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07:00-08:30Speaker Breakfast
07:00-08:15 Session : Community College Breakfast

Contact: Cara Tang

Location: 327, 328
08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20A: CS Education Around the Globe
Patricia Ordóñez (University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico)
Location: 316
Tom Neutens (Ghent University, Belgium)
Francis Wyffels (Ghent University, Belgium)
Bringing computer science education to secondary school: a teacher first approach.

ABSTRACT. The Europe2020 strategy requires European union member states to improve their labor supply by promoting productivity and employability using an apt supply of relevant knowledge, skills and competences. However, based on data from the Flemish employment services, the number of students graduating with a degree in or related to engineering has remained stagnant over the past five years. Meanwhile, job market demand for people with these technical profiles remains high and cannot be matched by the the number of graduates within these subjects. Consequently, the Flemish department of education aims to encourage children to pursue a more technical educational career. To accomplish this, they published the STEM action plan. However, since the plan was released in 2012, a major challenge has been to reeducate teachers to prepare them to teach STEM. Within the current educational context, beginning STEM teachers face two main challenges: (1) Broadening their content knowledge to other domains. (2) Collaborating with other teachers.

This paper presents the implementation and evaluation of a teacher professional development program called Progra-MEER. Progra-MEER focuses on improving the computer science and electronics knowledge of teachers while also encouraging collaboration. We describe the design and implementation of Progra-MEER, provide a qualitative analysis of the program, and analyze the motivation of our student population through a quantitative survey. Results show that our program enables teachers to create new STEM projects and implement them in their classroom. However, the program still has some shortcomings and requires an analysis of the long term effects.

Karsten Lundqvist (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Michael Homer (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Craig Anslow (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Kris Bubendorfer (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Dale Carnegie (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
An Agile Conversion Masters Degree Programme in Software Development

ABSTRACT. The ICT industry in New Zealand is growing rapidly. The traditional university courses are preparing insufficient number of graduates to sustain the growth. It has also been found that many of the traditional graduate students lack key soft skills that are important in team based development. This paper reports on the development of a conversion Master of Software Development degree. The students, who are all graduates with little or no Computer Science degrees, are taught key programming skills, with a focus on agile development. The programme begins by focusing on individual programming skills through solving problems. Later industrial partners are engaged by providing industrial problems to agile teams of students. The industrial partners are active partners in the agile teams as product owners. By solving the problems, the students develop both technical and non-technical skills while utilizing the skills obtained from previous studies. The results from the first year of the programme is encouraging. A key result is that a high number of students found work in paid IT positions before graduating. The main issue of the first year was introducing too many topics at the same time, over-assessment, not enough communication and contact time, little opportunity for the students to make their own experiences, and learning by making mistakes. The programme has been changed the next year's cohort to introduce less topics at the same time to provide the students with space for learning. The scheduling of assessments has also been redesigned.

Simon (University of Newcastle, Australia)
Raina Mason (Southern Cross University, Australia)
Tom Crick (Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK)
James H. Davenport (University of Bath, UK)
Ellen Murphy (University of Bath, UK)
Language Choice in Introductory Programming Courses at Australasian and UK Universities

ABSTRACT. Parallel surveys of introductory programming courses were conducted in Australasia and the UK, with a view to examining the popular programming languages, the integrated development environments (if any) being used and the reasons for the choice of the languages and environments, alongside a number of other key aspects of these courses. This paper summarises some of the similarities and differences between the findings of the two national surveys.

In the UK, Java is clearly the dominant programming language in introductory programming courses, with Eclipse as the dominant environment. Java was also the dominant language in Australasia six years ago, but now shares the lead with Python; we speculate on the reasons for this. Other differences between the two surveys are equally interesting. Overall, however, there appears to be a reasonable similarity in the way these undergraduate degree courses are conducted in the UK and in Australasia. While the degree structures differ markedly between and within these regions -- and may possibly explain some of the differences -- some of the similarities are noteworthy and provide insight into approaches in other regions and nations.

08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20B: Data Structures
Tracy Lewis-Williams (Radford University, United States)
Location: 314
Leo Porter (University of California San Diego, United States)
Daniel Zingaro (University of Toronto, Mississauga, Canada)
Cynthia Lee (Stanford University, United States)
Cynthia Taylor (University of Illinois at Chicago, United States)
Kevin Webb (Swarthmore College, United States)
Michael Clancy (University of California, Berkeley, United States)
Developing Course-Level Learning Goals for Basic Data Structures in CS2

ABSTRACT. Establishing learning goals for a course allows for instructors to design their course content to address those goals, for researchers to assess learning of those goals, and for students to focus their learning appropriately. This work aims to establish learning goals for a topic prevalent in CS2 courses: basic data structures. Through review of a number of CS2 courses at a variety of institutions, surveys of faculty who commonly teach the course, and a number of meetings with CS2 instructors, six learning goals for basic data structures were determined. In this paper, we outline our process for creating learning goals; identify important topics underlying these goals; and provide examples of how the goals developed on the path to consensus. We also document that the term CS2 does not have a unified interpretation within the CS education community, and describe how this hurtle influenced our decision to focus on basic data structures.

Matthew Mcquaigue (The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, United States)
David Burlinson (The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, United States)
Kalpathi Subramanian (The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, United States)
Erik Saule (The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, United States)
Jamie Payton (Temple University, United States)
Visualization, Assessment and Analytics in Data Structures Learning Modules

ABSTRACT. In recent years, interactive textbooks have gained prominence in an effort to overcome student reluctance to routinely read textbooks, complete assigned homeworks, and to better engage students to keep up with lecture content. Interactive textbooks are more structured, contain smaller amounts of textual material, and integrate media and assessment content. While these are an arguable improvement over traditional methods of teaching, issues of academic integrity and engagement remain. In this work we demonstrate preliminary work on building interactive teaching modules for data structures and algorithms courses with the following characteristics, (1) the modules are highly visual and interactive, (2) training and assessment are tightly integrated within the same module, with sufficient variability in the exercises to make it next to impossible to violate academic integrity, (3) a data logging and analytic system that provides instantaneous student feedback and assessment, and (4) an interactive visual analytic system for the instructor to see students' performance at the individual, sub-group or class level, allowing timely intervention and support for selected students. Our modules are designed to work within the infrastructure of the OpenDSA system, which will promote rapid dissemination to an existing user base of CS educators. We demonstrate a prototype system using an example dataset.

Jeffrey Young (Oregon State University, United States)
Eric Walkingshaw (Oregon State University, United States)
A Domain Analysis of Data Structure and Algorithm Explanations in the Wild

ABSTRACT. Explanations of data structures and algorithms are complex interactions of several notations, including natural language, mathematics, pseudocode, and diagrams. Currently, such explanations are created ad hoc using a variety of tools, and the resulting artifacts are static, reducing explanatory value. We envision a domain-specific language for developing rich, interactive explanations of data structures and algorithms. In this paper, we analyze this domain to sketch requirements for our language. We perform a grounded theory analysis, to generate a qualitative coding system for explanation artifacts collected online. This coding system implies a common structure among explanations of algorithms and data structures. We believe this structure can be reused as the semantic basis of a domain-specific language for creating interactive explanation artifacts. This work is part of our effort to develop the paradigm of explanation-oriented programming, which shifts the focus of programming from computing results to producing rich explanations of how those results were computed.

08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20C: K thru 8 #1
Abby Funabiki (BootUp, United States)
Location: 320
Moran Tsur (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States)
Natalie Rusk (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States)
Scratch Microworlds: Designing Project-Based Introductions to Coding

ABSTRACT. In this paper, we present our experience developing introductory coding environments called Scratch Microworlds. These simplified environments are designed to enable learners to get started with coding by creating projects, rather than solving puzzles. The primary educational goal of these microworlds is to engage learners (ages 8 to 14) who otherwise may not be drawn to coding. The microworlds are simplified versions of the Scratch coding environment that contain a small set of blocks and are designed to encourage exploration and experimentation. Scratch Microworlds are also interest-based, so learners can choose to work on a topic that is motivating to them (such as dance, music, or soccer). We present three main design principles and related challenges that we addressed through the iterative process of developing Scratch Microworlds: (1) how to simplify initial experiences while still supporting creativity, (2) how to provide scaffolding while maintaining learners’ agency, and (3) how to provide starting points that spark rather than limit the imagination. We share observations and feedback from a series of workshops with children and educators, which informed our iterative design process. We conclude by considering next steps for providing more entry points into coding that support children as creative thinkers.

Meg Ray (Cornell Tech, United States)
Maya Israel (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States)
Chungeun Lee (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States)
Virginie Do (Ecole Polytechnique, France)
A Cross-Case Analysis of Instructional Strategies to Support Participation of K-8 Students with Disabilities in CS for All

ABSTRACT. Despite the proliferation of K-12 computer science (CS) programs and implementation of "CS for All" initiatives in U.S. schools, little research has been conducted on effective pedagogical approaches in K-12 CS. Even less research has focused on meeting the needs of students with disabilities. This paper presents findings from a qualitative case study examining the experiences of teachers who taught CS classes that included students with disabilities. The goal of this study was to identify pedagogical approaches that the teachers used to meet the needs of all students. Results indicated that teachers implemented three primary instructional strategies to address the needs of students with disabilities including facilitating student collaboration, using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, and using explicit instruction to teach CS concepts.

Philip Buffum (North Carolina State University, United States)
Kimberly Price (University of Florida, United States)
Xiaoxi Zheng (University of Florida, United States)
Kristy Boyer (University of Florida, United States)
Eric Wiebe (North Carolina State University, United States)
Bradford Mott (North Carolina State University, United States)
David Blackburn (University of Florida, United States)
James Lester (North Carolina State University, United States)
Introducing the Computer Science Concept of Variables in Middle School Science Classrooms

ABSTRACT. The K-12 Computer Science Framework has established that students should be learning about the computer science concept of variables as early as middle school, although the field has not yet determined how this and other related concepts should be introduced. Secondary school computer science curricula such as Exploring CS and AP CS Principles often teach the concept of variables in the context of algebra, which most students have already encountered in their mathematics courses. However, when strategizing how to introduce the concept at the middle school level, we confront the reality that many middle schoolers have not yet learned algebra. With that challenge in mind, this position paper makes a case for introducing the concept of variables in the context of middle school science. In addition to an analysis of existing curricula, the paper includes discussion of a day-long pilot study and the consequent teacher feedback that further supports the approach. The CS For All initiative has increased interest in bringing computer science to middle school classrooms; this paper makes an argument for doing so in a way that can benefit students’ learning of both computer science and core science content.

08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20D: Active Learning #1
Stan Kurkovsky (Central Connecticut State University, United States)
Location: 317
Lijuan Cao (University of North Carolina Charlotte, United States)
Audrey Rorrer (University of North Carolina Charlotte, United States)
An Active and Collaborative Approach to Teaching Discrete Structures

ABSTRACT. It has been long established that discrete structures is an important and foundational component of the computer science curriculum. However, the topics covered in this course tend to be more abstract than those covered in most other introductory computer science courses. This leads to additional challenges for instructors and students. To deal with these challenges, we introduce a new pedagogy for teaching this course. Our approach is based on a variant of the flipped classroom paradigm and is comprised of four main components: before class preparatory work, in-class mini lecture, in-class team based problem solving activities, and weekly individual assignments. In this paper, we discuss these components in detail. Our approach is informed by several cutting-edge teaching methodologies including active learning, light weight teams, and gamification. We conclude the paper by discussing the results of a survey taken by the students and a summary of the grades attained in the class. These show that our approach was well received by the students and has lead to good learning outcomes.

Saúl Blanco (Indiana University Bloomington, United States)
Active Learning in a Discrete Mathematics Class

ABSTRACT. In this paper, we describe the active learning and collaborative learning activities implemented in an introductory mid-size discrete mathematics course for Informatics majors. Active learning and collaborative learning have been used to increase student engagement, but incorporating them in smaller classes is a completely different experience from doing so in larger classes. We offer some tips and suggestions on how to incorporate these activities in larger classes including the utilization of undergraduate teaching assistants during lectures, and allowing students to work together in worksheets during lectures with the help of the teaching staff. Course questionnaires collected from five different sections that ran in the spring, summer, and fall of 2016 with around 60 to 70 students suggest that this approach has been well-received. Furthermore, the DFW rate (the proportion of students that received a D, F, or withdrew from the class) of these sections was lower than the DFW rate of other sections that shared the same evaluations (exams, homework assignments, and quizzes) and grading scheme to determine the final letter grade.

Darina Dicheva (Winston-Salem State University, United States)
Austin Hodge (Winston-Salem State University, United States)
Active Learning through Game Play in a Data Structures Course

ABSTRACT. Data Structures is a fundamental Computer Science discipline, challenging students’ abstract thinking, problem solving and programming skills. In this paper, we present an educational game intended to explicate several features hindering students’ understanding of the data structure Stack on conceptual and practical level. The game targets all three aspects of teaching data structures: conceptualization, application and implementation. These aspects are embodied as three parts of the game tied together through a meaningful storyline. The application part targets the use of stacks to solve problems, such as converting arithmetic expressions from infix to postfix notation and evaluating postfix and infix expressions. The implementation part involves solving Parson’s problems and writing Java code for implementing the methods of the Stack class. The results of the conducted evaluation of the game show statistically significant learning gains for the students and a strong positive attitude towards this type of active learning.

08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20E: High School #1
Manuel Perez-Quinones (University of North Carolina, Charlotte, United States)
Location: 319
Christine Alvarado (University of California San Diego, United States)
Gustavo Umbelino (University of California San Diego, United States)
Mia Minnes (University of California San Diego, United States)
The Persistent Effect of Pre-College Computing Experience on College CS Course Grades [BEST PAPER CS EDUCATION TRACK]

ABSTRACT. Many students who major in computer science in college have little or no pre-college computing experience. Previous work has shown that inexperienced students under-perform their experienced peers when placed in the same introductory courses, and are more likely to drop out of the CS program. However, not much is known about what, if any, differences may persist beyond the introductory sequence for students who remain in the program. We conducted a study across all levels of a CS program at a large public university in the United States to determine whether grade differences exist between students with and without pre-college experience, and if so, for what types of experiences. We find that significant grade differences are present in courses at all levels of the program. We further find that students who took AP Computer Science receive significantly higher average grades---by up to a half grade---in nearly all courses we studied. Other formal and informal pre-college experiences also lead to better average grades compared with having no pre-college experience. Pre-college experience appears to have a weaker relationship with retention and with low-stakes assessment grades. We discuss the limitations of these findings and implications for high school and college level CS courses and programs.

Kevin Robinson (MIT Teaching Systems Lab, United States)
Justin Reich (MIT Teaching Systems Lab, United States)
Using Online Practice Spaces to Investigate Challenges in Enacting Principles of Equitable Computer Science Teaching

ABSTRACT. Equity is a core component of many computer science teacher preparation programs. One promising approach is addressing unconscious bias in teachers, which may impact teacher expectations and interactions with students. Since early intervention literature indicates that asking individuals to suppress biases is counterproductive, our work uses online interactive case studies as practice spaces to focus on teaching decisions that may be impacted by unconscious bias. Our initial findings indicate that when embedded within teacher preparation programs, practice spaces produce rich learning opportunities, and our analysis yields insights into how beliefs or biases may interfere with principles of equity like disrupting preparatory privilege.

Yvonne Kao (WestEd, United States)
Katie D'Silva (WestEd, United States)
Aleata Hubbard (WestEd, United States)
Joseph Green (WestEd, United States)
Kimkinyona Cully (WestEd, United States)
Applying the Mathematical Work of Teaching Framework to Develop a Computer Science Pedagogical Content Knowledge Assessment

ABSTRACT. Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is specialized knowledge necessary to teach a subject. PCK integrates subject-matter content knowledge with knowledge of students and of teaching strategies so that teachers can perform the daily tasks of teaching. Studies in mathematics education have found correlations between measures of PCK and student learning. Finding robust, scalable ways for developing and measuring computer science teachers’ PCK is particularly important in CS education in the United States, given the lack of formal CS teacher preparation programs and certifications. However, measuring pedagogical content knowledge is a challenge for all subject areas because it can be difficult to write assessment items that elicit the different aspects of PCK and because there are often multiple appropriate pedagogical choices in any given teaching scenario. In this paper, we describe a framework and pilot data from a questionnaire intended to elicit PCK from teachers of high school introductory CS courses and propose future directions for this work.

08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20F: Special Session: SIGCSE Filk Circle: CS Parody Songs for Learning, Engagement, and Fun
Location: 309
John P. Dougherty (Haverford College, United States)
Pat Virtue (University of California, Berkeley, United States)
Steven A. Wolfman (The University of British Columbia, Canada)
SIGCSE Filk Circle: Computing in Verse

ABSTRACT. We celebrate the long tradition of computing parody songs (“filks”) and their potential to contribute to education and a fun environment in CS courses with live music and collaborative parody. We perform several new and classic filks, such as “Like it Called on Me (QuickSort)”, interspersing discussion of how and why these parodies were written. We also propose a song for the audience to parody and walk them through a structured small-group activity to help them brainstorm topics and lyrical phrases and fit them to the existing lyrics and music. Attendees should expect to laugh (and possibly cry) with the singing and also leave inspired to create and incorporate filks in their own computing education practice.

08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20G: Special Session: Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education
Location: 310
Diana Burley (The George Washington University, United States)
Matt Bishop (University of California, Davis, United States)
Siddharth Kaza (Towson University, United States)
Scott Buck (Intel, United States)
Allen Parrish (US Naval Academy, United States)
David Gibson (US Air Force Academy, United States)
Herbert Mattord (Kennesaw State University, United States)
Special Session: Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education

ABSTRACT. In this special session, members of the Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education will provide an overview of the CSEC2017 curricular guidelines (to be finalized in late 2017) and engage session participants in a discussion of the curricular framework and body of knowledge. The session will conclude with an interactive panel discussion on implementing the curricular guidance.

08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20H: Special Session: Repositories You Shouldn't Be Living Without
Location: 315
Adrienne Decker (Rochester Institute of Technology, United States)
Monica M McGill (Knox College, United States)
Leigh Ann Delyser (CSforAllConsortium, United States)
Beth Quinn (NCWIT, United States)
Miles Berry (University of Roehampton, UK)
Kathy Haynie (Haynie Research and Evaluation, United States)
Tom McKlin (The Findings Group, United States)
Repositories You Shouldn't Be Living Without

ABSTRACT. Over the last few years, a number of repositories of information relevant to the computing education community have come online, each with different content and purpose. In this special session, we present an overview of these repositories and the content that each provides. Demonstrations of the functionality of the repositories will be shown and attendees are encouraged to come with their questions and suggestions for improvement if they are currently users of the repositories.

08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20I: Panel: Maryland Computing Education
Location: 307
Jan Plane (University of Maryland, United States)
Rebecca Zarch (SageFox Consulting Group, United States)
Dianne O'Grady-Cunniff (Charles County Public Schools, United States)
Scott Nichols (Maryland State Department of Education, United States)
Pat Yongpradit (, United States)
Marie desJardins (University of Maryland, Baltimore County, United States)
Maryland Computing Education Expansion: From Grassroots to the MCCE

ABSTRACT. The panel will be addressing the growth of computer science education in the state of Maryland from a wide variety of perspectives. This growth spans many years and has culminated in a state wide advisory board for computing education and the establishment of the Maryland Center for Computing Education. The panel contains members representing higher education, K-12 education, statewide department of education, project reviewers, and content/PD providers. With this variety we will encourage the audience to identify people in their state for the variety of roles in order to help other states have state-wide movements to promote and support computer science for all.

08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20J: Graduate ACM Student Research Competition Semi-finalist Presentations
Sarah Heckman (North Carolina State University, United States)
Jessica Schmidt (North Carolina State University, United States)
Location: 318
08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20K: Underfgraduate ACM Student Research Competition Semi-finalist Presentations
Sarah Heckman (North Carolina State University, United States)
Jessica Schmidt (North Carolina State University, United States)
Location: 321
08:45-10:00 Session Sat-20L: Nifty Session
Nick Parlante (Stanford University, United States)
Julie Zelenski (Stanford University, United States)
Location: 308
Nick Parlante (Stanford, United States)
Julie Zelenski (Stanford, United States)
Michael Guerzhoy (University of Toronto, Canada)
Ali Malik (Stanford University, United States)
Josh Hug (University of California, Berkeley, United States)
Ben Stephenson (University of Calgary, Canada)
Philip Ventura (University of South Florida, United States)
David Reed (Creighton University, United States)
Nifty Assignments

ABSTRACT. 2018 version of Nifty Assignments.

08:45-10:00 Session Sat-Incl-Inclusion: Invited Inclusion Session: Inclusive Teaching


Brianna Blaser, Andrew J. Ko, Richard E. Ladner, University of Washington


This special session will address how to include students with disabilities in computing classes and other educational activities at all levels of education,: K-12, college, and graduate school. There will a review of known pedagogical strategies and technical accommodations that students with and without disabilities can benefit from, as well as breakouts to discuss practical issues around inclusion of students with disabilities.

Richard Ladner (University of Washington, United States)
Location: 322
08:45-09:10 Session Sat-sis-SIGCHI: SIGCHI Highlight: Teaching Interaction Design: How we Support Teaching and Learning to and Design and Future Interactive Systems

SIGCHI is ACM’s special Interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Interactive systems are the SIGCHI’s domain for research, practice, education, and art.  The state of the art on core development on interactive systems is a moving target: from programming languages to the architecture of the user interface, to usability engineering, to user centred design, to ubiquitous computing, to service design, and to experience design. It is a major SIGCHI goal to initiate, to stimulate, and to support educational and learning activities and educational projects in this evolving domain.

During the last 6 years the SIGCHI Education Community is developing and collecting educational resources and organizing workshops at the major SICHI conferences. SIGCHI has developed and is maintaining, a structure of courses in the domain, providing a full educational curriculum for attendees of the conferences, where the annual CHI conference is the major venue.

SIGCHI supports SIGCHI student members without travel funds to participate to any of the 24 SIGCHI conferences when their submission has been accepted (SSTG - the SIGCHI Student Travel Grant). SIGCHI aims at universal participation of any students from developing countries to attend any SIGCHI conference or other HCI related conference or summer school (Gary Marsden Fund). SIGCHI annually supports about 10 new summer- or winter school initiatives in the domain of HCI.


Location: 323
09:10-09:35 Session Sat-sis-SIGHPC: SIGHPC highlight: Education and Training Activities for Computational Science and High Performance Computing

Steven I. Gordon, Ohio Supercomputer Center,
Katharine Cahill, Ohio Supercomputer Center,
Scott Lathrop, Shodor Education Foundation,

The SIGHPC Education Chapter of the ACM focuses on the promotion of interest in and knowledge of applications of High Performance Computing (HPC) and computation and
data-enabled science and engineering (CDS&E). The chapter partners with a number of other organizations and projects to disseminate a wide range of materials and opportunities for training and education in CDS&E and HPC. SIGHPC and Intel have been sponsoring graduate
fellowships in computational and data science. The education chapter holds regular webinars and maintains a list of computational science training and education materials. The chapter has recently organized a set of activities to expand the reach of their efforts in conjunction with a number of partner organizations. We will review those efforts and provide examples of activities and materials that are available to the community as a whole. We will describe various opportunities for the international community to participate in and benefit from Education Chapter resources and services, and to foster collaborations with other organizations pursuing
complementary efforts.

Steven I. Gordon (Ohio Supercomputer Center, United States)
Location: 323
10:00-10:45Breaks, Exhibits and Demos
10:00-12:00 Session Sat-21A: Poster Session #3
Location: Exhibit Hall
Frieda McAlear (Kapor Center for Social Impact, United States)
Allison Scott (Kapor Center for Social Impact, United States)
Sonia Koshy (Kapor Center for Social Impact, United States)
Alexis Martin (Kapor Center for Social Impact, United States)
Do social and emotional learning outcomes and instructional practices promote persistence in computer science for underrepresented secondary students of color?

ABSTRACT. In order to inform ongoing efforts to broaden participation in computing, this study examines an NSF-funded CS initiative which provides a three summer sequence of rigorous, culturally relevant, and project based exposure opportunities for underrepresented secondary school students of color. Previous studies demonstrated that the CS initiative increased the rate of majoring in CS in college more than eight fold. This study uses quantitative data from the summer 2017 CS program and subsequent CS academic year data to examine persistence in CS on a more granular scale. In particular, instructional practices, social and emotional learning outcomes, and course taking data are examined to understand the factors which increase student persistence in taking secondary computer science courses. Findings include a significant relationship between social and emotional learning outcomes and persistence in CS for underrepresented students of color and the importance of student participation and relevant assignments to the development of resilience in CS. This poster is intended to stimulate discussion about best and promising instructional and pedagogical practices to foster resilience and persistence in CS for African American and Latinx students.

Amber Solomon (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States)
Vedant Pradeep (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States)
Sarah Li (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States)
Mark Guzdial (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States)
The Role of Gestures in Learning Computer Science

ABSTRACT. Computer science teachers want to know what their students are and are not learning and understanding. Gestures, or spontaneous hand movements produced when talking, could help teachers understand what their students are thinking. During communication, gestures often reflect thoughts not expressed when people talk (Goldin-Meadow & Wagner, 2005). Listeners can then extract meaningful information from the gestures they see. For learning computer science, gestures may be an external representation of students’ understandings of code. In this research, we conducted a qualitative study observing and interviewing a high school CS1 class to understand how and when gestures were used. Findings suggest gestures convey different meanings in different contexts. When students trace code, their gestures show how well they understand the code’s execution. In another context when students described their code to the teacher or other students, the students’ gestures showed how abstracted their knowledge was. Students who understood their code made more general gestures while students who did not made pointing gestures as though they were describing each line of their code. These findings suggest that teachers could use students’ gestures as a formative assessment to understand how well their students are learning.

Meg Ray (Cornell Tech, United States)
Diane Levitt (Cornell Tech, United States)
Maya Israel (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States)
Teacher in Residence: Coaching for Computational Agency

ABSTRACT. As CS for All initiatives expand in K-12 districts across the country, there is a need to create ongoing teacher support and training. Cornell Tech’s Teacher in Residence program builds computational agency. Agency is often defined as the power to freely act and make choices. The Teacher in Residence program seeks to build the agency of school administrators, teachers, and students to make choices about CS education and to act on them based on a foundation of content knowledge rather than programs bound to specific tools or individuals. The Teacher in Residence program is grounded in evidence-based practices, but has made unique adaptations in order to support teachers who are new to CS content. The writers will share practices, learnings, and preliminary outcomes from the first year and a half of the program. His data includes qualitative measures of teacher confidence, agency, and accuracy as well as initial data on student engagement and generalization.

The Teacher in Residence program includes K-8 teachers who are incorporating CS instruction into their classrooms. In this program, a master teacher is embedded in a school community for a limited amount of time to coach teachers, offer professional development, and consult with the administration about implementation. It focuses on three elements: content proficiency, appropriate pedagogy, and giving equitable access to all students.

June Mark (Education Development Center, United States)
Broadening Participation in AP Computer Science Principles: Lessons Learned from Implementation of Beauty and Joy of Computing in NYC

ABSTRACT. The Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC; is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded curriculum and professional development program developed jointly by EDC and UC Berkeley that is endorsed by the College Board for use in preparing students for the new Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles (CSP) exam. The purpose of this course is to attract more students, and particularly girls and underrepresented minority students, to the breadth and depth of ideas in modern computer science. Iterative refinement and implementation of the curriculum is being conducted in New York City (NYC) in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. BJC uses Snap!, a visual programming language based on Scratch that supports recursion and higher-order functions. BJC aims to expose students to the beauty and joy of programming itself, not just the products of programming. BJC takes a project-based learning approach (using games, art, mathematics, language, etc.), rather than a topical approach, and is aimed at helping students develop computational habits of mind including abstraction and modularity, and understand the power of algorithms, the logic of predicates, the value of modeling, and the use of conditionals and other control structures. Investigation and discussion of the social issues of computing, with labs on privacy, copyright, artificial intelligence, networking, and cybersecurity, are central to the curriculum. In this poster, the authors share curriculum examples and projects, results of formative research on teacher and student experiences with the curriculum, and preliminary results evaluating teacher and student outcomes including engagement, attitudes, and achievement outcomes.

Yifat Amir (University of California, Berkeley, United States)
Modeling Student Engagement and Attrition in BJCx, a CS Principles MOOC

ABSTRACT. One method of increasing accessibility to computer science education is through massive open online courses (MOOCs). The Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJCx) MOOC on edX is an introductory computer science course aimed to reach a broad audience of learners. However, like most MOOCs, BJCx faces high rates of student attrition. Student attrition in MOOCs is commonplace, averaging about 91-93%4. Some attrition can be attributed to variance of student intentions; there are students who enroll to browse the material with no intentions of completing the course. However, the attrition of other students who intend to finish may be reduced if course staff could predict it based on the students’ behavior and thus implement an intervention. In this project, I explore how patterns of student engagement with course material can help predict attrition. Using a recurrent neural network, I model student engagement behavior over time. Engagement behavior includes activities such as asking/answering questions on the Q&A forum, attempting lab or homework exercises, watching lecture videos, and more. I am then able to analyze the behavioral patterns which are likely to precede student attrition. In relation to the course content, I explore which topics in the course curriculum most often immediately precede students dropping out. I visualize the time-series trends overlaid with the course curriculum in order to gain insights into correlations between introductory computer science topics and student attrition. This information, along with the predictive student engagement model, can inform course staff on designing interventions.

Jeremiah Blanchard (University of Florida, United States)
Christina Gardner-Mccune (University of Florida, United States)
Lisa Anthony (University of Florida, United States)
How Perceptions of Programming Differ in Children with and without Prior Experience

ABSTRACT. The computing and STEM industries face challenges in attracting people to fill expanding needs. The literature shows that computing preconceptions shape interest in and impact decisions of whether or not to enter computing disciplines, especially for women and underrepresented minorities. In this study, we examined perceptions of programming in elementary and middle school students. We specifically focused on what programming constructs they found challenging and how perceptions varied based on prior programming experience. Our study was in the context of a week-long Scratch-based game development summer camp and semi-structured interviews conducted at the beginning, middle, and end of the program. During the interviews, students were asked about their perceptions of programming in general and about which programming constructs they found easy and easy. We found that all students perceived programming as a means of creating artifacts and that students with prior programming experience also associated programming with process and function. We also characterize the specific Scratch programming constructs that beginning versus experienced children perceive as hard or easy. These findings will help experts and educators better understand how children think about programming and how experience changes these perceptions over time. These findings also have implications on the design of curricula and instructional resources to address the difficulties children face while learning to program.

Karen Jin (University of New Hampshire, United States)
A "Loopy" Encounter: Teaching Elementary Students the Concept of Loops

ABSTRACT. Loops are a fundamental concept in computing and well known to be difficult for novices. Recent research shows that the open-ended learning approach often used in teaching block-based programming can be insufficient to help young students gain a solid understanding of computing concepts. Misconceptions about loop are very common despite the user-friendly block-based programming syntax. This study aims to contribute to the current understanding of how elementary-aged students can learn the concept of loops through a more structured instructional design. We engage students in structured learning activities consisting of ``tangible" programming concept demo and progressive problem solving exercises. These activities were used to teach a group of 3-5th graders two types of loops: counting loops that repeat a set number of times without logic conditions, and conditional loops where the loop iteration is controlled by a Boolean condition. The evaluation results indicate that most students are able to understand and use counting loops correctly in their programs after the weeklong class. The understanding of conditional loops, however, remains difficult for elementary-aged students. Our study suggests that computing concepts may be learned more effectively with a structured instruction setting. Nonetheless, teaching young students conditional loops, especially how to apply them in computational problem solving is a very challenging task even in block-based environments.

David Touretzky (Carnegie Mellon University, United States)
Christina Gardner-Mccune (University of Florida, United States)
Joseph Isaac Jr. (University of Florida, United States)
Laura Tomokiyo (University of Pittsburgh, United States)
Couplets: Helping Elementary School Students Recognize Structure in Code

ABSTRACT. For several years we’ve been working on teaching elementary school students to reason about programs. We believe that teaching this kind of reasoning is as important as teaching students to write programs. However, to facilitate development of this cognitive skill in young children it is important to choose the right domain. We use Kodu Game Lab because one can write interesting, non-trivial programs in two to four lines, and analyzing these programs is within the abilities of a typical 8 year old.

Reasoning about programs requires students to understand the structure of code. The kind of analysis we have in mind is analogous to sentence diagramming, where one starts with a sequence of words and develops a representation of the syntactic and semantic relationships within the sentence. In this poster we describe such a technique for analyzing Kodu programs to reveal the presence of an important design pattern called Pursue and Consume. Using our novel “couplets” technique to uncover this pattern leads to accurate predictions of program behavior, or uncovering of bugs if the pattern is not fully realized.

In a study of 40 third graders learning Kodu who were given brief instruction in the couplets technique, we found that they were able to apply it to 3-4 line programs and achieve correct response rates of roughly 85% for prediction questions. Our results suggest that elementary school children can learn to reason abstractly about programs if given the right mental tools.

Brittany Fasy (Montana State University, United States)
Stacey Hancock (Montana State University, United States)
Jachiike Madubuko (Montana State University, United States)
Samuel Micka (Montana State University, United States)
Allison Theobold (Montana State University, United States)
American Indian Storytelling with Alice

ABSTRACT. Montana is home to a large American Indian population and a rich history. Indian Education for All (IEFA) is a program that was introduced to Montana through the Indian Education for All Law, passed in 1999, and reinforces the educational goals stated in Montana’s 1972 Constitution, “every Montanan, whether Indian or non-Indian, be encouraged to learn about the distinct and unique heritage of American Indians in a culturally responsive manner.” This program requires that American Indian education be integrated into the curriculum of schools in Montana, making Montana the only state to mandate Indian education by law. In an attempt to increase participation in computer science (CS) and related fields, we propose an integration of CS concepts into the IEFA curriculum. To make these concepts approachable, we utilize Alice, a programming language released in 1998. This software allows students to tell stories while learning programming techniques in a user-friendly drag and drop programming environment. Furthermore, Alice 2 allows developers to create customized models for the software. Models can be created in a variety of 3D modelling tools, such as 3ds Max. In this poster, we present an overview of the Storytelling project, a summary of outreach programs we have already done, two examples of lesson plans that we plan to implement in the near future, and a description of the 3-D model creation process. With these lesson plans and customized models, we strive to broaden participation of students from rural and American Indian communities in Computer Science.

Jill Denner (ETR (Education, Training, Research), United States)
Shannon Campe (ETR (Education Training Research), United States)
Computer Science Pathways for Latino/a Youth in a Community Technology Center

ABSTRACT. Latino/a youth are interested in computer science, but have less access to computers and role models, and lower confidence to pursue computer science activities than their peers in the US (Google Inc & Gallup Inc, 2016). Little is known about how to create learning environments outside of school that attract and retain Latino/a youth who come with a range of computer science interest, preparation, and resources. This poster will describe how one community technology center in a low income rural community provides opportunities and supports for students to pursue technical education and work experiences, and the role it plays in creating computer science (CS) pathways. Survey data from 97 high school students were used to describe variations in students’ motivation to participate at the center, how those motivations change over time, and the factors that contribute to students entering a CS pathway. Interviews with 20 students were used to identify the different ways that students entered a CS pathway, including the influence of natural mentors, relationships with peers, and digital badges, as well as the factors that prevent them away from participating in computational activities. The data were used to generate case studies that provide an in-depth look at the factors that promote or undermine CS pathways over time. The findings have implications for designing learning ecologies that support high school students from under resourced communities to enter and stay on computer science pathways.

Leigh Ann Delyser (NYC Foundation for CS Education, United States)
Lauren Wright (NYC Foundation for CS Education, United States)
Creating a Landscape of K-12 CS Curriculum

ABSTRACT. This poster presents an landscape analysis of a subset of the curriculum available for K-12 computer science. The landscape is organized by grade band and concept areas defined by the K-12 CS Education Framework. In the poster we show both the breadth of topics available in curriculum for schools, as well as the areas in which curriculum is not widely available.

Kimberly Huett (University of West Georgia, United States)
Carl Westine (University of North Carolina - Charlotte, United States)
Using Needs Assessment to Inform a Rural School District’s Efforts to Expand Access to Computer Science Education

ABSTRACT. The remoteness of rural K-12 school districts brings unique challenges to school leaders seeking to expand access to computer science education. Limited resources and perceived relevance of computer science education to rural life are but some of the challenges rural school leaders may face. To ensure the success of the current computer science education reform movement, reformers should incorporate needs assessment into their rationale for change. Supported by insights from a needs assessment, school district leaders are equipped to make the case to stakeholders for the need for computer science education. In the current study, two university-based educational researchers in the State of Georgia conducted a qualitative needs assessment single-case study to explore the challenges and opportunities a rural school district faces in broadening access to computer science education. The researchers used a collaborative process to guide the assessment of the school district’s resources, educational programming, and outcomes. Data collection and analysis included documents, archival records, school walk-throughs of the district’s five schools, and 15 in-depth interviews with administrators and teachers. Findings included the identification and prioritization of needs as well as themes related to challenges faced by the school district in broadening access to computing. Visitors to this poster session will have the opportunity to learn about one rural school district’s unique case and what it suggests for expanding rural computer science initiatives.

Diane Levitt (Cornell Tech, United States)
Judith Spitz (Cornell Tech, United States)
Impact of a Pre-College Summer Workshop on Women’s Confidence and Interest in Pursuing Undergraduate Computer Science Studies

ABSTRACT. While 57% of US undergraduate degrees are awarded to women, women account for only 18% of computer science and related degrees. Studies of recent interventions have shown promise in increasing the number of women who choose to major or minor in computing or related disciplines. Two key findings from this research indicate the promising impact of high school outreach and providing a “mission driven” context for computer science for young women. This poster will present early findings from a pre-college summer experiential learning program where students are taught and then engage in the entire digital product development lifecycle including all of the elements of design thinking as well as an introduction to Python coding in the context of a real-world civic or business challenge. The poster will present the results of changes in student’s self-reported attitudes, academic plans and acquisition of computing skills based on pre- and post-surveys, a selection and analysis of qualitative data provided by students via daily exit tickets, and the number of students registered for computer science or related classes during their freshman year.

Roxana Hadad (Center for College Access and Success - Northeastern Illinois University, United States)
C. Meghan Hausman Jacobson (Center for College Access and Success - Northeastern Illinois University, United States)
Kate Thomas (Center for College Access and Success - Northeastern Illinois University, United States)
Germania Solórzano (Center for College Access and Success - Northeastern Illinois University, United States)
Mila Kachovska (Become, Inc., United States)
Yue Yin (University of Illinois at Chicago, United States)
Using cultural responsiveness to elicit computational thinking in maker environments

ABSTRACT. Work in culturally responsive pedagogy and, specifically, culturally responsive computing (Scott, et al., 2014), holds promise for how to include underrepresented students into making communities as they develop their computational thinking (CT) skills. Culturally responsive computing involves teachers connecting with their students’ individual culture and identities, generating from their own unique contexts; using what they know to develop learning opportunities; having high expectations; and understanding the sociopolitical context in which their students exist (Ladson-Billings, 1995). By integrating these approaches into makerspaces, students are not just invited to enter a space with pre-determined cultural norms, but encouraged to question established assumptions that limit the development of inclusive technology and innovation. This poster will explore preliminary results from a mixed methods multiple case study. Sixteen high school students participated in a two-week summer program that focused on developing CT and physics skills and knowledge in a makerspace. Throughout the two weeks, the instructors asked students to share elements of their identities, bring in artifacts for “show and tell”, collect data on how students spend their time, and categorize assets in their communities. We analyzed classroom observations, videos, interviews and notebooks of the students, as well as students' pre-post tests and attitudinal surveys. Our findings reflect the importance of valuing student identity, building community, and bringing to the forefront how physics and CT affect students’ lives. More information on the project can be found at

Carol Ramsey (The University of Texas at Austin, United States)
Justin Cannady (The University of Texas at Austin, United States)
Michael Degraff (The University of Texas at Austin, United States)
Closing the Gender and Underrepresented Minority Gap in CS: UTeach Computer Science Principles AP Assessment Results

ABSTRACT. The existence of gender and racial/ethnic participation gaps in computing is a well documented problem motivating several interventions aimed at attracting and retaining women and underrepresented students (Black or African American, Latinx, and Native American students) in computing. One of these interventions was the development of the College Board’s AP (Advanced Placement) Computer Science Principles (CSP) course. The AP CSP course provides computer literacy important for all students and also a holistic introduction to computer science that might encourage additional computer science course work. UTeach CSP is UTeach’s Project-Based Learning (PBL) curriculum, designed for the College Board’s CSP course. This poster will present the 2017 UTeach Computer Science Principles (CSP) AP pass rates, which were higher than the overall rates of the College Board AP CSP assessment, especially for girls and underrepresented populations. The poster will outline the UTeach CSP professional learning program and curriculum characteristics, including PBL, which likely contributed to the higher pass rates.

Thea Charles (Siegel Family Endowment, United States)
Amber Oliver (Robin Hood Foundation, United States)
Kate Mulloy (Robin Hood Foundation, United States)
Effective Models for Integrating Computational Thinking into NYC Elementary Schools: A Proposed Research Agenda

ABSTRACT. Initial research shows the promise of instructional and learning benefits for students when computational thinking is effectively integrated across the curriculum. Benefits include building higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills, creating real-world applied contexts, and enabling students to create, produce and interact with information. These are critical levers to wide adoption. To address this challenge, in partnership with the Education Development Center, we have developed a three-year study in which we will work closely with five high-poverty New York City elementary schools that, with the help of an external implementation partner, are trying out distinctly different approaches to integrating CT into elementary instruction, in order to understand how those models work in various contexts, and which models may be particularly effective.Our poster will display the proposed integration model of our first demonstration site as well as the indicators and instruments we are using to understand how this model works.

Jayce Warner (University of Texas at Austin, Center for STEM Ed, United States)
Carol Fletcher (University of Texas at Austin, Center for STEM Ed, United States)
Wesley Monroe (University of Texas at Austin, Center for STEM Ed, United States)
Lisa Garbrecht (University of Texas at Austin, Center for STEM Ed, United States)
Growing the High School CS Teacher Workforce: Predictors of Success in Achieving CS Certification

ABSTRACT. With the goal of better understanding how to increase the computer science (CS) teacher workforce, this study examines the factors that predict eventual success in achieving teacher certification in CS. Participants (N = 500) were teachers who were certified in other subject areas and who expressed an interest in becoming certified to teach computer science in Texas. Results showed that participants were more likely to become certified in CS if they already held a certification in another STEM field or if they had some prior knowledge in CS. Teacher participation in an online professional development course predicted certification success after controlling for prior CS knowledge and other factors whereas participation in face-to-face professional development did not. These findings have implications for policy makers and professional development providers who make investments of time and money to grow CS teacher capacity and increase student access to computer science education at the high school level.

Jennifer Sabourin (SAS Institute, Inc, United States)
Lucy Kosturko (SAS Institute, Inc, United States)
Scott Mcquiggan (SAS Inc., United States)
SpatialCS: CS to Support Spatial Reasoning

ABSTRACT. Spatial reasoning skills are highly predictive of STEM achievement and self-efficacy, yet they are not often part of computer science curricula. In an effort to support spatial reasoning and STEM development, we have created several activities using SAS® CodeSnaps, a free coding environment that brings coding to the physical world through 3-dimensional problem solving and tangible coding blocks. In these activities students represent and navigate real-world obstacle courses in order to solve coding challenges. Tangible coding blocks allow students to organize and interact with code in ways that both build upon and use spatial reasoning skills. These blocks are then scanned and executed by a robot – bringing their code, and any mistakes, off the screen and into the real world. Together these features offer opportunities for developing spatial reasoning while using existing skills in support of CS learning. This approach meets students where they are; thinking, engaging and interacting with the physical world.

Sara-Lynn Gopalkrishna (George Washington University, United States)
Implementation of a District-Level CS for All Policy – What Can We Learn?

ABSTRACT. In states, school districts, individual schools, and alone in classrooms, educators are providing access to computer science (CS) for more students than ever before. Many are learning as they go. Education leaders and teachers are finding effective tools for hurdles to expanding CS access through their own experiences, formal and informal networks, and partnerships with external organizations. However, much is known in the education policy community which can be applied to CS for All efforts. This poster presents the framework for a doctoral dissertation which examines the implementation of a CS for All policy using a policy implementation lens. The site of the study is a school district that was an early adopter of CS for All; Computational thinking activities were inserted into K-8 classrooms and all high schools introduced accessible and rigorous CS classes. The “story” of this district provides both models and cautions for those undertaking CS for All initiatives. Replicating implementation is unrealistic since educational environments are unique and complex. The questions inspiring this work are not about how to implement a CS for All policy, but rather about the conditions under which CS for All policy was implemented in this school district (Honig, 2006). The framework presented is developed from education implementation literature with consideration for the challenges unique to CS for All. Those working in CS education will identify how their experiences fit into the framework and can use it to move their own work ahead.

Fred Martin (University of Massachusetts Lowell, United States)
Chike Abuah (University of Massachusetts Lowell, United States)
Subhajit Chakrabarty (University of Massachusetts Lowell, United States)
David Nguyen (University of Massachusetts Lowell, United States)
Mark Sherman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States)
Diane Schilder (Evaluation Analysis Solutions, Inc., United States)
The Tablet Game: An Embedded Assessment for Measuring Students’ Programming Skill in App Inventor

ABSTRACT. Assessing students’ learning of concepts in programming is an essential part of teaching computer science. We developed an assessment activity that measures students’ skill in identifying programming structures used to create various behaviors in MIT App Inventor. Called the Tablet Game, the assessment was implemented as interactive app on an Android device. Students were shown live behaviors of elements on the screen, and then in a multiple-choice format, asked to select which code-blocks would create those behaviors.

We tested the Tablet Game in two week-long app development summer camps held with middle school students. Students completed the same assessment at the beginning and end of the week. Students also completed pre/post surveys which measured interest levels in computer science, gathered ethnographic data, and asked students to report on prior programming experience. Each student’s work on the Tablet Game was matched to that student’s pre/post survey responses.

We have matched pre/post survey and Tablet Game data from 44 students. Our results indicate that (1) students’ overall performance improved on the six questions related to material taught during the camp; (2) students’ performance did not improve on six other questions on material not taught; and (3) students’ self-reported level of prior experience in App Inventor was correlated with the degree of pre/post gain on the first six questions. All of these results were statistically significant.

Dale Thompson (University of Arkansas, United States)
Himasri Lekkala (University of Arkansas, United States)
Preliminary Results of TACT Integration and Confidence Levels on Seven Big Ideas of CS

ABSTRACT. Training Arkansas Computing Teachers (TACT) is an NSF-funded three-year project which is designed to rapidly address both a) Arkansas’ pressing need for computer science (CS) talent and b) the new law requiring all Arkansas high schools to provide access to CS instruction for their students. The goal is to train high school teachers on computational thinking practices and the seven big ideas (creativity, abstraction, data and information, algorithms, programming, the Internet, and global impact) from the AP CS Principles curriculum framework for computer science and to enable them to become CS-certified teachers. The TACT professional development (PD) consists of a two-week face-to-face hands-on workshop for high school teachers during the summer and offers online support throughout the year. During the first week of PD, TACT hosts the UTeach CS Principles course, which is a classroom-ready curriculum designed in alignment with the CS Principles framework. During the second week of PD, TACT hosts the TACT CS Boot Camp designed to cover computer science topics that are typically covered in licensure exams. One of the evaluations of the effectiveness of the project is measured through the surveys taken by teachers before and after the PD regarding their integration and confidence levels of topics corresponding to the seven big ideas. The poster will display our findings in tabular format which is convenient for drawing informative conclusions. The preliminary results indicate that there is a significant growth in integration and confidence levels of teachers in many of the seven big ideas. See

Shan Jiang (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Gary K.W. Wong (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Are children more motivated with plugged or unplugged approach to computational thinking?

ABSTRACT. In recent years, we have seen an increasing interest in bringing programming back to K-12 education. Many educators begin to recognize the necessity of helping children develop computational thinking (CT) as an essential skill to address 21st century challenges. In this poster, we report the preliminary findings from the first year of a 3-year longitudinal study based on a coding curriculum for Grade 4 to Grade 6 developed by the authors. This 3-year study aims to gain an understanding of how coding activities helps children at upper primary school ages develop CT for problem solving, and if this problem-solving mindset is transferrable to other contexts, for example, daily life scenario and mathematical field. A part of the research focuses on a comparative study between students’ intrinsic motivation of coding (i.e. “plugged”) activities and “unplugged” activities (i.e. learning concepts from computer science through paper-based games without programming and advanced technology), which helps us understand the advantages and disadvantages of different learning approaches to CT. At the end of the first year, around 600 fourth graders’ were assessed with their CT competence and affective tendency through: (1) a pre/post-test on the CT skill and mathematical ability; (2) a questionnaire on intrinsic motivation in plugged and unplugged activities. The preliminary findings indicate that students have gained a good programming-related knowledge and improved problem-solving skills through our curriculum. They were intrinsically motivated to participated in both types of activities. However, students did not show the ability to transfer computational thinking to mathematical context.

Andrea Bonani (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy)
Vincenzo Del Fatto (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy)
Gabriella Dodero (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy)
Rosella Gennari (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy)
Tangibles for Graph Algorithmic Thinking: Experience with Children

ABSTRACT. Smart interactive tangible objects (briefly, tangibles) can help teachers in scaffolding algorithmic thinking with 10-13 years old children. Tangibles, reported in this work, deal specifically with graph algorithmic thinking. By following an action-research design approach, tangibles were rapidly designed and used in studies with children and teachers. This poster presents their evolution and the most recent experience, a field study with 8 middle school children, and 5 primary school children, using tangibles for graph algorithmic thinking. Data collected by researchers were mixed (qualitative and quantitative), concerning engagement and learning. Results seem to indicate that tangibles engage pupils during the activity and help them understand simple and connected graphs.

Kris Jordan (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States)
Gabi Stein (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States)
The Math Gap in an Inclusive CS1 Course

ABSTRACT. We explored the data from the past year of CS1 and found overwhelming evidence that students who have taken calculus are significantly more likely to succeed and less likely to fail than those who do not. On a Fall 2016 CS1 final exam, students who had not completed a first course in calculus were 2.8 times more likely fail it than those who had (p=<0.0001, N=844). The mean final score for students with calculus was an 84, and those without was 61 (p=<0.0001). The result surprised the instructor, course staff, and faculty familiar with the course because the course itself does not emphasize mathematical or scientific computing. The course was Java-based, objects-early and introduces both object-oriented and imperative programming fundamentals. The effect was evident across a range of problems, all seemingly unrelated to calculus or advanced math. In the Spring of 2017, the instructor and course staff set forth to explore these questions and close the math gap discovered in the Fall of 2016.

This paper proposes to develop interventions to aid those with a lower math maturity level such as redesigning CS1 to move more slowly and better accommodate those with a lower math maturity level, specializing the CS1 offering to those with and without math maturity, and installing prerequisites.

Shannon Campe (ETR (Education Training Research), United States)
Jill Denner (ETR (Education Training Research), United States)
Emily Green (ETR (Education Training Research), United States)
Linda Werner (University of California Santa Cruz, United States)
Pair programming interactions in middle school: Collaborative, constructive, dismissive, or disengaged?

ABSTRACT. Pair programming is considered a best practice since it has been shown to reduce the gender gap and increases confidence for university students in introductory computer programming courses. However, little is known about what it looks like in middle school. This study was designed to provide detailed descriptions of what pair programming looks like, how it varies across demographic groups, and how it changes over time. The data presented in this poster is from a subset of a larger study (81 middle school students) which consists of 52 (26 girls; 26 boys) students (56% Latino/a; 17% White) who worked in 26 same-gender pairs (50% female) to design and program their own video game. Data include video and audio recordings, screen capture files and logging files. The findings suggest that students are spending long periods of time not interacting, and those with more experience have a third person present more often while programming. When pairs are interacting specifically about their game the girls spend more time engaging constructively around ideas and solutions in comparison to boys. The results will be used to inform strategies to support effective pair programming in middle school, and to inform future studies.

Neal Mazur (SUNY Buffalo State, United States)
Joseph Zawicki (SUNY Buffalo State, United States)
Sarbani Banerjee (SUNY Buffalo State, United States)
Attracting Secondary School Students to Computer Science through Training Teachers to Establish Computer Clubs

ABSTRACT. The presentation describes an innovative approach to help secondary school teachers enhance their computer science (CS) knowledge through the Google funded CS4HS (Computer Science for High School) program. Through a 4-day professional training workshop teachers learn different computational thinking skills, CS concepts and related tools in an attempt to promote CS education by establishing a computer club and eventually teaching CS courses in their schools. Through this program teachers also use creative problem solving to generate ideas to recruit more girls and minorities to their clubs. More than 150 teachers from more than 50 secondary schools have participated in the CS4HS workshops since the program’s inception. The result is that many of the participating teachers now have established computer clubs; many teach CS courses and many bring their club students to participate in the annual CS4HS Showcase and Competition event at Buffalo State College; all contributing to the goals of CS4HS which is to promote CS education in every secondary schools of Western New York. This will create a pipeline of aspiring CS students and help to alleviate the current and predicted shortage of CS professionals.

Gina Sprint (Gonzaga University, United States)
Andy O'Fallon (Washington State University, United States)
Engaging Programming Assignments to Recruit and Retain CS0 Students

ABSTRACT. Many universities offer an optional CS0 course taken prior to traditional CS1 and CS2 courses. Students enrolling in CS0 represent a variety of programming experience levels and majors. To more successfully recruit students to CS0 and retain students as CS majors, it is important to engage students in the course materials early on and frequently. There are several types of course materials (e.g. lesson notes, in class activities) and approaches to design engaging material (e.g. team-based learning, POGIL). In this poster, we focus on programming assignments that incorporate engagement practices put forth by the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT). NCWIT sponsors a program called EngageCSEdu (, which is a collection of peer-reviewed introductory CS materials that are contributed by faculty. All materials in the database have demonstrated evidence of NCWIT’s engagement practices. In this poster, we present seven of our programming assignments that have been accepted into the EngageCSEdu database, two of which have won Engagement Excellence awards. The assignments cover the topics in a Python-based CS0 course at Washington State University. The poster presents the assignments, their learning outcomes, and their engagement practices. We include student commentary and examples of student submissions that demonstrate students’ interest and creativity. Lastly, we present advertising materials we deployed that showcase the CS0 programming assignments to recruit more students to take the course. The assignments, student examples, and advertising efforts we present offer insights for educators about recruiting, engaging, and retaining students of all majors in introductory CS courses.

Peter Kemp (University of Roehampton, UK)
Miles Berry (University of Roehampton, UK)
Billy Wong (University of Reading, UK)
The new computing curriculum in English schools: a statistical analysis of student participation

ABSTRACT. In 2014 English schools undertook a shift from a mainly ICT based curriculum to one that focuses on computer science. New national qualifications in computer science have been introduced and ICT was subsequently phased out as a qualification in 2017. The question now arises as to whether the students who would have previously taken ICT qualifications are now taking the new computer science courses. Using student data (the National Pupil Database) for all English examinations taken by 16 and 18 year olds, we have been able to profile the student cohorts taking ICT and computing qualifications, as well as the schools offering them. We have analysed the differences between these two cohorts in terms of prior attainment, course outcomes, gender, socio-economic groupings, ethnicity, and geographic spread. We find that there are large differences between the two groups, with the computer science having far fewer female, working class and particular minority ethnic students. Computer science students tend to have achieved better in mathematics than their ICT peers, and there is some evidence that academic selection criteria are being used to restrict entry to some computing courses. We conclude that it is unlikely that all, or even most, students who would have previously sat ICT qualifications will now sit qualifications in computer science. The shift in curriculum and examinations appears to be producing a less inclusive subject with fewer students gaining an IT based qualification.

Paulina Haduong (Harvard University, United States)
Karen Brennan (Harvard University, United States)
Getting Unstuck: New Resources for Teaching Debugging Strategies in Scratch

ABSTRACT. Debugging is an essential practice in programming. Yet for many novice programmers, the process of finding and fixing errors in code can be frustrating. Debugging is rarely explicitly taught in introductory programming courses, perhaps because best practices of teaching debugging are largely undefined. In K–12, teachers new to teaching CS may also experience trepidation about supporting student-directed work in languages and environments unfamiliar to them. In this poster, we build on previous research that documented the individual and social debugging strategies employed by young novice programmers, from studying projects to asking for help (Brennan, 2013). With a focus on classroom settings, we have designed a set of debugging activities for young people working in Scratch—the Getting Unstuck activities. Through these interactive activities, students and teachers explore creative and collaborative strategies for debugging Scratch projects. In July 2017, the authors piloted these strategies with 17 novice programmers, ages 14 to 18. This poster describes this new resource, reports on findings from the pilot testing, and offers recommendations for the design of K–12 programming activities.

Stacey Watson (UNC Charlotte, United States)
Julio Bahamón (UNC Charlotte, United States)
Harini Ramaprasad (UNC Charlotte, United States)
Heather Lipford (UNC Charlotte, United States)
Developing Soft Skills with a Classroom Behavior Management Game

ABSTRACT. Soft skills such as collaboration, communication and time management are essential to the success of computer science students both in school and after they enter the IT profession. While employers value these skills highly, there are so many technical skills to cover in computer science programs that these soft skills are not typically primary learning objectives for CS classes. As such, it is difficult to find time and space to address them directly.

We are investigating whether a classroom behavior management game designed for K-12 students can incentivize undergraduate and graduate students to develop their soft skills in large computing classes. We are utilizing the game Classcraft in two face-to-face sections and one online section of an undergraduate introduction to operating systems and networking course and in one face-to-face section of a graduate databases class. In this poster, we report our preliminary results of the impact of such a tool on student engagement and soft skills. We examine whether Classcraft enhances student collaboration, communication and time management, as well as student interaction and perceptions of the tool.

10:00-10:45 Session Sat-D5: Demo Session #5
Henry Walker (Grinnell College, United States)
Location: Exhibit Hall
Thomas Price (North Carolina State University, United States)
iSnap: Automatic Hints and Feedback for Block-based Programming

ABSTRACT. iSnap is block-based programming environment that supports struggling students with on-demand hints and error-checking feedback. iSnap is an extension of Snap!, a creative and novice-friendly programming environment, used in the Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) AP CS Principles curriculum. iSnap is designed to support the open-ended, exploratory programming problems of BJC, while adapting to many possible student solutions. When students ask iSnap for help, it highlights possible errors in their code and suggests next steps they can make. Hints are presented visually, right alongside students' code, making them easy to interpret and implement. iSnap's hints are generated automatically from student data, so no teacher input is required to create them, making iSnap appropriate for both new and experienced instructors. The demonstration will showcase iSnap's hints on a variety of assignments and explain how the algorithm is working behind the scenes to generate data-driven hints. It will also include an overview of the results from two years of research with iSnap on how students seek and use programming help. A key objective of this demonstration is to solicit feedback from SIGCSE attendees on the design of iSnap as we work to make the system ready for deployment in classrooms. More information on iSnap can be found at

Mark Mahoney (Carthage College, United States)
Storyteller: A New Medium for Guiding Students Through Code Examples

ABSTRACT. There is value in instructors guiding students through complex programming problems. An instructor can describe how they start a program, decide what to do next, recover from poor problem solving choices, and check their work. Worked examples give students an inside look at an expert's mental model and show how an expert approaches a problem.

Live coding demonstrations of complex problems can be difficult for instructors to do well, however. This demonstration will show a tool that allows programmers to guide an audience through the evolution of some code without requiring a live performance. The open source tool, Storyteller (, integrates with a popular text editor to record all file editing and file operations so that they can be replayed in an animated, annotated playback.

Instructors can replay their work to reflect on it. They can insert comments (text, drawings, screenshots, and audio) to describe their code and to explain the reasons why certain decisions were made. These comments are linked not only to a place in the code but to a point in time during the evolution of the code. The comments are recorded and are visible in future playbacks of the code. The author of a playback can create a narrative describing how and why their code is changing. These can be used by instructors to provide worked examples for their students.

The demonstration will show some example playbacks and how they were used in class along with how to create and share playbacks with the tool.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22A: High School #2
Howard Francis (University of Pikeville, United States)
Location: 319
Robin Flatland (Siena College, United States)
Ira Goldstein (Siena College, United States)
Maryanne L. Egan (Siena College, United States)
Scott Vandenberg (Siena College, United States)
Meg Fryling (Siena College, United States)
Sharon Small (Siena College, United States)
Connecting Colleges/Universities and Local High Schools: A New Model for High School CS Teacher Development

ABSTRACT. In this paper, we describe our experiences with a new model for in-service computer science (CS) professional development that embeds college/university faculty into local high school classrooms partnered with a high school teacher. The high schools we have worked with had not previously offered any rigorous CS courses, and the teachers had little or no CS background. Our goal is to provide the development necessary for the high school teachers to be able to independently teach an engaging and rigorous college level CS course. We have leveraged the local nature of our program to ensure an on-going partnership between the high schools and the college/university lasting beyond the structured professional development program. Here we describe our program, the teachers and schools we have worked with, our community building efforts, and our next steps. We also present outcomes and data from our initial evaluations.

Monica McGill (Knox College, United States)
Adrienne Decker (Rochester Institute of Technology, United States)
Zachary Abbott (Bradley University, United States)
Improving Research and Experience Reports of Pre-College Computing Activities: A Gap Analysis

ABSTRACT. This paper provides a detailed examination of pre-college computing activities as reported in three Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) venues (2012-2016). Ninety-two articles describing informal learning activities were reviewed for 24 program elements (i.e., activity components, and student/instructor demographics). These 24 program elements were defined and shaped by a virtual focus group study and the articles themselves. Results indicate that the majority of authors adequately report age/grade levels of participants, number of participants, the type of activity, when the activity was offered, the tools/languages used in the activity, and whether the activity was required or elective. However, there is a deficiency in reporting many other important and foundational program elements, including contact hours of activity participants, clear learning objectives, the prior experience of participants (students and instructors), and many more. In conjunction with previous work, this paper provides recommendations to reduce these deficiencies. These recommendations, Guidelines for Reporting Pre-College Computing Activities (Version 1.0), are presented in an easy-to-follow format for both new and experienced researchers. These guidelines will help researchers improve the quality of the papers, set a standard of necessary data for others to replicate the studies, and provide a basis for comparing activities and activity outcomes across multiple studies and experiences.

Chris Rhoton (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States)
Examining the State of CS Education in Virginia’s High Schools

ABSTRACT. Virginia House Bill 831 (2016) put the state on a path toward K-12 Standards of Learning that include computer science (CS) at all levels. Accompanying the initiative is an effort to define the “State of the State[’s]” current CS offerings. The author examined course offerings at 251 of the state’s 320 high schools to determine how accessible on-site CS courses were across the state. The results indicate a significant disparity between school systems located in rural communities and small townships when compared with suburban/city locales. Perhaps more striking was the emerging connection between the region where one lives in the state and that individual’s access to (or lack thereof) in-person CS instruction. The results also suggest fewer than half the schools in Virginia are running a CS class as of spring 2017 when the study was conducted.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22B: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Anya Tafliovich (University of Toronto, Canada)
Location: 316
Sebastien Siva (Georgia Gwinnett College, United States)
Tacksoo Im (Georgia Gwinnett College, United States)
Tom McKlin (The Findings Group, United States)
Jason Freeman (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States)
Brian Magerko (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States)
Using Music to Engage Students in an Introductory Undergraduate Programming Course for Non-Majors

ABSTRACT. EarSketch is a STEAM-based curriculum and learning environment designed to engage diverse student populations in introductory computing courses through an authentic, personally creative approach that connects coding and computational thinking with the composition, production, and remixing of popular music. It has primarily been used in high school computing classes, where prior studies have shown significant impacts on student engagement and intention to persist in computing with particularly strong gains for female students. This paper describes an adaptation of the EarSketch curriculum and learning environment for use in an introductory undergraduate-level programming course for non-majors at an open-access four-year college. After outlining changes to the curricular materials and learning environment necessary to adapt EarSketch to the structure of an undergraduate course, the paper presents the results of a quasi-experimental study comparing student engagement, content knowledge, and intention to persist between course sections using EarSketch and non-EarSketch flavors of the curriculum, along with a path analysis exploring factors related to student engagement and intention to persist. The findings suggest that STEAM learning interventions such as EarSketch can significantly impact gains in student content knowledge, engagement, and intention to persist across diverse undergraduate student populations.

Richert Wang (University of California, Santa Barbara, United States)
Vincent Olivieri (University of California, Irvine, United States)
Sound Design for Video Games: An Interdisciplinary Course for Computer Science and Art Students

ABSTRACT. This paper describes our experience and observations in creating an experimental interdisciplinary course focusing on sound design and its implementation in computer games. This paper provides a model for others that may want to develop similar courses that focus on interdisciplinary collaboration in this genre. The course was targeted to motivated computer science and sound design / art students, and was not designed as an introduction to computer science. Rather, it was designed as a project course where students can apply topics in sound design by creating a video game within a diverse team, enabling a collaborative learning opportunity. Students applied both creative sound design principles and technical implementation using industry-standard tools such as QLab, Wwise, and Unity.

Tom McKlin (The Findings Group, United States)
Brian Magerko (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States)
Taneisha Lee (The Findings Group, United States)
Dana Wanzer (The Findings Group, United States)
Doug Edwards (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States)
Jason Freeman (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States)
Authenticity and Personal Creativity: How EarSketch Affects Student Persistence

ABSTRACT. STEAM education is an approach to engage students in STEM topics by prioritizing personal expression, creativity, and aesthetics. EarSketch, a collaborative and authentic learning tool, introduces students to programming through music remixing, has previously been shown to increase student engagement, and increases learner’s intentions to persist in computing. The goal of EarSketch is to broaden participation in computing through a thickly authentic learning environment that has personal and real world relevance in both computational and music domains. This article reports a quasi-experimental study that extends previous work by 1) using path analysis to test the EarSketch theory of change, 2) assessing personal creativity among 205 high school students, and 3) describing the affect that a thickly authentic learning environment has on student attitudes, intentions to persist, and content knowledge. The path analysis suggests that an authentic learning environment predicts increased intentions to persist via identity/belongingness and creativity. We ran a path analysis that exposed the creativity subscales, and this analysis reveals that “sharing” is the one creativity sub-construct that predicts increased intention to persist. This work makes a significant contribution to computer science education by revealing how an authentic STEAM curriculum affects student attitudes and knowledge, by presenting scales to measure authenticity and personal creativity, and by discussing how identity/belongingness may affect student success.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22C: Recursion
Maria Jump (King's College, United States)
Location: 314
Ramy Esteero (University of Toronto, Canada)
Mohammed Khan (University of Toronto, Canada)
Mohamed Mohamed (University of Toronto, Canada)
Larry Yueli Zhang (University of Toronto, Canada)
Daniel Zingaro (University of Toronto, Canada)
Recursion or Iteration: Does it Matter What Students Choose?

ABSTRACT. Recursion and iteration are two of the most important topics in Computer Science. This is especially true for CS2 students, as CS2 is the course where recursion is typically taught and where control-flow concepts are solidified. When asked to solve a problem that could feasibly be solved with recursion or iteration, what do CS2 students choose to do? And how does this choice relate to the correctness of their response? This paper provides one answer to these questions through an analysis of student exam responses to a problem on finding lowest common ancestors in trees.

We find that 19% of students choose to use iteration, 51% choose recursion, and 16% choose to combine both iteration and recursion. In terms of correctness, we find that students who choose iteration perform better than those who choose recursion and the combination of both. Additionally, we find concern in the number of students who seemingly do not understand what the question is asking. We end the paper with some comments on helping students choose an appropriate control-flow strategy and a discussion of this type of question on a final exam.

Robert Ball (Weber State University, United States)
Linda Duhadway (Weber State University, United States)
Spencer Hilton (Weber State University, United States)
Brian Rague (Weber State University, United States)
GUI-Based vs. Text-Based Assignments in CS1

ABSTRACT. Teaching CS1 can be daunting. The first courses in the CS curriculum help determine which students will ultimately matriculate into the program. There have been various studies on how to improve motivation and reduce attrition by using visual-based environments and assignments. We performed a year-long study in which we addressed two research questions: 1) How is student performance affected by drag-and-drop GUI assignments when compared to traditional text-based assignments? 2) If given the choice, would students select GUI-based or text-based assignments? For the first question, there was no statistical significance, indicating that student performance is not affected by this visual component. For the second question, we discovered more students selected the text-based assignments over the GUI-assignments. Separating the students into groups based on what they chose revealed that the students that selected the GUI-assignments scored on average one letter grade higher, enjoyed the assignments more and spent less time on the assignments. We recorded the reported motivations behind why students chose to do the GUI-based assignments versus the text-based assignments: Overall, the GUI Group’s responses trended toward self-improvement (e.g. more like the real world, improve skills, more challenging) while the Text Group’s responses trended toward ease (e.g. easier/simpler, save time). Lastly, at the end of each course we asked the students if, given the hypothetical case in which they were not pressed for time, they would create the Java application with or without a GUI? 93% of the students responded that they would create a GUI Java application.

Preston Tunnell Wilson (Brown University, United States)
Kathi Fisler (Brown University, United States)
Shriram Krishnamurthi (Brown University, United States)
Evaluating the Tracing of Recursion in the Substitution Notional Machine

ABSTRACT. How students learn recursion has been a long-running research question. A variety of approaches have been proposed to aid in students’ understanding and learning. We break recursion down into a progression of increasingly complex patterns of function calls and parameter reuse. We test students’ ability to trace programs across the progression against a notional machine based on algebraic substitution. Some students take correctness-preserving shortcuts, while others suffer from misconceptions on preconditions to using the substitution model. We also compare students’ traces of recursive programs over trees between the substitution model and a more traditional notional machine. Even though the substitution model is unwieldy to use with compound data, students still perform better with it than with the traditional notional machine.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22D: K thru 8 #2
James Heliotis (Rochester Institute of Technology, United States)
Location: 320
Francisco J. Gutierrez (Department of Computer Science, University of Chile, Chile)
Jocelyn Simmonds (Department of Computer Science, University of Chile, Chile)
Cecilia Casanova (REACT Lab, Department of Computer Science, University of Chile, Chile)
Cecilia Sotomayor (REACT Lab, Department of Computer Science, University of Chile, Chile)
Nancy Hitschfeld (Department of Computer Science, University of Chile, Chile)
Coding or Hacking? Exploring Inaccurate Views on Computing and Computer Scientists among K-6 Learners in Chile

ABSTRACT. Advancing computational thinking in elementary education has been rapidly gaining the attention within the SIGCSE community, due to the prospective of developing 21st century skills and facilitating an earlier exposure to problem-solving. However, interventions in this domain risk to fail if they do not explicitly address the particular socio-cultural traits of the deployment scenario. This is the case of most Latin American countries, where computer science and programming have not reached a sustainable penetration in K-12 education. In order to bridge this gap, we designed a one-week workshop for advancing computational thinking targeted to 10-12 years old Chilean students with no prior experience in programming. This paper describes our intervention and presents the results of a qualitative study (n=61, balanced according to gender and prior exposure to computing classes at school) analyzing positive and negative aspects of the experience. Although most participants effectively acquired basic programming skills by the end of the intervention, we also identified several inaccurate views on computing and computer scientists. For instance, computer science was mostly perceived as a set of informal experiences rather than a way for enabling creation, automation, and work. Likewise, the word ``hacking" appears to be used as a metaphor for more technical terms, such as ``programming" or ``algorithm". Finally, negative stereotypical views of computer scientists resulting from the intervention were not as frequent as initial perceptions. These results provide fresh evidence on how to design, adapt, and evaluate computational thinking interventions targeted to K-6 students in Latin America.

Shuchi Grover (ACT Next, United States)
Satabdi Basu (SRI international, United States)
Patricia Schank (SRI international, United States)
What We Can Learn About Student Learning From Open-Ended Programming Projects in Middle School Computer Science

ABSTRACT. Block-based programming environments such as Scratch, App Inventor, and Alice are a key part of introductory K-12 computer science experiences. Free-choice, open-ended projects are encouraged to promote learner agency and leverage the affordances of these novice-programming environments that also support creative engagement in CS. This mixed methods research examines what we can learn about student learning from such programming artifacts. Using an extensive rubric created to evaluate these projects along several dimensions, we coded a sample of ~80 Scratch and App Inventor projects randomly selected from 20 middle school classrooms in a diverse urban school district in the US. We present key elements of our rubric, and report on noteworthy trends including the type of artifacts created, and which key programming constructs are or are not commonly used. We also report on factors such as students’ gender, grade, and teachers’ teaching experience that influenced students' projects (and how). We discuss how the programming environments may have influenced the artifacts created, use of computing constructs, complexity of computational projects, and use of features of the environment that afford creativity, interactivity, and engagement. Our findings will help educators of introductory computing be more cognizant of how best to leverage the programming environments they are using, and what aspects they need to focus on as they attempt to address the learning needs of ALL in “CS For All.”

Luis Gustavo J. Araújo (UEFS - State University of Feira de Santana, Brazil)
Roberto A. Bittencourt (UEFS - State University of Feira de Santana, Brazil)
David M. B. Santos (UEFS - State University of Feira de Santana, Brazil)
An Analysis of a Media-Based Approach to Teach Programming in Elementary Education

ABSTRACT. Previous studies have presented approaches to teach programming based on contexts close to students, such as games, robotics, and media. Those contexts may turn learning easier and more motivating. Media manipulation is one of such contexts relevant to teenage students, for their thorough use of image applications and social networks. In this work, we design and evaluate a spiral approach to teach programming in a computing course for ninth-grade students in an elementary school in Brazil's countryside. The approach is contextualized by media, i.e., image creation and manipulation, and we use the Python language with Turtle graphics and JES tools to support it. Results pointo to the influence of context and tools on learning, significant changes of perception about computation, high motivation to learn how to code, as well as a positive correlation between learning and motivation.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22E: Active Learning #2
Chris Mayfield (James Madison University, United States)
Location: 317
Ricardo Caceffo (Unicamp, Brazil)
Guilherme Gama (Unicamp, Brazil)
Rodolfo Azevedo (Unicamp, Brazil)
Exploring Active Learning Approaches to Computer Science Classes

ABSTRACT. We present our experience in a Computer Science (CS) introductory course, where three teaching practices were implemented and compared: lectured-based learning, problem-based learning, and peer instruction. We chose Information Systems, a first-term undergraduate course, for this study. It overviews a variety of topics in CS, such as algorithms, data structures and programming logic. We initially conducted interviews with previous instructors, who assisted in the collection of data, requirements, and needs pertaining to both students and instructors. We also carried out a survey among students enrolled in the program, in order to identify suggestions on how the classes could become more dynamic and motivating. In sequence, the experiment was designed to format and evaluate classes in the chosen paradigms. We focused on assessing and analyzing how the students' motivation and learning process were affected, as well as how difficult it was for instructors to prepare classes and how much time they expended in doing so. Results indicate that a paradigm shift from traditional teaching is not only expected by students and instructor; it is well received, and had a positive influence on the students' learning and motivation. We also found, however, that the proposed changes brought on an unwelcome overhead for the instructors, as additional time and effort are required to implement such practices.

Shannon Duvall (Elon University, United States)
Dugald Hutchings (Elon University, United States)
Robert Duvall (Duke University, United States)
Scrumage: A method for incorporating multiple, simultaneous pedagogical styles in the classroom

ABSTRACT. Pedagogical approaches abound in computer science. Common approaches include flipped classrooms, active learning, gamification, and the traditional lecture-based approach. There are also a wide variety of computer science learning materials including videos, interactive tutorials, and textbooks (whether presented online or on paper). The choices of approach and materials present a series of trade-offs and may favor some groups of students over others. We propose a method, Scrumage, (SCRUM for AGile Education) in an attempt to overcome the necessity of making trade-offs. We allow each student in a course to adopt the pedagogical approach and materials that best fit each student’s individual learning needs. Scrumage adapts concepts from the Scrum project management technique. In Scrum, project teams are developing a product for a client. In Scrumage, student teams are developing knowledge with support from the instructor. We define and motivate Scrumage and discuss the implementation and outcomes of the technique in a class at our undergraduate institution.

Qiang Hao (Western Washington University, United States)
Bradley Barnes (University of Georgia, United States)
Ewan Wright (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Eunjung Kim (Pusan National University, South Korea)
Effects of Active Learning Environments in Computer Science Education

ABSTRACT. This research investigated the impacts of active learning environments and instructional methods adapted to such environments on the academic performance of computer science students. Two consecutive studies involving a total of 267 novice students in the same course were conducted across two different semesters. The course was taught by the same instructor and set up with two different sections. One section was taught in a conventional lecture hall, while the other was taught in an active-learning classroom with adapted instructional methods. Active learning environments and the adapted instructional methods were found to have significantly positive effects on students’ learning outcomes. Fine-grained results grouped by major were discussed. The findings of this study demonstrate positive effects of active learning environments in computer science education, and add to the literature of both computer science education and learning environments.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22F: Ethics
Ruth Anderson (University of Washington, Dept. of Computer Science, United States)
Location: 321
Michael Skirpan (University of Colorado Boulder, United States)
Nathan Beard (University of Colorado Boulder, United States)
Srinjita Bhaduri (University of Colorado Boulder, United States)
Casey Fiesler (University of Colorado Boulder, United States)
Tom Yeh (University of Colorado Boulder, United States)
Ethics Education in Context: A Case Study of Novel Ethics Activities for the CS Classroom [3rd BEST PAPER EXPERIENCE REPORTS AND TOOLS]

ABSTRACT. Our paper offers several novel activities for teaching ethics in the context of a computer science (CS) class. Rather than approaches that teach ethics as an isolated course, we outline and discuss multiple ethics education interventions meant to work in the context of an existing technical course. We piloted these activities in an Human Centered Computing course and found strong engagement and interest from our students in ethics topics without sacrificing core course material. Using a pre/post survey and examples from student assignments, we evaluate the impact of these interventions and discuss their relevance to other CS courses. We further make suggestions for embedding ethics in other CS education contexts.

Michael Skirpan (University of Colorado Boulder, United States)
Jacqueline Cameron (University of Colorado Boulder, United States)
Tom Yeh (University of Colorado Boulder, United States)
Quantified Self: An Interdisciplinary Immersive Theater Project Supporting a Collaborative Learning Environment for CS Ethics

ABSTRACT. This paper presents Quantified Self: Immersive Data and Theater Experience (QSelf) as a case study in collaborative and interdisciplinary learning and toward a project-based education model that promotes technical art projects. 22 students from several departments engaged in a semester-long effort to produce an immersive theater show centered on ethical uses of personal data, a show that drew more than 240 people over 6 performances. The project was housed out of the computer science department and involved multiple computer science undergraduate and graduate students who had the chance to work with students from the department of theater and dance. By analyzing the technical artifacts students created and post-interviews, we found this project created a novel and productive space for computer science students to gain applied experience and learn about the social impacts of their work while the arts students gained a fluency and understanding around the technical issues presented.

Jeffrey Saltz (Syracuse University, United States)
Neil Dewar (Syracuse University, United States)
Robert Heckman (Syracuse University, United States)
Key Concepts for a Data Science Ethics Curriculum

ABSTRACT. Data science is a new field that integrates aspects of computer science, statistics and information management. As a new field, ethical issues a data scientist may encounter have received little attention to date, and ethics training within a data science curriculum has received even less attention. To address this gap, this article explores the different codes of conduct and ethics frameworks related to data science. We compare this analysis with the results of a systematic literature review focusing on ethics in data science. Our analysis identified twelve key ethics areas that should be included within a data science ethics curriculum. Our research notes that none of the existing codes or frameworks covers all of the identified themes. Data science educators and program coordinators can use our results as a way to identify key ethical concepts that can be introduced within a data science program.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22G: Undergrad Education: Data Science and Gaming
Brett Becker (University College Dublin, Ireland)
Location: 318
Austin Bart (Virginia Tech, United States)
Dennis Kafura (Virginia Tech, United States)
Cliff Shaffer (Virginia Tech, United States)
Eli Tilevich (Virginia Tech, United States)
Reconciling the Promise and Pragmatics of Enhancing Computing Pedagogy with Data Science

ABSTRACT. Data science keeps growing in popularity as an introductory computing experience, in which student answer real-world questions by processing data. Armed with carefully prepared pedagogical datasets, computing educators can contextualize assignments and projects in societally meaningful ways, thereby benefiting students' long-term professional careers. However, integrating data science into introductory computing courses requires that the used data be sufficiently complex, follow appropriate organizational structure, and possess ample documentation. Moreover, the impact of a data science context on students' motivation and engagement remains poorly understood.

To address these issues, we have created an open-sourced manual for developing pedagogical datasets (freely available at Structured as a collection of patterns, this manual shares the expertise we have gained over the last several years, collecting and curating a vast collection of real-world datasets, used in a dozen of universities worldwide. Finally, we present new evidence confirming the efficacy of integrating data science in an introductory computing course. As a significant extension of our ongoing work, this study not only validates existing positive assessment, but also provides fine-grained nuance to the potential of data science as a motivational educational element.

Sarah Dahlby Albright (Grinnell College, United States)
Titus Klinge (Grinnell College, United States)
Samuel Rebelsky (Grinnell College, United States)
A Functional Approach to Data Science in CS1

ABSTRACT. As part of the development of a new interdisciplinary curriculum in data science that draws from statistics, computer science, and the social sciences, we have developed a new version of our introductory CS course that emphasizes data science. Unlike other introductory data science courses, such as Data 8, our course retains the broad array of concepts for the course to successfully serve to both introduce programming principles related to data science, but also to prepare students for the second course in our standard introductory computer science sequence. In particular, the course includes coverage of recursion (numeric and structural), unit testing, linked data structures, and other concepts we rely upon in subsequent courses in computer science.

At the same time, we introduce students to a wide variety of techniques and approaches that support them in their subsequent work in data science, including techniques for wrangling, cleaning, and visualizing data. We achieve this combination of breadth and depth through two core approaches: We focus on a spiral “use then implement” approach and we focus on a functional model of programming using Scheme/Racket. While Python and R are the most commonly used languages for data science, we find that Scheme works particularly well to introduce students to concepts both complex, like map-reduce, and simple, like list filtering.

In this paper, we report on the design of the curriculum, particularly the capstone project and the ways in which we incorporate the burgeoning subfield of data science for social good.

Jan-Philipp Steghöfer (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Håkan Burden (RISE Viktoria, Sweden)
Regina Hebig (Chalmers, University of Gotheburg, Sweden)
Gul Calikli (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Robert Feldt (University of Gotheburg, Sweden)
Imed Hammouda (University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Mediterranean Institute of Technology, South Mediterranean University, Tunisia)
Jennifer Horkoff (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Eric Knauss (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Grischa Liebel (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
[TOCE] Involving External Stakeholders in Project Courses
10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22H: Panel: Technology We Can’t Live Without!, revisited
Location: 308
Ria Galanos (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, United States)
Michael Ball (University of California, Berkeley, United States)
John Dougherty (Haverford College, United States)
Joe Hummel (University of Illinois, Chicago, United States)
David Malan (Harvard University, United States)
Technology We Can’t Live Without!, revisited

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, 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 [1] that served as a springboard for a regular column in ACM Inroads [2]. 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 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.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22I: Panel: CS4NC Summit 2017
Location: 307
Dave Frye (The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, United States)
Mary Lou Maher (UNC Charlotte, United States)
Deborah Seehorn (Computer Science Teachers Association, United States)
Sam Morris (The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, United States)
CS4NC Summit 2017: Lessons Learned in Developing a Coordinated Statewide CS For All Initiative

ABSTRACT. Broadening participation in computing education for K-12 students requires all levels of the education system to collaborate on five critical needs: 1) creating diverse student opportunities and access to CS activities; 2) empowering highly qualified, highly skilled CS teachers; 3) developing relevant and accessible CS courses and curricula; 4) establishing CS policy and leadership at the local and state levels; and 5) engaging communities and industry partners in broadening participation in CS.

Given the growing cross-sector interest and numerous programs throughout North Carolina, a more intentional, coordinated effort was identified by CS4NC as necessary to further computing education, broaden access and expand opportunities for all students. In fact, without a stronger statewide coordinated effort, there is growing potential for confusion around what programs are available in informal and formal learning spaces, how they support one another, and how students can navigate the path through middle and high school, into college and universities, and into computing careers. By building upon the substantial body of related work already in place, scaling the innovative ideas and new practices in schools, museums, community centers and businesses, and leveraging long-term successful working relationships of stakeholders throughout the state, CS4NC is working to build a strong community, a shared vision, and a coordinated effort for computing education in NC.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22J: Special Session: SIGCSE Committee on Computing Education in the Liberal Arts
Location: 309
Doug Baldwin (SUNY Geneseo, United States)
Draft Report of the SIGCSE Committee on Computing Education in the Liberal Arts

ABSTRACT. The SIGCSE Committee on Computing Education in the Liberal Arts seeks to identify distinctive needs of liberal arts computing educators, and to suggest ways of addressing those needs. This session will be the initial presentation of the Committee's findings and recommendations, and a chance for the community to comment on the results prior to our final written report. The Committee found considerable variety among liberal arts computing programs, but enough common features to consider "liberal arts computing program" to be a distinct category with needs that arise from its shared features. The liberal arts computing community expressed a very strong desire for a permanent organization to support its members and represent its interests to the rest of the world. Conversely, we see evidence that the computing education community as a whole values liberal arts computing perspectives and would benefit from a well-defined source for those perspectives. The Committee's main recommendation is therefore to establish a permanent liberal arts computing organization that can serve both to support computing education in the liberal arts and to represent that community in larger conversations.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-22K: Special Session: IT2017 Report
Location: 310
Mihaela Sabin (University of New Hampshire, United States)
John Impagliazzo (Hofstra University, United States)
Hala Alrumaih (Al Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Saudi Arabia)
Cara Tang (Portland Community College, United States)
Ming Zhang (Peking University, China)
IT2017 Report: Implementing A Competency-Based Information Technology Program

ABSTRACT. ACM and IEEE have developed a computing curriculum report titled Information Technology Curricular 2017: Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Information Technology, also known as IT2017 [4]. The development of this report has received content contributions from industry and academia through surveys as well as many international conferences and workshops. Open online publication of the report became available in fall of 2017. In this special session, five members of the IT2017 executive committee will present a digest of the content of the report, describe the proposed IT curricular framework, and facilitate open and vigorous discussion of the report’s guidelines for developing new information technology programs or enhancing existing ones. The novelty of the report is its focus on industry-informed competencies that IT graduates should have to meet the growing demands of a changing technological world in the next decade. The experience should provide a better understanding of IT in a modern age.

10:45-12:00 Session Sat-Sup-ABET: Computing and Computer Science Accreditation – What You Should Know


Allen Parrish, U.S. Naval Academy
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 2017, ABET gave final approval for new computing accreditation criteria to be rolled out over the next few years for both new accreditations and re-accreditations. These criteria are substantially revised from the previous version, and apply to all computing programs, although the computer science criteria received the largest revision. In this session, we will provide an overview of the changes, with a particular emphasis on discussing the rollout of the new criteria and providing advice to programs with accreditation reviews over the next few years who might be affected.

ABET has also developed new program criteria to accredit cybersecurity programs. These criteria have been approved for a year of review and comment, and this session will partially focus on obtaining feedback on these criteria for potential revision. We will also discuss the relationship of ABET accreditation to other types of similar quality assurance and workforce alignment efforts in cybersecurity education, as well as our assessment of the current state of the undergraduate cybersecurity education field – and the applicability of program accreditation to this domain.

Location: 301
10:45-12:00 Session Sat-Sup-CodeHS: CodeHS Platform: Bringing a Customizable K12 Platform to Universities and Community College


Jeremy Keeshin, CEO CodeHS
Zach Galant, Co-Founder CodeHS


Learn about the CodeHS platform and how it has been used in K-12 classrooms and how it can be used in community colleges and universities. Demo a powerful and simple online IDE, a full assignment submission and grading platform, customizable general purpose auto-graders and more. Learn how you can build your own course with CodeHS, and make use of thousands of community curated computer science quiz questions and programming assignments.


Location: 322
10:45-12:00 Session Sat-Sup-Google: Partnering to Provide Solutions to CS Capacity Challenges with Google


Chris Stephenson, Google
Kim Roberts, Google
Tina Ornduff, Google
Antoine Picard, Google
Heather Pon-Barry, Mount Holyoke
Beth Quinn, NCWIT
Mary Streetzel, Google


Increasing enrollments and the importance of attracting and retaining diverse students are just two of the many challenges undergraduate CS programs are facing. This "speed dating" session will provide participants with an opportunity to source new solutions by engaging directly with Google program managers and partner faculty. The broad array of interventions and resources will include machine learning, data science, training for peer tutors, engaging in-class and extra-curricular learning content, and self-learning resources for students.

Location: 303
10:45-12:00 Session Sat-Sup-Mimir: How MSU saves thousands of hours grading and improving course outcomes each semester


Prahasith Veluvolu, Founder of Mimir
Joshua Nahum, Michigan State University


Instructional Specialist Joshua Nahum of Michigan State University (MSU), has been using Mimir Classroom to automate grading, reduce plagiarism, and efficiently teach computer science. Thousands of students, like Nahum’s, have been using the platform at more than 75 universities since 2014, and have seen an average 11% boost in final exam scores. To open this session, CEO Prahasith Veluvolu will explain how Mimir is helping instructors, like Nahum, meet class size demand while scaling curriculum with Mimir Classroom. The platform comes standard with free instructor accounts, complementary supplemental curriculum, an average 3-minute support response time, and support for more than 40 languages, frameworks, and databases. Veluvolu will highlight features in Mimir Classroom that have helped universities like University of California Davis, Miami Dade, and MSU optimize their courses. To conclude, Nahum will share his firsthand experience using MImir Classroom to grade his portion of MSU’s 295,000 submissions each semester. Schedule a personalized, in-person walkthrough of Mimir Classroom before leaving the conference by visiting

Location: 302
10:45-12:00 Session Sat-sis-SIGGRAPH: SIGGRAPH Highlight: Radical Collaborations and Cross Disciplinary Adventures

Session Chair: Erik Brunvand,, University of Utah

This session is part of an emerging collaboration between the ACM SIGs SIGCSE and SIGGRAPH. One phase of this collaboration is that selected content from SIGCSE will be invited to re-present at SIGGRAPH that same year (initiated with the 2017 conferences). This session includes content that was first presented at SiGGRAPH 2017, and is being re-presented (with updates) at SIGCSE to widen the audience and broaden the inter-SIG collaboration.


Panel (50min): Curriculum Matters: Melding Art + Computer Science

Susan Reiser,, UNC Ashville (panel lead)

Ginger Alford,, Trinity Valley School, and Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

Erik Brunvand,, University of Utah

Wayne Kirby,, UNC Ashville

Courtney Starrett,, Seton Hall University

Many universities and colleges, particularly those represented at SIGGRAPH, include digital media classes in their computer science curricula, coding courses in their arts curricula, or programs that combine both arts and computer science. Combinations can have myriad names and may take many forms: e.g., an ad hoc approach, a double major or minor, an interdisciplinary major or minor, or a trans-disciplinary program. Panelists will discuss their universities' approaches to multi-disciplinary work. Is it important to ensure that the essential foundations of each discipline are included in the curriculum? If so, how do we accomplish that? And what are the essential student learning objectives of each discipline?


Talk (25min): Is This Possible? Massive Online Inter-institutional Student Production

Miho Aoki,, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

The Massive Collaborative Animation Projects are a collaborative effort to provide a large production experience for students, including those in academic programs with smaller student body and resources. The goal is to provide an online platform for schools to work together and enrich these students’ educational experiences.

Erik Brunvand (University of Utah, United States)
Location: 323
12:00-13:45 Session Sat-Keynote4: Luncheon & Closing Keynote, "CSforALL: Nodes and Networks for National Impact" by Ruthe Farmer, Chief Evangelist, CSforAll Consortium


Over the last few years, efforts to reinvigorate K-12 computer science (CS) education have emerged from the inner circles of education and become a global movement. CS is now seen as a competitive advantage in the global economy and a way up the economic ladder for countries of all sizes. Nations including the UK, South Korea, New Zealand, Israel and Estonia have taken the lead in establishing CS as a core subject. Using the US-based Computer Science for All (CSforALL) initiative as a case study, Ruthe Farmer, Chief Evangelist at CSforALL and former Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion under President Obama, will share lessons learned and challenges faced in the work to bring CS to all US students such as education policy transformation, weathering changes in political leadership, and leveraging the “long tail” of the CS stakeholder community to achieve sustainable change through collective impact and local engagement. This talk will offer examples and opportunities for all SIGCSE attendees to contribute to the CSforALL movement and become nodes in the distributed national network of organizations and initiatives, both big and small, that will make CSforAll a reality.


Ruthe Farmer has focused her efforts on diversity and inclusion in tech and engineering since 2001 and is currently Chief Evangelist for the CSforAll Consortium. She served as Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy focusing on President Obama’s call to action for Computer Science for All, and previously served as Chief Strategy & Growth Officer and K-12 Alliance Director at the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) . Over the course of her career, Ms. Farmer has launched and scaled up multiple national programs including Aspirations in Computing  the TECHNOLOchicas campaign for Latinas, AspireIT outreach program, Intel Design & Discovery, Lego Robotics for Girl Scouts and more. She served as the 2012 Chair of Computer Science Education Week, was named a White House Champion of Change for Technology Inclusion in 2013, received the Anita Borg Institute Award for Social Impact in 2014, and the Education UK Alumni Award for Social Impact in 2015. She is a guest contributor for Techcrunch, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, the Shriver Report, and the Huffington Post, and has been featured in Forbes and TechRepublic for her work. Ruthe holds a BA from Lewis & Clark College and an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Oxford Said Business School and is passionate about integrating innovative business strategies into social change efforts.

Tiffany Barnes (North Carolina State University, United States)
Dan Garcia (University of California, Berkeley, United States)
Location: Ballroom I-II
15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23A: Workshop 410: Computational Creativity Exercises for Improving Student Learning and Performance
Location: 307
Leen-Kiat Soh (University of Nebraska, United States)
Workshop 410: Computational Creativity Exercises for Improving Student Learning and Performance

ABSTRACT. In this workshop, we will introduce you to a suite of Computational Creativity Exercises (CCEs) that have been shown to significantly improve student learning and achievement in introductory and advanced CS courses. CCEs address core aspects of computational thinking while exposing students to creative thinking skills, and can be adapted for use in your own courses. Activities such as writing a story in separate chapters and then merging the chapters to form a coherent whole, creating quilt-like patterns with written descriptions, or designing testing strategies for an alien health machine require students to apply computational thinking to unorthodox contexts and situations promoting creative application of CS knowledge and skills. CCEs are group-based, promote active learning, and are designed to foster collaborative problem solving necessary in today’s workplace. They require no programming experience making them accessible to students including those with limited CS background and those with interests in non-CS disciplines, which can encourage more diverse participation in computing. Engage in a hands-on demo of a CCE and learn how to adapt CCEs for use in your classes, including technical support from the IC2Think Project team. Learn about the rigorous research studies behind the development, design and administration of these CCEs, including the instruments we used to evaluate the CCEs. Workshop session will include “how-to” presentations, panel-based Q&A, breakout group discussions, and hands-on activities. Let’s compute, create, and collaborate!

15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23B: Workshop 409: Improv for Geeks
Location: 321
Russell McMahon (University of Cincinnati, United States)
Workshop 409: Improv for Geeks

ABSTRACT. This workshop will teach participants some of the basics of improvisation and ideas on how it can be used in at work. There are studies that suggest improv does help us all to become better team members, learners, innovators, and communicators. Companies are using improv methods as a way of creating more innovative and collaborative teams. This is a method that can be used from brainstorming to creating a better work environment by stressing “Yes” before “No”. Improv training can help everyone become better learners and make learning more enjoyable. Come and learn about improv and why companies such as IDEO, Google, Marriott, and Twitter have embraced this technique to build a culture that promotes better communication, collaboration, and team building. This workshop is an interactive workshop. Please attend and have fun learning how to be more positive, vulnerable, attentive, and playful in your daily grind.

15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23C: Workshop 406: Micro:bit Magic: Engaging K-12, CS1/2, and non-majors with IoT & Embedded
Location: 318
Bill Siever (Washington University, United States)
Michael Rogers (Northwest Missouri State University, United States)
Workshop 406: Micro:bit Magic: Engaging K-12, CS1/2, and non-majors with IoT & Embedded

ABSTRACT. Are you interested in a fun way to introduce a variety of students to significant contemporary CS topics, like wireless networking, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT)? Do you want to do so using a platform that is cheap, has a low barrier to entry, but where learning can translate to the real world and where advanced students can pursue advanced topics? If so, you need a micro:bit!

The micro:bit is a platform developed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to encourage children to pursue computing and electronics. Although designed for children, its capabilities are sufficient for a variety of postsecondary applications. It includes a 32-bit processor, lights, buttons, an accelerometer, digital I/O, and wireless communication, making it ideal for wearables and robotics. It also leverages some of the latest trends in introductory computing, like support for block-based languages (àla Scratch), while also being sophisticated enough for complex topics in Operating Systems and Networking.

This workshop will introduce the micro:bit and focus on engaging, lightweight coverage of complex topics, including robotics, mesh networks, and IoT. Participants will work through classroom-ready exercises suitable for K-12 workshops, student recruiting events, CS1/2, or as bootstrap topics in IoT courses. The workshop will include some subjects not commonly covered in existing micro:bit material, like integration with mobile apps and IoT applications. Participants will be provided with hardware but will need a laptop with internet access and a mobile device (any OSes).

15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23D: Workshop 402: CReST-Security Knitting Kit: Ready to Use Teaching Resources to Integrate Security Concepts into CS Courses
Location: 302
Ambareen Siraj (Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center, Tennessee Tech, United States)
Sheikh Ghafoor (Tennessee Tech, United States)
Workshop 402: CReST-Security Knitting Kit: Ready to Use Teaching Resources to Integrate Security Concepts into CS Courses

ABSTRACT. With support from NSF (Award# DUE-1140864, #1438861), we have developed a set of readily available resources called SecKnitKit (Security Knitting Kit,, which offers a suite of instructional material for non-security faculty (faculty whose primary teaching/research focus is not security) to integrate security in upper division CS courses such as operating systems, software engineering, computer networks and databases. This workshop will introduce CS faculty to the SecKnitKit resources that can be easily adaptable into any standard CS curriculum. The participants will receive access to all SecKnitKit materials (instructional and assessment) of interest and demonstrated use of the active learning exercises.

15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23E: Workshop 407: Understanding the Essence of Successful Computing Education Projects through Analyzing NSF Proposals
Location: 319
Stephanie E. August (National Science Foundation EHR/DUE, United States)
Eileen T. Kraemer (School of Computing, Clemson University, United States)
Murali Sitaraman (School of Computing, Clemson University, United States)
S. Megan Che (Department of Teaching and Learning, Clemson University, United States)
Mark Pauley (National Science Foundation EHR/DUE, United States)
Workshop 407: Understanding the Essence of Successful Computing Education Projects through Analyzing NSF Proposals

ABSTRACT. You develop the prototype for a new learning strategy, and want to test it in class or across institutions. You identify an NSF program that supports proposals for the idea, and then what? What goes through the minds of reviewers once a proposal is submitted? What prompts one proposal to be recommended for funding while another is declined? Close examination of the panel review process can inform proposal writing and ensure that reviewers will understand a PI's idea, identify its merit, and value a PI's vision of how the work will broaden participation in STEM education. This workshop steps through the NSF proposal review process from submission of a proposal to award or decline, touching on elements of a good review, NSF intellectual merit and broader impact criteria, elements of a good proposal, and volunteering to review proposals. Participants gain insight into writing a good review and improving one's own proposal writing. The interactive workshop leads participants through each topic by introducing related issues, engaging participants in group exercises designed to explore and share their understanding of the issues, and providing "expert" opinion on these issues. Examples include funded and non-funded projects and a Top Ten List of Do's and Don'ts. One night of lodging and workshop registration fees will be covered by an NSF grant for the first 25 participants who submit their own one-page proposal summary to the organizers one month prior to the workshop and participate fully in the workshop. For further information see:

15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23F: Workshop 401: Designing Classroom Activities to Improve Student Engagement and Learning
Location: 301
Leland Beck (San Diego State University, United States)
Alexander Chizhik (San Diego State university, United States)
Alan Riggins (San Diego State University, United States)
Patty Kraft (San Diego State University, United States)
Workshop 401: Designing Classroom Activities to Improve Student Engagement and Learning

ABSTRACT. Many approaches to active learning rely on a set of tasks that help students engage cognitively with the material. Studies have shown that this approach can significantly improve student learning. However, for best results it is not enough to simply have students solve problems: the activities must be carefully designed to produce the desired learning outcomes. In many cases, it is helpful to define a sequence of activities that lead students though a developmental progression toward a desired learning goal. This kind of approach is sometimes described in educational research as a "learning trajectory." In this workshop, we will help you get started on the path to developing your own active learning classroom activities. We'll begin by looking at examples that have been used successfully in a variety of different courses, and discussing some of the principles involved. Participants will be encouraged to bring examples of topics they have found challenging to teach. We'll work together with you to help develop possible approaches and get started on the design of active learning activities to address those topics.

15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23G: Workshop 403: From Spreadsheets to Programs: Data Science and CS1 in Pyret
Location: 303
Joe Politz (University of California San Diego, United States)
Kathi Fisler (Brown University, United States)
Shriram Krishnamurthi (Brown University, United States)
Benjamin Lerner (Northeastern University, United States)
Workshop 403: Reconciling Data Science and CS1

ABSTRACT. Data Science is at the center of many current curricular efforts. It is emerging as an integrated field that has far-reaching and important applications, from news media to policy making to business. While these applications can provide compelling uses of computer science techniques, an introduction to one is not an introduction to the other. How do topics like data structures and program design emerge from data science applications? How do we transition from data science applications to computer science topics? How can data science be integrated into other contexts with little overhead? This workshop presents assignments and curricula designed to answer these questions, and tools that support them.

15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23H: Workshop 405: AP CS Principles and The Beauty and Joy of Computing Curriculum
Location: 315
Alexandra Milliken (North Caroline State University, United States)
Leslie Keller (The Beauty & Joy of Computing, United States)
Workshop 405: AP CS Principles and The Beauty and Joy of Computing Curriculum

ABSTRACT. The Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) is a CS Principles (CSP) course developed at UC Berkeley, intended for high school juniors through university non-majors. It was twice chosen as a CSP pilot, and both the College Board and have endorsed it. Since 2011, we have offered professional development to over 400 high school teachers. Through partnerships with EDC (Education Development Center), the New York City Department of Education, and CSNYC, our NSF-funded BJC4NYC project will bring BJC to 100 high school teachers in the New York City School District, the largest and one of the most diverse school districts in the country. Our guiding philosophy is to meet students where they are, but not to leave them there. BJC covers the big ideas and computational thinking practices required in the AP CSP curriculum framework, using an easy-to-learn blocks-based programming language called Snap! (based on Scratch), and powerful computer science ideas like recursion, higher-order functions, and computability. Through the course, students learn to create beautiful images, and realize that code itself can be beautiful. Having fun is an explicit course goal. We take a “lab-centric” approach, and much of the learning occurs through guided programming labs that ask students to explore and play. In this workshop, we will provide an overview of BJC, share our experiences as instructors of the course at the university and high school level, provide a glimpse into a typical week of the course, and share details of potential crowd-funded summer professional development opportunities.

15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23I: Workshop 404: Playing with and Creating Practice Spaces for Equitable Teaching
Location: 314
Kevin Robinson (MIT Teaching Systems Lab, United States)
Justin Reich (MIT Teaching Systems Lab, United States)
Workshop 404: Playing with and Creating Practice Spaces for Equitable Teaching

ABSTRACT. Equity is a core component of many computer science teacher preparation programs. One promising approach is addressing unconscious bias in teachers related to the race, ethnicity or gender of students. These biases may impact teacher expectations and interactions with students in a variety of classroom scenarios. Early literature on interventions targeting unconscious bias suggests that asking individuals to suppress biases is counterproductive. Our work uses the affordances of interactive online practice spaces to instead focus on specific teaching decisions that may be impacted by unconscious bias. We developed practice spaces and embedded them within CS teacher preparation programs. Our early findings indicate that practice spaces produce rich learning opportunities and analysis yields insight into what biases or beliefs may be interfering with teachers enacting principles of equity like disrupting preparatory privilege. In this workshop, we'll use online practice spaces to examine how we approach different classroom situations related to equity, and practice how we respond. We'll try two different variations on these practice spaces, and create space for participants to try a variety of other iterations on their own. We'll close by inviting folks to share their own stories of important classroom moments that problematized how they approached equitable teaching, and prototype creating practice spaces from those experiences. Participants will leave with links to practice spaces, and related curriculum materials they can use in CS teacher preparation courses, in teacher-led PLC groups, online CS teacher groups, or with local CSTA chapters.

15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23J: Workshop 411: Beyond the Flipped Classroom: Implementing Multiple, Simultaneous Pedagogical Styles Using Scrumage
Location: 323
Shannon Duvall (Elon University, United States)
Robert Duvall (Duke University, United States)
Dugald Hutchings (Elon University, United States)
Workshop 411: Beyond the Flipped Classroom: Implementing Multiple, Simultaneous Pedagogical Styles Using Scrumage

ABSTRACT. While the “flipped classroom” style has some educational benefits, there are also known benefits to other pedagogical approaches such as lectures, educational games, class discussions, and case studies. In addition to a wide variety of pedagogical approaches, there are a wide variety of computer science learning materials, including videos, interactive tutorials, e-textbooks and traditional textbooks. The choices of approach and materials present a series of trade-offs and may favor some groups of students over others. In this workshop, we present a methodology called Scrumage, (SCRUM for AGile Education) which allows each student in a course to adopt the pedagogical approach and materials that best fit each student’s individual learning needs. Scrumage adapts concepts from the Scrum project management technique to manage student teams where the project is learning. Each team learns with the style they prefer, so that multiple pedagogical styles and materials are in use in the course simultaneously. Participants in this workshop will be introduced to the methodology, benefits, and tools of this approach and will work through guided steps to implementing it in the course of their choice.

15:00-18:00 Session Sat-23K: Workshop 408: Mobile Web App Development for All!
Location: 320
David Hayes (Lane Tech College Prep High School, United States)
Workshop 408: Mobile Web App Development for All!

ABSTRACT. With the increasing breadth and sophistication of open-source languages, libraries, frameworks, standards, tools and resources, Mobile Web App development is possible for a broad audience. The barriers to participation in app development have been reduced; learners can quickly begin creating simple apps and can use online resources to expand their knowledge and skill.

In this workshop, participants will learn how to build simple (and not-so-simple) data-driven, mobile apps using the Mobile Web App model, and they'll learn how to scaffold projects to focus students’ efforts on specific lesson, unit or assignment goals. The workshop is intended for post-secondary, secondary and even middle school educators who want to increase student engagement by including app projects in their courses. The material may also be of interest to those who provide CS education in other, less-structured environments.

Participants will create several apps and will leave with sample projects. All languages, libraries, frameworks, standards, tools and resources are open-source and run in the browser. Because participants will be developing apps during the workshop, they will need a laptop or will need to work with a colleague.