June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Software Engineering Constituent Committee
22.1653.1 - 22.1653.9
Using Vertically Integrated Project Teams to Inspire Student Interest in Computing Careers The precipitous decline in students majoring in computing degree programs has stopped, butno adequate recovery is in sight. The most recent numbers available show about 62,000 newcomputing graduates for a market estimated by the Department of Labor to require over 150,000new entrants each year. Attracting students in the computing field has always been a major challenge. Factors suchas the geek image, a demanding mathematical foundation, the lack of a “gee wiz” element earlyin the curriculum, and the dot com bust are all contributors to this problem. However, attractingstudents is only a first step. Maintaining student interest is also difficult. This paper describes aNSF-funded project that is exploring vertically integrated teams as a way of inspiring studentinterest in computing. This project is focused on undergraduate computing education. The central tenet of theproject is that computing education will benefit by engaging students in hands-on, team-basedprojects much earlier in their education. The excitement of student teams working on capstonedesign projects is commonly observed. The goal of this project is to let much less experiencedstudents see and share in that excitement based on their skill levels. Advanced undergraduates working on capstone design projects are at the center of theproject. The capstone experience will be shared with less experienced students by teamingadvanced undergraduates with beginning undergraduates. This teaming will be designed tobenefit both the beginning and advanced students. The core focus on undergraduates would be extended in several directions. Activities will beextended to pre-college students and their teachers in grades 6-12. The project will exploreactivities appropriate for these students along with creating opportunities for personal interactionbetween pre-college students and advanced undergraduates. The project will also extend upwardsto include participation by computing professionals and graduate students. This approach willprovide added value for the advanced undergraduates and help ensure that the overall effort is inline with needs of future employers, as well as give a positive image for continuing on to graduateschool. This paper presents the project concepts and goals, and discusses the implications forundergraduate computing education. The paper also provides an overview of initial activities andresults.
Towhidnejad, M., & Hilburn, T. B., & Urban, J. E., & Hislop, G. W., & Stansbury, R. (2011, June), Using Vertically Integrated Project Teams to Inspire Studnet Interest in Computing Careers Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18927
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