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Dust on the wind: Study reveals surprising role of dust in mountain ecosystems

News From NSF - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 14:00

Find related stories on NSF's Critical Zone Observatories at this link.

Trees growing atop granite in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains rely on nutrients from windborne dust more than on nutrients from the underlying bedrock.

This surprising finding resulted from a study led by University of Wyoming (UW) scientists. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243817&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

NSF statement on latest LIGO-Virgo detection of binary black hole merger

News From NSF - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 13:13

Scientists supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced the detection of the merger of two relatively "light" black holes, 7 and 12 times the mass of the sun, respectively, at a distance of about 1 billion light-years. NSF'sLaser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) made the detection in June. LIGO is funded by NSF and operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The black hole ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243901&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

Massive primordial galaxies found in ‘halo’ of dark matter

News From NSF - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 13:00

Observations of two galaxies made with the National Science Foundation-funded Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope suggest that large galaxies formed faster than scientists had previously thought.

The two galaxies, first discovered by the South Pole Telescope at NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, were massive and star-filled at a time when the cosmos was less than a billion years old.

The observation came as a surprise, ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243892&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

US National Academics Report Investigates the Growth of CS Undergraduate Enrollments #CSEdWeek

ComputingEd - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 07:00

The new National Academies report on the growth of CS undergraduate enrollments came out last month. It’s important because it reflects the recommendations of scholars across disciplines in dealing with our enormous enrollment growth (see Generation CS report for more findings on the surge).

I wrote about this report in my Blog@CACM post for this month, The Real Costs of a Computer Science Teacher are Opportunity Costs, and Those Are Enormous.  The report talks about how hard it is to hire new faculty to deal with the enrollment boom, because the Tech industry is increasing its share of new PhD’s and recruiting away existing faculty.

Eric Roberts at Stanford was part of the report writing, and points out that the committee did not reach agreement that there is a problem with participation by underrepresented minorities. Quoting Eric’s message to SIGCSE-members, “the committee did not find comparable evidence that departmental limitations have historically had a negative effect on participation by underrepresented minorities. In fact, the total number of degrees awarded to students in the largest of the underrepresented demographic groups (African American and Latino/Latina) has roughly matched the percentages at which students from those communities obtain bachelor’s degrees.”  It’s surprising, and Eric’s note goes on to explain why that result is so concerning. The report does say clearly, “Institutions should take deliberate actions to support diversity in their computer science and related programs.”

Since 2006, computer science departments in the U.S and Canada have experienced a surge in the number of undergraduate majors and course enrollments. The resulting strain on departmental and institutional resources has been significant for many departments, especially with respect to faculty hiring and overall workload. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has recently addressed the issue with the release a report titled “Assessing and Responding to the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments.”

The NAS report discusses strategies central for managing enrollment and resources, and makes recommendations for departments and institutions. Its findings and recommendations provide much-needed guidelines on how institutions can allocate resources to meet growing student demand and to adequately support their computer science department in the increasingly central role of computer science in education and research. “The way colleges and universities respond to the surge in student interest and enrollment can have a significant impact on the health of the field,” said Susanne Hambrusch, co-chair of the report’s committee and a professor of computer science at Purdue University.  “While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, all institutions need to make strategic plans to address realistically and effectively the growing demand for the courses.”

Source: NAS Report Investigates the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments


Tagged: BPC, faculty, public policy, undergraduate enrollment

Green Bank Observatory: NSF Releases Draft Environmental Impact Statement

News From NSF - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 09:46

Richard F. Green, the National Science Foundation's division director for Astronomical Sciences, issued the following statement:

On Nov. 8, 2017, the National Science Foundation (NSF) published the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia.

NSF prepared the DEIS in compliance with the National Environmental Policy ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243839&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click


This is an NSF News item.

Most jobs requiring CS skills do not require a CS degree #CSEdWeek

ComputingEd - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 07:00

I am excited about this new report from Burning Glass and Oracle because it provides evidence for the claim that the vast majority of people who need CS skills will not be CS majors.  I will be joining folks from Burning Glass and Alison Derbenwick Miller and others from Oracle Academy in a Twitter chat about the report Wednesday, December 6 at 4 pm PT/7 pm ET.  Hope you can join us.

Only 18% of these jobs specifically request a computer science degree

While many employers are looking for workers with strong computer science skills, they are not necessarily looking only at job seekers with computer science degrees. Only 18% of jobs in the categories listed above specifically request a computer science degree. (Most postings do request a bachelor’s degree generally or a degree in another major.) Programming and data analysis jobs are the only categories that have significant demand for computer science degrees. For all other categories, fewer than 5% of postings request a computer science degree.[1] This means that students in a broad range of education programs can enhance their job market value by including computer science in their education pathways.

Source: Rebooting Jobs | Computer Science Skills | Burning Glass Technologies


Tagged: computing education, cs majors, end-user programmers, jobs, non-CS majors

Prediction: The majority of US high school students will take CS classes online #CSEdWeek

ComputingEd - Mon, 12/04/2017 - 07:00

The Washington Post got it wrong when it announced that Virginia is the first state to mandate CS education for all students.  South Carolina has had that mandate for 30 years.  But they couldn’t prepare enough teachers to teach computer science, so they took classes they were already teaching (like “keyboarding”) and counted those as CS classes.

Virginia could fall into the same trap, but I don’t think so.  Instead, I predict that most Virginia high school students will take CS on-line (and that likely goes for the rest of the US, too).  I was struck by how the Richmond-Times Dispatch described the vote to mandate CS (below quoted from here):

The standards, approved unanimously, but reluctantly, by the state Board of Education on Thursday, are a framework for computer science education in the state. Other states have advisory standards, but Virginia became the first to have mandatory standards.

Board member Anne Holton voiced her concern with the grade level appropriateness of the standards before the vote.

“The standards, they seem ambitious to me,” she said. “These are not meant as aspirational standards, they are meant as a mandate that our teachers need to be able to teach.”

“We’re clearly leading the nation and that puts an extra burden on us to get it right.”

Mark Saunders, the director of the Education Department’s Office of Technology and Virtual Learning, led a presentation of the department’s process in adopting the standards.

The presentation satisfied the board enough to vote on the standards rather than delay action until January.

I’m reading between the lines here, but I’m guessing the process went something like this: Board members balked at a statewide mandate because they knew they didn’t have the teachers to support it. Then they were assured that the Virtual Learning system could handle the load, so they voted for it (“reluctantly” as the article says).

I don’t know that anybody’s tracking this, but my guess is that it’s already the case that most high school students studying CS in the United States are doing it online.  Since we are not producing enough new CS teachers, the push to grow CS education in high schools is probably going to push more CS students online. This is how schools in Arkansas and other states are meeting the requirements for schools to offer CS — simply make the virtual high school CS course available, and you’ve met the requirement. No teacher hiring or professional learning required.  I know from log file analyses that we are seeing huge numbers of students coming into our ebooks through virtual high school classes.

What are the ramifications of this trend?  We know that not everyone succeeds in online classes, that they tend to have much higher withdrawal and failure rates. We know that most people learn best with active learning (see one of my posts on this), and we do not yet know how to replicate active learning methodologies in online classes.  In particular, lecture-based learning (which is what much of online learning attempts to replicate) works best for the most privileged studentsOur society depends on teachers who motivate students to persevere and learn. Does serving high school CS through online classes increase accessibility, or decrease diversity of those who successfully complete high school CS classes?  Will students still be interested in pursuing CS in the future if their only experience is through a mandated online course?  Does the end result of mostly-online high school CS classes serve the goals of high-quality CS education for all students?

 


Tagged: high school CS, online courses, online education, public policy

NSF-funded research to forecast space weather, protect the power grid, pipelines and satellites

News From NSF - Mon, 12/04/2017 - 00:00

Multidisciplinary approach to developing next-generation space weather modeling tools, with the goal of a five-day forecast capability
Full story at https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/spaceweather.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51


This is an NSF News item.

Where the STEM Jobs Are (and Where They Aren’t): Ignoring health care and end-user programmers

ComputingEd - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 07:00

The NY Times linked below attracted a lot of attention because it claims that CS is the only field where demand outstrips supply. There’s a big asterisk on the graph below — the claim that there are more life sciences graduates than jobs “does not include health care occupations.

This report still underestimates the demand for CS in industry. Here at Georgia Tech (and at many other schools, as I read Generation CS), a huge part of our undergraduate course load comes from students who are not majoring in CS, but they expect to use CS in their non-software-development jobs.

“There is a huge divide between the computing technology roles and the traditional sciences,” said Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist. At LinkedIn, researchers identified the skills most in demand. The top 10 last year were all computer skills, including expertise in cloud computing, data mining and statistical analysis, and writing smartphone applications. In a recent analysis, Edward Lazowska, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, focused on the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment forecasts in STEM categories. In the decade ending in 2024, 73 percent of STEM job growth will be in computer occupations, but only 3 percent will be in the physical sciences and 3 percent in the life sciences. A working grasp of the principles of science and math should be essential knowledge for all Americans, said Michael S. Teitelbaum, an expert on science education and policy. But he believes that STEM advocates, often executives and lobbyists for technology companies, do a disservice when they raise the alarm that America is facing a worrying shortfall of STEM workers, based on shortages in a relative handful of fast-growing fields like data analytics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and computer security.

 


Tagged: computing education, jobs, STEM

How Student Centered is the Computer Science Classroom? A Survey of College Faculty

ACM TOCE and InRoads - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 19:00
Scott Grissom, Renée Mccauley, Laurie Murphy

Student-centered instructional practices structure a class so that students interact with each other, engage deeply with the content, and receive formative feedback. These evidence-based practices benefit all students but are particularly effective with underrepresented learners, including women and members of other minority groups. To what extent have computer science (CS) faculty embraced these strategies? We surveyed over 700 U.S. faculty to find out. Results suggest that female faculty, associate professors, and those teaching courses with enrollment above 80 students are more likely to use these student-centered practices. Across all responses, 20% of faculty use student--student interaction on a regular basis during class.
Categories: Education

How Student Centered is the Computer Science Classroom? A Survey of College Faculty

ACM Transactions on Computing Education - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 19:00
Scott Grissom, Renée Mccauley, Laurie Murphy

Student-centered instructional practices structure a class so that students interact with each other, engage deeply with the content, and receive formative feedback. These evidence-based practices benefit all students but are particularly effective with underrepresented learners, including women and members of other minority groups. To what extent have computer science (CS) faculty embraced these strategies? We surveyed over 700 U.S. faculty to find out. Results suggest that female faculty, associate professors, and those teaching courses with enrollment above 80 students are more likely to use these student-centered practices. Across all responses, 20% of faculty use student--student interaction on a regular basis during class.

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