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Cool (Computer Outreach Opportunities For Learning) Project

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Computer Literacy Among Minority Students

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.327.1 - 8.327.14



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Paper Authors

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Joseph Urban

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James Collofello

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Doris Roman

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Faye Navabi

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Mary Anderson-Rowland

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2270

COOL (Computer Outreach Opportunities for Learning) Project

James S. Collofello, Joseph E. Urban, Mary R. Anderson-Rowland, Faye Navabi, Doris Roman

Arizona State University


Although most secondary schools provide some education in computer programming and applications such as spreadsheets and word processors, they are usually deficient in preparing students for careers in software development. The lack of focus on software development topics and project level experiences fails to dispel the "hacker" mentality and "geek-image" myths most secondary school students associate with computing fields. Existing programs provide little insight into professional software development careers such as system analyst, software architect, or system tester. The COOL (Computer Outreach Opportunities for Learning) project is developing and refining an innovative secondary school software development curriculum modules pilot program. This program for secondary teachers is to provide students with a better understanding of the software development field, to dispel misconceptions, and to increase the number and diversity of students continuing their studies in preparation for software development careers, both through recruitment and retention programs. The curriculum models will be integrated into secondary school information technology courses with a focus on targeting K-12 schools with underrepresented minority students.

At the same time, students, including many underrepresented minorities, come to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) unprepared with the computer skills expected of freshmen. Often the student realizes too late that they were lacking in computer skills and by the time they catch up, the semester is over and the course has to be repeated. These students need a means (placement exam) for determining if they are prepared for the beginning classes requiring computer skills. Based on the placement exam, some students need a basic computer class to get them up to speed to commence with their CEAS major. Therefore, the COOL Project has a freshmen component for incoming ASU students, consisting of a placement test on computer skills expected for the Introduction to Engineering Design course and the beginning course for Java, an Academic Excellence basic computer skills preparation class, Academic Success Workshops (ASW) for the Java course, and a review of the Java course with a view to improve the delivery and student participation in the course. ASW provides concept building and practice exams to assist students with these gatekeeper courses. The placement exam was piloted during the 2002 Minority Summer Bridge Program and Fall 2002 semester Introduction to Java course. Students who did not score well enough on this exa m were encouraged to enroll in a special two hour Academic Excellence class on computer science basics. This class was successfully piloted as a one-hour course during the Fall 2001 semester.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Urban, J., & Collofello, J., & Roman, D., & Navabi, F., & Anderson-Rowland, M. (2003, June), Cool (Computer Outreach Opportunities For Learning) Project Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11571

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