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Design and Evaluation of an “Athletic” Approach to Software Engineering Education

ACM Transactions on Computing Education - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 20:00
Philip Johnson

Modern web application development provides an attractive application area for introductory software engineering education, as students have direct experience with the domain and it provides them with the potential to gain practical, real-world skills. Achieving this potential requires the development of competency with a multiple component tech stack for web application development, which is challenging to acquire within a single semester. In this research, we designed, implemented, and evaluated a new pedagogy called “athletic software engineering” which is intended to help students efficiently and effectively acquire competency with a multiple component tech stack as a precursor to a web application development project.

A Systematic Investigation of Replications in Computing Education Research

ACM Transactions on Computing Education - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 20:00
Qiang Hao, David H. Smith IV, Naitra Iriumi, Michail Tsikerdekis, Andrew J. Ko

As the societal demands for application and knowledge in computer science (CS) increase, CS student enrollment keeps growing rapidly around the world. By continuously improving the efficacy of computing education and providing guidelines for learning and teaching practice, computing education research plays a vital role in addressing both educational and societal challenges that emerge from the growth of CS students. Given the significant role of computing education research, it is important to ensure the reliability of studies in this field. The extent to which studies can be replicated in a field is one of the most important standards for reliability. Different fields have paid increasing attention to the replication rates of their studies, but the replication rate of computing education was never systematically studied.

Design and Evaluation of an “Athletic” Approach to Software Engineering Education

ACM TOCE and InRoads - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 20:00
Philip Johnson

Modern web application development provides an attractive application area for introductory software engineering education, as students have direct experience with the domain and it provides them with the potential to gain practical, real-world skills. Achieving this potential requires the development of competency with a multiple component tech stack for web application development, which is challenging to acquire within a single semester. In this research, we designed, implemented, and evaluated a new pedagogy called “athletic software engineering” which is intended to help students efficiently and effectively acquire competency with a multiple component tech stack as a precursor to a web application development project.
Categories: Education

A Systematic Investigation of Replications in Computing Education Research

ACM TOCE and InRoads - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 20:00
Qiang Hao, David H. Smith IV, Naitra Iriumi, Michail Tsikerdekis, Andrew J. Ko

As the societal demands for application and knowledge in computer science (CS) increase, CS student enrollment keeps growing rapidly around the world. By continuously improving the efficacy of computing education and providing guidelines for learning and teaching practice, computing education research plays a vital role in addressing both educational and societal challenges that emerge from the growth of CS students. Given the significant role of computing education research, it is important to ensure the reliability of studies in this field. The extent to which studies can be replicated in a field is one of the most important standards for reliability. Different fields have paid increasing attention to the replication rates of their studies, but the replication rate of computing education was never systematically studied.
Categories: Education

Antarctic Research

News From NSF - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 14:59

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2019/nsf19595/nsf19595.htm?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click
PDF: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2019/nsf19595/nsf19595.pdf?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click

Document Number: nsf19595


This is an NSF Program Announcements and Information item.

Antarctic Research

News From NSF - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 14:59

Social studies teachers programming, when high schools choose to teach CS, and new models of cognition and intelligence in programming: An ICER 2019 Preview

ComputingEd - Mon, 08/12/2019 - 07:00

My group will be presenting two posters at ICER this year.

  • Bahare Naimipour (Engineering Education Research PhD student at U-Michigan) will be presenting our participatory design session with social studies educators, Helping Social Studies Teachers to Design Learning Experiences Around Data–Participatory design for new teacher-centric programming languages. We had 18 history and economics teachers building data visualizations in either Vega-Lite or JavaScript with Google Charts. Everyone got the starter visualization running and made changes that they wanted in less than 20 minutes. Those who started in Vega-Lite also tried out the JavaScript code, but only about 1/4 of the JS groups moved to Vega-Lite successfully.
  • Miranda Parker (Human-Centered Computing PhD student at Georgia Tech) will be presenting her quantitative model explaining about half of the variance in whether Georgia high schools taught CS in 2016, A Statewide Quantitative Analysis of Computer Science: What Predicts CS in Georgia Public High School. The most important factor was whether the school taught CS the year before, suggesting that overcoming inertia is a big deal — it’s easier to sustain a CS program than start one. She may talk a little about her new qualitative work, where she’s studying four schools as case studies about their factors in choosing to teach CS, or not.

Barbara is co-author on a paper, A Spaced, Interleaved Retrieval Practice Tool that is Motivating and Effective, with Iman Yeckehzaare and Paul Resnick . This is about a spaced practice tool that 32% of the students in an introductory programming course used more than they needed to, and the number of hours of use had a measurable positive effect on the final exam grade.

All of our other papers were rejected this year, but we’re in good company — the accept rate was around 18%. But I do want to talk about a set of papers that will be presented by others at ICER 2019. These are papers that I heard about, then I asked the authors for copies. I’m excited about all three of them.

How Do Students Talk About Intelligence? An Investigation of Motivation, Self-efficacy, and Mindsets in Computer Science by Jamie Gorson and Eleanor O’Rourke (see released version of the paper here)

One of the persistent questions in computing education research is why growth mindset interventions are not always effective (see blog post here). We get hard-to-interpret results. I met Jamie and Nell at the Northwestern Symposium on Computer Science and the Learning Sciences in April (amazing event, see here for more details). Nell worked with Carol Dweck during her graduate studies.

Jamie and Nell found mixed mindsets among the CS students that they studied. Some of the students they studied had growth mindsets about intelligence, but their talk about programming practices showed more fixed mindset characteristics. Other students self-identified as having some of both growth and fixed mindset beliefs.

In particular, some students talked about intelligence in CS in ways that are unproductive when it came to the practice of programming. For example, some students talked about the best programmers as being able to write the whole code in one sitting, or never getting any errors. A more growth mindset approach to programming would be evidenced by talking about building programs in pieces, expecting errors, and improving through effort over time.

This is a really helpful finding. It gives us new hypotheses to explore about why growth mindset interventions haven’t been as successful in CS as in other disciplines. Few disciplines have this strong distinction between their knowledge and their practice as acutely as we do in CS. It’s no wonder that we see these mixed mindsets.

Toward Context-Dependent Models of Productive Knowledge in Programming Cognition, by Brian A. Danielak

I’ve known Brian since he was a PhD student, and have been hoping that he’d start to publish some of his dissertation work. I got to read one chapter of it, and found it amazingly insightful. Brian explained how what we might see as a “random walk” of syntax was actually purposeful and rational behavior. I was excited to hear about this paper, and I enjoyed reading it.

It’s such an unusual paper for ICER! It’s empirical, but has no methods section. A big part of it is connecting to prior literature, but it’s not about a formal literature review.

Brian is making an argument about how we characterize knowledge and student success in CS. He points out that we often talk about students being wrong and having misconceptions, which is less productive than figuring out what they understand and where their alternative conceptions work or fail. I see his work following on to the work of Rich et al. (mentioned in this blog post) on CS learning trajectories. There are so many things to learn in CS, and sometimes, just getting started on the trajectory is a big step.

Spatial Encoding Strategy Theory: The Relationship between Spatial Skill and STEM Achievement by Lauren Margulieux.

Lauren is doing some impressive theoretical work here. She’s considering the work exploring the relationship between spatial reasoning and CS learning/performance, then constructs a theory explaining the observed results. Since it’s Lauren, the theory is thorough and covers well the known results in this space. I wrote her that I didn’t think that theory explains things that we expect are related to spatial reasoning, but we don’t yet have empirical evidence to support it. For example, when programmers simulate a program in their mind, their mental models may have a spatial component to them, but I don’t know of empirical work that explores that dimension of CS performance. But again, since it’s Lauren, I wouldn’t be surprised if her presentation addresses this point, beyond what was in the paper. (Also, read Lauren’s own summary of the paper here.)

I am looking forward to the discussion of these papers at ICER!

Chemistry & Materials

News From NSF - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 12:28

Most of what you touch, taste, hear or smell every day in the modern world is the direct or indirect result of research in chemistry or materials science – an effort that never ends.
More at http://www.nsf.gov/news/overviews/chemistry?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51


This is an NSF News item.

NSF awards $250 million to early career researchers

News From NSF - Wed, 08/07/2019 - 11:00

The National Science Foundation has invested more than $250 million in nearly 700 recipients of the Fiscal Year 2019 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards, one of NSF's most prestigious honors.

Over the next five years, each teacher-scholar will use at least $400,000 in award funds to carry out their proposed plans to advance their field and educate the next generation of researchers. Their research is representative of all areas of ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=298925&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

Help NSF get to South by Southwest

News From NSF - Wed, 08/07/2019 - 09:55

The National Science Foundation needs your help. We have proposed several fascinating panels comprising an all-star cast of NSF-funded scientists, filmmakers, inventors, small business founders and partners for the 2020 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. Now we need your support— and your vote —to get our panels picked.

To ensure we're able to spotlight cutting-edge research, innovation and the men and women who make it happen, please vote for the ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=298984&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

ACM Inroads

ACM TOCE and InRoads - Mon, 08/05/2019 - 20:00
Categories: Education

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