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Board 222: Broadening Participation in Computing and Artificial Intelligence at a Hispanic-Serving Community College

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Sarah Rodriguez Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16

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Sarah L. Rodriguez is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education and an affiliate faculty member with the Higher Education Program at Virginia Tech. In her research, she concentrates on identifying and asking urgent questions about systemic inequities such as racism, sexism, and classism that marginalized communities experience as they transition to and through their engineering and computing higher education experiences.

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Anabel Mederos

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antonio delgado

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The rapid pace with which advances in computing are being made in recent years has resulted in an increasing need for a competent computing workforce. Yet, the rate at which postsecondary students are choosing to pursue computing disciplines is lagging, creating a deficit of computing professionals. This project, funded by the NSF DUE/HSI Program, is focused on developing artificial intelligence (AI) courses and an interdisciplinary certificate that will expose all college students to AI while building capacity for the development of a four-year degree in applied AI. The project aims to serve the national interest by increasing community colleges’ (CC) capacity to attract and train students in AI.

This four-year project takes place at one of the nation’s most diverse and largest institutions of higher education and brings together a local university partner, a non-profit organization, industry partners, and social scientists to more fully understand how to implement, assess, and expand computing pathways, particularly in the CC space and for a diverse student population. Key objectives for the project have included developing and implementing a 9 credit interdisciplinary AI certificate at the CC level, creating initial entry points to AI (e.g. bootcamps, workshops), and coordinating mentoring and other support activities to build engagement. Grant staff are also making significant progress related to the AS and BS degrees, as one of the objectives of the grant is to secure and provide a basis to establish the AS and BS.

The project’s evaluation team found that reported positively on their engagements. Overall, faculty reported that the curriculum development process went smoothly with grant staff’s intentionality about including key stakeholders in the process of curriculum development. Faculty reported being satisfied with the professional development and believed it had applicable information to share with their students. Students reported that they learned a lot in the course and found it relevant to their education. Students appreciated the integration of the non-profit’s workshops with the CC course and reported that they would participate in a similar collaborative course in the future as well as recommend other students participate.

The project’s research team, focused on understanding computing identity development at a Hispanic-serving community college, found that students sought a more refined computing identity, based upon how they understood computing concepts and their own professional goals. Students who had prior computing experiences found it easier to recognize their computing identity. A range of computing pathways inspired multiple forms of community cultural wealth and funds of identity. Students drew on early community cultural wealth and funds of identity from their families and communities while other participants derived their wealth and identity from professional journeys that led them to computing. Students acknowledged the role of the outside world in shaping their computing identity experiences, including the growing needs and challenges regarding computing and artificial intelligence. These market needs influenced how CC students defined their computing interests, relative competence, and need to perform certain tasks to be recognized as computing people.

Rodriguez, S., & Mederos, A., & delgado, A. (2023, June), Board 222: Broadening Participation in Computing and Artificial Intelligence at a Hispanic-Serving Community College Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--42652

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