Proposal for CCSCNE Panel Expanding Student Enthusiasm for, and
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Proposal for CCSCNE Panel Expanding Student Enthusiasm for, and Understanding of, Introductory CS Bridget Baird, Professor of Mathematics/Computer Science, Connecticut College moderator and contact person email@example.com Box 5412 Connecticut College New London, CT 06320 Panelists: Martin Allen, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Computer Science, CTW Consortium Christine Chung, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Connecticut College Norman Danner, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Wesleyan University Madalene Spezialetti, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Trinity College Professors in computer science are challenged by the wish to make CS1 courses more appealing to a broader audience, both to induce more students to enter computer science and also to open up students to the possibilities of the field. This challenge is especially acute when it comes to underrepresented groups. The panelists come from three liberal arts colleges that have formed a consortium in computer science to examine topics of mutual interest. Among other activities, the three departments have shared a number of postdoctoral fellows, expanding the range of approaches brought to their research and teaching. Further, they have collaborated on a number of initiatives to clarify what a liberal arts degree in computer science should look like, and to deepen and diversify their curricula, particularly at the introductory CS1 level. While the panelists all come from liberal arts environments, they have different approaches to the CS1 course. During the course of this panel they will discuss their views and experiences on the following list of topics: • What languages and lab structure hinder or help students to understand the concepts of CS? • What techniques hinder/help women and other underrepresented groups to both understand and enjoy the CS1 course? • It is often the case that there is a wide range of prior experience among students in CS1. How do we challenge and engage these students who have more technical experience without discouraging other students? • What are the markers of success in a CS1 course: taking another course, enjoying the course, future involvement in some capacity with CS, using the knowledge in another course, not being “turned off”? • What is the role of current technology (if any) in a CS1 course (for example, smart- phones, web apps, mashups, social networking)? Each of the panelists will comment on each of these topics; audience interaction on these topics will also be sought during the course of the panel. The panelists bring a rich array of experiences to the panel. Martin Allen is a postdoctoral fellow, teaching at all three colleges in the CTW consortium as part of the Mellon grant program, which intends to bring new doctorates from research-school backgrounds into the liberal arts college environment. Given his recent experience at a relatively wide range of different and distinct institutions, he will discuss the varying issues that arise, and approaches one can take, when teaching CS to students with a diverse range of experience, interest, and preparation. Christine Chung recently received her doctorate but brings a wide range of expertise and experience. She has taught introductory CS at both the college and high school levels and she earned a master’s degree in secondary mathematics education. Norman Danner has taught introductory CS at UCLA and Wesleyan, from 200-student lectures to 15-student classes, from no objects to objects-only, and from programming-intensive to more writing than programming. Madalene Spezialetti’s research focuses on the development and use of video and animation in Computer Science education. She received a SIGCSE Special Projects Grant to support her work in the production of video scenarios, which are short films designed to develop computational thinking skills by presenting computing-based problems in the context of extemporaneous, real-life situations.