CRA released its third set of 2020 Quadrennial Papers, part of a series of white papers produced though its subcommittees, exploring areas and issues around computing research with the potential to address national priorities over the next four years. This release focused on papers around the themes of Socio-Technical Computing and Diversity & Education.
Computing Research News
CRA’s Education Committee (CRA-E) has recently selected its 2018 CRA-E Graduate Fellow – Robert (“Rob”) Bowden. Rob is a Ph.D. student in computer science at Harvard University. The Graduate Fellows Program was established in 2015 to give graduate students the opportunity to contribute to CRA-E projects and promote computer science research and undergraduate education at the national level.
CERP asked 3,616 undergraduate computing majors about their perceptions of institutional support for becoming a middle or high school computing teacher. As seen here, very few students in this sample have been exposed to this career path in their department, and more than one-third of students perceive the career path as viewed negatively in their department. Furthermore, few students knew where to seek advice for this career path at their institution. These data suggest colleges and universities in general, and computing departments specifically, could improve the amount of emphasis placed on teaching middle or high school computing. In turn, this might result in increased interest by computing majors in becoming middle or high school computing teachers. Given recent efforts to promote widespread K-12 computing education, enhancing support for students who might be interested in becoming middle or high school computing teachers is important.
The organizing committee for the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) sponsored Computer-Aided Personalized Education has released its workshop report. The workshop, held in November 2015, brought together over 50 researchers in the fields of education, computer science, human-computer interaction, and cognitive psychology to address the challenges and future directions of computing-based educational tools. This growing agenda in computing research includes formalizing tasks such as assessment and feedback as computational problems, developing algorithmic tools to solve resulting problems at scale, and incorporating these tools effectively in learning environments.
Stay tuned to the CCC Blog for reflections from the CCC Symposium on Computing Research: Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs!
In CERP’s annual survey of undergraduate students in computing fields, students were asked to identify the resources they are using to fund their education. They could select multiple resources. This graphic shows the distribution of responses for first-generation versus continuing-generation college students. The percentages are the number of students who selected a particular funding source out of the number of students within each group (total first-generation students = 1,076; continuing-generation students = 7,157). While first-generation students’ most frequent source of education funding comes from federal loans, continuing-generation students rely most frequently on financial support from their parents. The data also show that first-generation and continuing-generation students take out private loans, make use of their personal savings, receive scholarships and/or grants, work part- or full-time, and are supported by their spouse or partner at similar rates.
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) makes substantial investments in promoting undergraduate research opportunities. These investments reflect the value that CISE attaches to a well-designed undergraduate research experience; it can be an essential, unifying element of a quality CISE-centric undergraduate program. In this article, CISE describes its approach to undergraduate research experiences, and calls on faculty to further promote a culture of undergraduate research within academic departments to strengthen the impact of current and future CISE investments.
With undergraduate enrollment in computing majors growing, up 24.1% from last year as reported in this year’s Taulbee Survey, we as a community have a responsibility to ensure quality research experiences for our students. Quality undergraduate research experiences are essential for students in all STEM disciplines, particularly students pursuing degrees in computer, information, and computational science and engineering. The interdisciplinary nature of computing (and closely related) disciplines has produced a new generation of students seeking blended degree programs that weave together computing and other disciplines through courses and deeper experiential learning. The rapidly evolving nature of computing disciplines coupled with the pervasive nature of computing and the explosion of computational and data-enabled approaches to problem-solving demand unifying research experiences to prepare students for the fullest career opportunities and to address workforce needs that will sustain our field’s leadership well into the future.