For Better or For Worse:
Is What We Are Doing Right? Jennifer Wong
Department of Computer Science
Univeristy of Victoria
Many initiatives have risen in response to an enrolment Motivations
decrease in Computer Science. However, many questions
and challenges still remain unresolved. Initiatives have been
designing and deploying activities and pedagogy, but how do
Mathematics, Computer & Information Science
we know we are actually recruiting and retaining instead of
dejecting students? This poster will address various issues Female Male
and attempt to answer some of these issues and challenges. 40,000
Related Work 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Scratch Puzzle Piece “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the
Lego Blocks Normal Java first four sharpening the axe.”
- Abraham Lincoln
Design of Study
Java VS Python  Because there are multiple variables that can contribute to the issues at
hand, we need to eliminate variables to look at each time.
Case Studies Variables Hypotheses Control Experiments
Seniors See Control
Mix-Method Approach  learning Age “WHO?” Experiment
new skills section 1
learning CS Gender Hypothesis
concepts 2 2
Pilot Study: Variable Age Children
Self Efficacy Hypothesis
2 case study scenarios: Comfort Level
Children Hypothesis Experiment
Children learning Computer Science concepts (Environment) 4 4 Result
Seniors learning how to use the Internet (details in ) concepts
Qualitative Findings: Role Models Hypothesis Experiment
Children Seniors 5 5
Attention More More
Concepts vs Control
Reassurance Less More Hypothesis Experiment
Willingness to More Less 6
Case Study m Learning Hypothesis
Outcome hypothesis: Experiment
Style 7 7
While the traditional form of teaching may attract the
older group, the additional “fun” component may be
more appealing to the younger group. WHERE?
! Z. Dodds, R. libeskind-Hadas, C. Alvarado, and G. Kuenning. Evaluating a breadth-first cs 1 for scientists.
WHAT? SIGCSE Bull., 40(1):266-270, March 2008.
! T. M. Rao and S. Mitra. An early software engineering approach to teaching cs1, cs2 and ai. SIGCSE Bull.,
40(1):143-147, March 2008.
The Next Step ! L. Malka, W. Shenkenfelder, D. Sprague, J. Wong, E. Soroush, S. Marczak, and A. Hamidi. Teaching Senior
Citizens to Use the Internet: A Student Engagement. In Proceedings of the 13th Annual Western Canadian
Conference on Computing Education (WCCCE) Conference, May 2008.
! University enrolment, pages 5-9, October 2005.
Part of the initiative should be dedicated to evaluation ! J. Wong, A. Walker, U. Stege, Y. Coady, A. Agah-St. Pierre, and C. Gibbs. Workshop on evaluating impact and
More pilot case studies to look at other variables identifying measures of success: when are outreach initiatives successful? In CCWESTT ’08: Proceedings of the
12th Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades, and Technology conference, Guelph,
Ontario, Canada, May 2008.
Mary Lou Jepsen