary data suggest great promise for broadening the participation of students from historically underrepresented groups in computing.
Building on UTeach's foundation of teacher preparation and advocacy, UTeach CS Principles teachers receive intensive implementation training and support, including comprehensive teacher materials, regional summer workshops, regular remote micro-workshops during the school year, dedicated phone/email coaching, and access to an online professional learning community. The UTeach professional learning model encourages the participation of teachers with a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience, and leverages participating teachers’ diverse areas of expertise to strengthen learning and support opportunities for all participants. By 2017, online professional learning modules will be available to rural teachers and others who are otherwise unable to attend a summer workshop.
K–12 educators and school and district administrators should plan to attend this hands-on workshop. Presenters will engage participants in demonstration lessons and activities, and participants will leave with materials for immediate use in K–12 computer science classrooms. Opportunities for professional learning and support also will be discussed. Laptops are required.
Workshop 410: C-STEM: Engaging Students in Computing with Robotics
SPEAKER: Tasha Frankie
ABSTRACT. This workshop is an introduction to using Linkbots as a teaching tool to engage students in CS0/CS1 courses, both at the college/university and high school levels. Participants will learn how to program Linkbot robots using RoboBlockly (block-based) and Ch (C/C++ interpreter with ChIDE) in C-STEM Studio through hands-on activities. Additionally, we will present an overview of the curricula developed by the UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) that integrates robotics into computing and math classes for the elementary school level through the college level. In the second half of the session, participants will gain more hands-on practice and a better understanding of how Linkbots inspire learning in the classroom by forming teams and tackling problems from the annual C-STEM RoboPlay Challenge Competition, which is designed for students to showcase their real-world problem solving skills. Further information about C-STEM is at: http://c-stem.ucdavis.edu/. Laptop with administrative installation privileges is required to install the software used in this workshop.