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A Systematic Review of Social Constructivist Pedagogies in Computing and their Effects on Broadening Participation for Women in Undergraduate Computing (Research)

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

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Jasmine Skye Batten Florida International University Orcid 16x16

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Jasmine Batten is a computer science Ph.D. student and computer science education graduate research assistant in the School of Computing and Information Sciences (SCIS) at Florida International University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with honors in 2019 from Florida International University. She is dedicated to improving women's retention and persistence in computer science by exploring social constructivist pedagogies and their effects on women at the intersection of race and gender. She is passionate about improving diversity and equity in computer science by conducting research that promotes inclusive learning environments. Her goal is to complete her Ph.D. and become a computer science professor to continue serving the computer science education community through mentorship, research, and teaching.

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Monique S. Ross Florida International University Orcid 16x16

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Monique Ross, Assistant Professor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences and STEM Transformation Institute at Florida International University, designs research focused on broadening participation in computer science through the exploration of: 1) race, gender, and disciplinary identity; 2) discipline-based education research (with a focus on computer science and computer engineering courses) in order to inform pedagogical practices that garner interest and retain women (specifically Black and Hispanic women) in computer-related engineering fields. 

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The necessity for computing professionals has underlined the underrepresentation of minoritized women, including African American or Black, Hispanic or Latina/Latinx, and Native American or American Indian women. Therefore, the computing education research community (CER) have explored pedagogies to improve computing students' learning outcomes based on existing learning theories. Few studies have reviewed pedagogies in the context of social constructivism. Social constructivism is a learning theory defined as the collaborative co-construction of knowledge. Social constructivist pedagogies have enhanced learning outcomes for minoritized women in other STEM fields, but their effects have not been studied extensively in CER. We reference intersectionality theory to guide our search around gender/race/ethnicity, critique the literature, and identify future areas of research. Therefore, this paper presents a systematic literature review to investigate social constructivist pedagogies employed within CER. This review seeks to answer the following questions: 1) Which social constructivist computing pedagogies affect the learning experiences of undergraduate women, specifically at the intersection of gender/race/ethnicity? 2) What is the relationship between different types of social constructivist computing pedagogies and undergraduate women’s learning outcomes, retention, and persistence, specifically at the intersection of gender/race/ethnicity? This study utilizes Szabo's taxonomy, created for categorizing CER interventions, to guide our search around pedagogical types. We pick classifications from this taxonomy that align with principles of social constructivism to create inclusion criteria. Specifically, this review considers social constructivist pedagogies in CER as: peer-led team learning (PLTL), process-oriented guided-inquiry (POGIL), pair programming, contributing student pedagogy, project-based learning, peer instruction, team-based learning, and flipped learning or flipped classrooms. The results are from the selected 14 out of 710 papers found in the ACM Digital Library. Only 5 of the 14 papers reviewed provided race/ethnicity data and/or disaggregated their findings based on these subgroups, meaning a majority of our findings are related only to gender. Our results found that PLTL may show promise for improving “soft skills,” sense of belonging, and learning experiences for peer leaders and female CS students. Additionally, pair programming and peer instruction may be viable practices that will help benefit women in computing with regards to learning experiences and learning outcomes, but not their retention or persistence. Highly collaborative course offerings, such as flipped classrooms and “trio of best practices” classrooms, were shown to improve learning experiences, learning outcomes, retention, and persistence of minoritized women in computing. Future research is still needed around pedagogical impacts on individual intersections such as Black women, Latina women, and Native American women. Additionally, future quantitative studies should provide demographic data and disaggregate on intersectional subgroups to further analyze pedagogical impacts individually, as most studies in this review only considered gender.

Batten, J. S., & Ross, M. S. (2021, July), A Systematic Review of Social Constructivist Pedagogies in Computing and their Effects on Broadening Participation for Women in Undergraduate Computing (Research) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36622

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