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ACM TOCE and InRoads

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Capstones and Large Projects in Computing Education

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:00
Mark Sherriff, Sarah Heckman

Capstone and large projects in computing education are used as a vehicle for giving students as close to a “real-world” experience in software development as possible within the constraints of a computing degree program. This special issue presents four articles that focus on empirical research on capstone or other large-scale projects. These articles discuss areas such as project selection, working with external stakeholders, choosing the appropriate development methodology, incorporating creative activities to support student engagement, and learning.
Categories: Education

A Multi-Institutional Perspective on H/FOSS Projects in the Computing Curriculum

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:00
Grant Braught, John Maccormick, James Bowring, Quinn Burke, Barbara Cutler, David Goldschmidt, Mukkai Krishnamoorthy, Wesley Turner, Steven Huss-Lederman, Bonnie Mackellar, Allen Tucker

Many computer science programs have capstone experiences or project courses that allow students to integrate knowledge from the full breadth of their major. Such capstone projects may be student-designed, instructor-designed, designed in conjunction with outside companies, or integrated with ongoing free and open source (FOSS) projects. The literature shows that the FOSS approach has attracted a great deal of interest, in particular when implemented with projects that have humanitarian goals (HFOSS). In this article, we describe five unique models from five distinct types of institutions for incorporating sustained FOSS or HFOSS (alternatively H/FOSS) project work into capstone experiences or courses. The goal is to provide instructors wishing to integrate open source experiences into their curriculum with additional perspectives and resources to help in adapting this approach to the specific needs and goals of their institution and students.
Categories: Education

Involving External Stakeholders in Project Courses

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:00
Jan-Philipp Steghöfer, Håkan Burden, Regina Hebig, Gul Calikli, Robert Feldt, Imed Hammouda, Jennifer Horkoff, Eric Knauss, Grischa Liebel

Problem: The involvement of external stakeholders in capstone projects and project courses is desirable due to its potential positive effects on the students. Capstone projects particularly profit from the inclusion of an industrial partner to make the project relevant and help students acquire professional skills. In addition, an increasing push towards education that is aligned with industry and incorporates industrial partners can be observed. However, the involvement of external stakeholders in teaching moments can create friction and could, in the worst case, lead to frustration of all involved parties. Contribution: We developed a model that allows analysing the involvement of external stakeholders in university courses both in a retrospective fashion, to gain insights from past course instances, and in a constructive fashion, to plan the involvement of external stakeholders.
Categories: Education

A Scalable Methodology to Guide Student Teams Executing Computing Projects

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:00
Jeffrey S. Saltz, Robert R. Heckman

This article reports on a sequential mixed-methods research study, which compared different approaches on how to guide students through a semester-long data science project. Four different methodologies, ranging from a traditional “just assign some intermediate milestones” to other more Agile methodologies, were first compared via a controlled experiment. The results of this initial experiment showed that the project methodology used made a significant difference in student outcomes. Surprisingly, the Agile Kanban approach was found to be much more effective than the Agile Scrum methodology. Based on these initial results, in the second semester, we focused on use of the Kanban methodology.
Categories: Education

Software Theater—Teaching Demo-Oriented Prototyping

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 20:00
Stephan Krusche, Dora Dzvonyar, Han Xu, Bernd Bruegge

Modern capstone courses use agile methods to deliver and demonstrate software early in the project. However, a simple demonstration of functional and static aspects does not provide real-world software usage context, although this is integral to understand software requirements. Software engineering involves capabilities such as creativity, imagination, and interaction, which are typically not emphasized in software engineering courses. A more engaging, dynamic way of presenting software prototypes is needed to demonstrate the context in which the software is used. We combine agile methods, scenario-based design, and theatrical aspects into software theater, an approach to present visionary scenarios using techniques borrowed from theater and film, including props and humor.
Categories: Education

ACM Inroads

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Categories: Education

Editors' message

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Mark Bailey, Laurie Smith King

Categories: Education

News from the SIGs

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Ellen Walker, Amber Settle, Steve Zilora

In this issue of News from the SIGs, we present news from SIGCSE and SIGITE. Amber Settle, Chair of SIGCSE discusses the benefits of SIGCSE for practitioners and highlights some resources. Steven Zilora reflects on the growth and maturity of SIGITE as he completes his term as chair.
Categories: Education

Chapter exercises

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Jeffrey L. Popyack

Categories: Education

THINKING PROFESSIONALLY: The continual evolution of interest in computing ethics

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Don Gotterbarn, Marty J. Wolf, Catherine Flick, Keith Miller

Categories: Education

HIGH SCHOOL PERSPECTIVES: High school CS competitions

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Amanda Lattimore

Categories: Education

MATH COUNTS: A computer science educator visits

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
John P. Dougherty

Categories: Education

CURRICULAR SYNCOPATIONS: Getting started with a program review

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Henry M. Walker

Categories: Education

Apps for everyone: mobile accessibility learning modules

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Yasmine N. El-Glaly, Anthony Peruma, Daniel E. Krutz, J. Scott Hawker

Mobile applications (apps) should be accessible to everyone, yet many of even the most popular are not. To address the lack of accessibility problem, we created a set of educational modules. These modules may be used to teach students and developers about proper methods of creating accessible apps, and on the importance of accessibility guidelines. Each module contains a well-defined accessibility problem, provides details about the accessibility issue, and simulates the effects of the accessibility barrier. Information is provided on how to fix the accessibility issue. Additionally, each module includes augmenting educational materials (slides, instructional videos, etc.), and example apps.
Categories: Education

The introductory computer programming course is first and foremost a course

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Scott R. Portnoff

An fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) study published in 2014 established that comprehension of computer programs occurs in the same regions of the brain that process natural languages---not logic, not math. The unexpectedness of this result was primed in part by the widespread belief that the language aspects of learning how to program are trivial when compared to learning to use programming languages for engineering tasks. In fact, though, the fMRI data is compelling cognitive evidence for the argument that the reason students have been failing introductory programming courses in large numbers---for decades---is because CS educators have underestimated the importance of teaching programming languages as languages per se.
Categories: Education

Evaluation of native and transfer students' success in a computer science course

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Helen Catanese, Carl Hauser, Assefaw H. Gebremedhin

This study is motivated by a practical question faced by a computer science curriculum committee at a major research university. And that question is, are students who transfer credits for the first two courses into the computer science program at a disadvantage in their likelihood for success in the third course compared to students who took all three courses locally at the university? A retrospective longitudinal study using data from 2012 to 2016 revealed that transfer students succeeded in the third course in just about the same way as native students.
Categories: Education

The persistent effect of pre-college computing experience on college CS course grades

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 20:00
Christine Alvarado, Gustavo Umbelino, Mia Minnes

Many college computer science majors 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.
Categories: Education

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