Join us to discuss women’s elective choices in Computing on Monday 4th March at 2pm GMT

How can we increase participation of women in computing? Curricula are an obvious place to start. Understanding student motivations for their learning choices can help educators develop more effective programs of study. Join us to discuss a paper modeling women’s elective choices in computing by Steven Bradley, Miranda C. Parker, Rukiye Altin, Lecia Barker, Sara Hooshangi, Thom Kunkeler, Ruth G. Lennon, Fiona McNeill, Julià Minguillón, Jack Parkinson, Svetlana Peltsverger and Naaz Sibia from the Proceedings of the 2023 Working Group Reports on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE). From the abstract:

Evidence-based strategies suggest ways to reduce the gender gap in computing. For example, elective classes are valuable in enabling students to choose in which directions to expand their computing knowledge in areas aligned with their interests. The availability of electives of interest may also make computing programs of study more meaningful to women. However, research on which elective computing topics are more appealing to women is often class or institution specific. In this study, we investigate differences in enrollment within undergraduate-level elective classes in computing to study differences between women and men. The study combined data from nine institutions from both Western Europe and North America and included 272 different classes with 49,710 student enrollments. These classes were encoded using ACM curriculum guidelines and combined with the enrollment data to build a hierarchical statistical model of factors affecting student choice. Our model shows which elective topics are less popular with all students (including fundamentals of programming languages and parallel and distributed computing), and which elective topics are more popular with women students (including mathematical and statistical foundations, human computer interaction and society, ethics, and professionalism). Understanding which classes appeal to different students can help departments gain insight of student choices and develop programs accordingly. Additionally, these choices can also help departments explore whether some students are less likely to choose certain classes than others, indicating potential barriers to participation in computing.

As usual we’ll be meeting on zoom, all welcome, joining details at sigcse.cs.manchester.ac.uk/join-us

References

  1. Steven Bradley, Miranda C. Parker, Rukiye Altin, Lecia Barker, Sara Hooshangi, Thom Kunkeler, Ruth G. Lennon, Fiona McNeill, Julià Minguillón, Jack Parkinson, Svetlana Peltsverger, Naaz Sibia (2023) ITiCSE-WGR ’23: Proceedings of the 2023 Working Group Reports on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, Pages 196–226, DOI:10.1145/3623762.3633497

CC licensed image via flaticon.com

Join us to discuss widening participation for Women in Computing on Monday 7th February at 2pm GMT

Public domain image of Margaret Hamilton standing next to a print out of software that she and her MIT team produced for the Apollo Guidance Computer in 1969 via Wikimedia Commons w.wiki/4mXY

Computing is too important to be left to men, but where have all the women gone? While women continue to play a key role in computing they are currently under-represented in Computer Science. How can we change this and what evidence is there for practices that get more women into computing? Join us to discuss the subject via a paper by Briana Morrison et al [1] on Monday 7th February at 2pm GMT. Here is the abstract of the paper:

Computing has, for many years, been one of the least demographically diverse STEM fields, particularly in terms of women’s participation. The last decade has seen a proliferation of research exploring new teaching techniques and their effect on the retention of students who have historically been excluded from computing. This research suggests interventions and practices that can affect the inclusiveness of the computer science classroom and potentially improve learning outcomes for all students. But research needs to be translated into practice, and practices need to be taken up in real classrooms. The current paper reports on the results of a focused systematic “state-of-the-art” review of recent empirical studies of teaching practices that have some explicit test of the impact on women in computing. Using the NCWIT Engagement Practices Framework as a means of organisation, we summarise this research, outline the practices that have the most empirical support, and suggest where additional research is needed.

All welcome, whatever your gender identity, gender expression or biological sex. As usual we’ll be meeting on zoom, details are in the slack channel sigcse.cs.manchester.ac.uk/join-us

References

  1. Briana B. Morrison, Beth A. Quinn, Steven Bradley, Kevin Buffardi, Brian Harrington, Helen H. Hu, Maria Kallia, Fiona McNeill, Oluwakemi Ola, Miranda Parker, Jennifer Rosato and Jane Waite (2021) Evidence for Teaching Practices that Broaden Participation for Women in Computing in Proceedings of the 2021 Working Group Reports on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education DOI:10.1145/3502870.3506568