Prof. Mark Guzdial and Ass. Prof. Barbara Ericson: Teaching Computer Science to Reach a Broader Audience
Computer science was originally invented as a tool to support learning in other disciplines, including engineering and economics. Today, most of computer science education is aimed at preparing future software developers. How do we broaden the appeal of and access to computer science education, to something closer to what the inventors of the field had in mind?
These two talks will explore this question:
- Mark Guzdial will offer a historical perspective on the purpose of computer science. He will present his recent work in task-specific programming — re-defining computer programming to meet the unique needs of other disciplines.
- Barbara Ericson will present alternative ways to teach computer science, changing both modality (ebooks) and practices (Parsons problem). She will describe how she uses these new approaches with undergraduate students, high school teachers, and high school students.
Together, Mark Guzdial and Barbara Ericson received the 2010 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator award, the only time the award has ever been given to a pair. They have written several books on “Media Computation,” a contextualized approach to introductory computing.
Mark Guzdial is a Professor in Computer Science & Engineering and Engineering Education Research at the University of Michigan. He studies how people come to understand computing and how to make that more effective. He is an ACM Distinguished Educator and a Fellow of the ACM. His most recent book is Learner-Centered Design of Computing Education: Research on Computing for Everyone (Morgan & Claypool, 2015). He received the 2019 ACM SIGCSE Outstanding Contributions to Education award.
Barbara Ericson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. She studies ways to improve learning in computing. For the last several years she has been contributing to an open-source platform (Runestone Academy) and several free interactive ebooks on that platform. She uses the platform to study low-cognitive load practice problems such as mixed-up code (Parsons) problems. She is also passionate about improving the diversity of students studying computing.