This year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE) CISE made its first CAREER awards for research in computer science education. The awardees are Kristy Boyer, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at North Carolina State University, and Ben Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Tufts University.
Dr. Boyer’s work explores collaborative learning among computer science undergraduates. Students collaborate through a system that supports text-based natural language dialog, synchronized code ending, and shared repository control. Her research uses techniques in machine learning to analyze the student interactions through this system and construct models that explain the aspects of collaborative learning that are most effective for students from different backgrounds, interests, and other characteristics. Ultimately, she seeks to develop evidence-based pedagogical strategies for tailoring collaborative learning to student characteristics.
Dr. Shapiro’s work seeks to attract underrepresented youth to computer science through novel distributed computing curricula that include the design and implementation of compelling cyber-physical systems that communicate with one another. He plans to study how youth transition from these domain-specific environments that are designed for novices into more general languages, concepts, and techniques that are taught at the university level used in industry and open-source environments.
It’s exciting to see this investment in computer science education research. The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is working with members of the CS education community to develop a whitepaper that describes the major intellectual challenges and a vision for the future of this field. Stay tuned for more in the coming months! In the meantime, you can read more about Dr. Boyer’s and Dr. Shapiro’s research at Mark Guzdial’s Computing Education Blog.