Building bridges and breaking barriers
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Building Bridges and Breaking Barriers. Panel on Diversity and Inclusion in Computer Science Education. Moderator Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek. PhD Candidate @ Virginia Tech Research on the bridge between Education and Computing. Why Diversity Matters? (Manuel Pérez-Quiñones)

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Building Bridges and Breaking Barriers

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Building bridges and breaking barriers

Building Bridges and Breaking Barriers

Panel on Diversity and Inclusion in Computer Science Education


Moderator meg dickey kurdziolek

ModeratorMeg Dickey-Kurdziolek

  • PhD Candidate @ Virginia Tech

  • Research on the bridge between Education and Computing


Outline for panel discussion

  • Why Diversity Matters? (Manuel Pérez-Quiñones)

  • Institutional efforts (Bonnie MacKellar)

  • Classroom climate (Amy Csizmar Dalal)

  • Best Practices for Inclusion (Stephanie Ludi)

  • Strategies for the Teaching Assistant (Megan Olsen)

  • Questions from the Audience

  • Continue the discussion - CS Educators for Diversity

Outline for Panel Discussion


Manuel p rez qui ones what diversity means

Manuel Pérez-Quiñones What Diversity Means

  • Assoc. Prof, CS

  • Assoc. Dean, Grad School, Virginia Tech

  • Chair CDC


Diversity is

Diversity is...

Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and 

...group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations)

 ...that can be engaged in the service of learning and working together.

http://www.aacu.org/inclusive_excellence/index.cfm


Inclusion

Inclusion

Inclusion describes the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities.


Understanding diversity

Understanding diversity

  • Stereotype Threat - disrupted performance when faced with negative stereotype (Claude Steele)

  • Privilege (Peggy Mcintosh) - special advantage enjoyed by an individual, group, or class

  • Implicit Bias - processing of information in ways that leads to biased judgements

  • Minority Tax - unfair use of minority (or women) in groups as the only representative of their groups

    • Corollary: expectations that minorities (or women) will join particular causes


Bonnie mackellar institutional efforts to support diversity

  • Associate Professor in Computer Science,St John's University, Queens, NY

  • On Women in Science Advisory Board at St John's

  • Spent 10 years working in the software industry before returning to teaching

Bonnie MacKellarInstitutional Efforts to Support Diversity


Building bridges and breaking barriers

  • 97% of our students receive financial aid, and 42% are classified as Pell eligible.

  • 23% of the CS majors are African-American, Asian-Americans account for 15%, Hispanics for 16%, white, non-Hispanic for 27%, unknown for 12% and foreign students are 11%.

  •  Two resources that helped me understand what my students struggle with :

    • Stuck in the Shallow End, Education, Race and Computing, by Jane Margolis

    • Making Computer Science Minority Friendly, by Roli Varma, CACM,Feb. 2006


Building bridges and breaking barriers

  • The importance of socioeconomic class

    • need to work while going to college

    • more focused on immediate career goals

    • less exposure to core computing concepts before college

  • The intimidation factor

    • need to level the playing field by ensuring preparation for each level of the major

  • Mentoring and community

  • The effect of course offerings and curriculum choices

  • Outreach


Building bridges and breaking barriers

  • Recommendations

    • Flexible scheduling and distance education

    • A structured curriculum in which courses build upon each other

    • Extra workshops on tools and standard practices

    • Data driven mentoring

    • Building a sense of community through special programs

    • Outreach through community-based groups

    • Recognizing that students educational goals may be very career driven

    • Certain specialized programs may seem more “accessible” to women or minorities


Amy csizmar dalal creating positive classroom environments

Amy Csizmar Dalal Creating positive classroom environments

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science, Carleton College

  • Co-chair of MinneWIC (regional women in computing celebration)


Building bridges and breaking barriers

Creating an Engaging Classroom  @ Carleton (Intro CS)

  • Level the playing field with language

  • not many students come in knowing Python

  • Language choice matters!

  • print("hello") vs public class HelloWorld{ public static void main...

  • Pair programmingmakes programming less "scary" esp @ the start

  • Role modeling (TAs, lab assts, student leaders)

  • "TA looks like me"/sensitivity training

  • Choose interesting and engaging problems

  • cryptography, image processing, graphics, earthquake data, ...


Building bridges and breaking barriers

Creating an Engaging CS Experience  @ Carleton

  • "Flatter" class structure

  • Intro --> Data Structures OR Software Design OR Org&Arch OR Math of CS

  • CS2 != Weed-out course

  •  remove the stigma:  word of mouth, etc.

  • Minimal pre-reqs for (most) electives

  •  makes it easy for non-majors to take many CS courses---great recruitment strategy!

  • Challenges:

    • creating a culture from scratch

    • spaces (labs, lounges) less than ideal


Stephanie ludi inclusion in the classroom

  • Associate Professor, Graduate Program Coordinator, Software Engineering @ Rochester Institute of Technology

  • Focus on pre-college outreach for girls and students with disabilities

Stephanie LudiInclusion in the classroom


Building bridges and breaking barriers

Best Practices

  • Many best practices help all students, including students who are disabled.

    • Announcements should be in writing and verbally stated.

    • Clear instructions and expectations on assignments, tests, etc.

    • Avoid use of red-green for color coding on the whiteboard

    • Use of class web site for class materials and announcements.

    • Call the student by name as they may not be able to see you or read your body language.

  • Expectations for the course should not change for disabled students.


Building bridges and breaking barriers

Strategies: Disabled Students

  • Whenever possible work with the student and the disabled student services office BEFORE the term.

    • Try to have the text selected in advance of the term (in case a non-print version needs to be acquired)

    • Use accessible media (e.g. captioned videos, documents)

    • Set up of lab computer/software to work with assistive technology (e.g. screen reader, adjustable desk)

      • Software such as Visual Studio and Eclipse have good accessibility

      • Proprietary software may have issues

    • Test/Lab practicum accommodations may require extra time or alternative means of recording answers

  • Most accommodations are inexpensive and take little time to do.

  • DO NOT ask the student about their disability, focus on the accommodation

  • Department and course websites should be accessible (W3C Accessibility standards).

  • Include discussion about working with disabled students as part of TA training


Building bridges and breaking barriers

Strategies: Disabled Students

  • If a sign language interpreter is assigned to the class or if a student reads lips, be sure that you do not “speak to the whiteboard”

  • If you need to meet with a deaf/hard of hearing student or a student with a severe speech impediment you can communicate via the whiteboard or IM if needed for understandability.

  • Always speak directly to the disabled student, not at their notetaker, aide, friend, or interpreter.


Megan olsen

  • Graduate Research & Teaching Assistant,   UMass Amherst

  • Faculty diversity committee

  • CS Women's Group

Megan Olsen


Building bridges and breaking barriers

Getting Involved in Teaching as a TA

  • Take a class on teaching

  • Get the position you want!

    • Talk to professor you will TA for

    • Talk to professor in charge of assigning TAs

    • There may be 1 credit or even 3 credit classes you could teach on your own

    • Make your intentions clear!

  • Summer teaching at other colleges & universities is also an option

    • A great way to help encourage more diverse people to continue studying computer science!


Building bridges and breaking barriers

Helping Diversity as a TA - 

Things you may control

  • Be aware of diversity teaching tips

  • Be aware of your students if you're teaching a lab

  • Know what to do if a student appears to be struggling

  • There are more types of diversity than the ones you can see physically

  • Grade fairly.  Put extra effort into grading fairly, especially if you are new to grading.

  • Be willing to get advice from faculty members!


Building bridges and breaking barriers

Helping Diversity as a TA - 

Things you may NOT control

  • Seemingly unfair policies set by the professor or department - what can you do? what should you do?

  • You have a grader, who doesn't seem to grade fairly


Building bridges and breaking barriers

Outreach

  • Find events in your community or your department where you can help teach computers to a diverse set of people

    • Will give you teaching experience

    • Will help diversity

    • Will open up more opportunities than you expected!

  •  Get involved in your department!

    • You may be able to be a student member of a faculty Diversity committee, or similar group that works toward increasing diversity in your department 

    • Your experiences will be invaluable! Share them!


Questions for the panel

Questions for the panel?

http://tinyurl.com/CSEDDiversity


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