Editors' Message

Welcome to the inaugural issue for EngageCSEdu as an ACM publication! We are excited to bring this long-anticipated effort to you. We have worked toward this result since January of 2019 when we were appointed co-Editors in Chief. Our first major hurdle was the transition of ownership from NCWIT to ACM. Then we had to work through the ACM publication processes being a "something else" - we weren't exactly a conference proceeding nor were we exactly like a journal. EngageCSEdu is an "other" - which meant defining new processes, new rules, and new processing scripts. But, three years and one pandemic later, here we are.

We are happy to bring four very strong Open Educational Resources (OERs) to you in this issue. The first OER, "Meme Magic: Project in Sprints" by John Hott, Daniel Graham, Derrick Stone, and Nada Basit (all from University of Virginia), describes an innovative classroom activity that uses examples from science fiction to help students understand the Computers are Social Actors (CASA) paradigm. is a multi-step project for a CS1 course that allows students to create an organizer for memes - as well as creating new memes using pictures and inserting captions. The final step of the project allows for a GUI interface - with most of the GUI code being provided, the students just have to supply the underlying classes and collections with the appropriate functionality.

The second OER, “Lottery and the Wealth Gap” by Stephanie Lin (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Kaitlyn Zeichick (Scripps College), and Colleen Lewis (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is another one for a CS1 course that introduces students to the idea that often state lottery games have an inordinate effect on those with less income - more poor people play the lottery than affluent people. This OER represents a nice example of how to embed societal issues into a programming class. Notice that it's not just about the programming assignment, it also involves background material and discussion surrounding the issue itself.

 “Decision Trees for Text Classification in CS2” by Kevin Lin (University of Washington) is the third OER in this issue and involves speech analysis and decision trees, an assignment appropriate for a data structures course. Drawing on a machine learning context, the assignment presents an application of binary trees toward text classification that demonstrates how the design of programming abstractions shapes social outcomes, but also allows students to begin to engage with ethical questions concerning the design and use of socio-technical text classification systems.

Our final OER, “Micro:Vote: An Introduction to Python using the BBC micro:bit” by Megan Venn-Wycherley (Newcastle University) and Christine Bennett (Benfield School) in this issue involves micro:bit and voting - demonstrating a physical computing combination that could be used with 11 to 13-year old students. It highlights the social impact of computing by scaffolding students to implement a physical voting system and then use it to gather responses from their fellow students on an issue that they value.

We hope you enjoy this inaugural issue and are able to use one or more of these OERs in the classroom. If not you, then recommend them to a friend who is teaching the appropriate classes. And remember that we are always looking for YOUR really good, engaging assignments.

To conclude, we would like to invite you to visit the EngageCSEdu Website, https://www.engage-csedu.org/ where you will find all the OERs of this and all future editions as well as several other OERs on computer science education. We hope you’ll enjoy reading the OERs and that they will inspire your teaching and pedagogy. 

We encourage all educators to consider submitting your instructional materials to share (https://www.engage-csedu.org/content/submit-your-materials). 


Michelle Craig and Briana B. Morrison

Co-Editors EngageCSEdu