How is EngageCSEdu different from other online repositories for computer science education?

EngageCSEdu is a living collection of peer-reviewed course materials from the CS community. It contains author-submitted materials and those that were “seeded”* via a nationwide search of US colleges and universities with openly available CS1/CS2 materials. All materials that are accepted into the collection make use of at least on "Engagement Practice:" evidence-based practices for engaging all students, including women and underrepresented minorities in computing. Many things influence whether a student chooses to study computing but having a great experience in introductory courses is key. Learn more about the Engagement Practices on the “Engagement Practices” pages. There you will find definitions and examples for each Practice, and links to related NCWIT and other helpful resources.

*Over 10,000 courses were identified and from that list almost 1,500 unique course materials were evaluated and added to the collection.

What does EngageCSEdu contain?

The collection is a repository of materials for introductory computer science courses (CS0, CS1 and CS2), including high school materials that align to CSTA's 3A and 3B standards. We accept course materials such as assignments, tutorials, labs, assessments, lecture notes, exercises and projects. We also encourage authors to include a course syllabus and schedule of topics to help others understand their course's sequencing. When an author has multiple materials from a course accepted into the collection, their course syllabus may be included in the collection a separate item.

Who should use EngageCSEdu?

The collection will be useful to anyone who is teaching, or planning to teach, an introductory computer science course, from tenured professors to teaching assistants, from R1 university professors to high school teachers, from experienced teachers looking for new ideas to new instructors needing some expert guidance.

Who owns and manages EngageCSEdu?

EngageCSEdu is a project of the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), a non-profit community of more than 500 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women's participation in technology and computing. To learn more, visit: www.ncwit.org. The development of EngageCSEdu has been funded by Google, who is working to make the world’s information universally accessible while focusing on the user.

What is the primary goal of EngageCSEdu?

Our primary goal is to support the retention of women and other underrepresented groups in undergraduate computer science majors. Ultimately, we want to help grow a more diverse computing workforce. Many things influence whether a student chooses to continue to study computer science. A key factor is being exposed to engaging curriculum that is both relevant and meaningful to a student’s life. And the first year courses are some of the most important since they establish a student’s attitudes toward the field and influence whether they will choose CS as a major. This is especially true for women.

Do I have to pay for access to EngageCSEdu?

No, access to EngageCSEdu is not restricted, and all content on the site is under open license.

What does the label “Engagement Excellence” mean?

Some of the resources are designated with the “Engagement Excellence” banner. This means that a committee of computer scientists and social/learning scientists have determined that the material makes an especially creative or effective use of a particular Engagement Practice, or does a good job of integrating multiple practices. About 10% of the collection is so designated.

Can I contribute my own course materials to EngageCSEdu?

Absolutely! The EngageCSEdu site provides an easy way for instructors to submit their materials for consideration. The process works very similarly to submitting an article to a peer-reviewed journal or conference.

Users who are logged in can click “Add Resources” on the landing page to begin the upload process. During this process, the author specifies the Creative Commons license for the material, writes a brief description, and specifies the basic metadata that will help colleagues easily find the material. Once submitted, a Content Manager will do a pre-review edit and may ask for some changes before sending it out for peer review by both computer science educators and social/learning scientists. These reviewers may also recommend that the material be considered for inclusion in the “Engagement Excellence” collection.

Which of my materials for teaching introductory CS concepts are appropriate for the EngageCSEdu collection?

The goal of this collection is to compile introductory CS course materials that research suggests are likely to engage a diverse student body. Consider the following questions in deciding what to contribute:

  • Does the material place the CS concepts in a context that a wide-range of students would find meaningful and relevant to their lives? For example, the material connects the CS concept to the ‘real world’ or makes interesting connections to other fields or disciplines that students find interesting.
  • Does the material help students learn the targeted computer science concepts as well or better than other materials you have seen? What are your best assignments or lectures, the ones that always seem to work?
  • Is the material creative or innovative in the way it approaches teaching the targeted CS concepts compared to other materials you have seen? Do you have a new take on something? An unusual example or novel teaching approach?
  • And it almost goes without saying. . .but we’ll say it anyway: Is the material free of stereotypes (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, class)? By this, we mean that is it free of "fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people" (Cardwell, 1996). Is the material free from references or language that would likely evoke “stereotype threat” for some students? Stereotype threat can occur when an individual’s membership in a group that is stereo-typically seen as comparatively deficient in a particular setting is evoked or highlighted, leading to a self-fulfilling prophesy of decreased performance. Even well-intentioned references can trigger stereotype threat (e.g., "All of the women in the class did really well on the project!“).

Also consider using EngageCSEdu as a dissemination mechanism for your grant-supported curriculum projects. Select an exemplar to submit. If it's accepted to the collection, we can link out to your project website. EngageCSEdu can help instructors find your materials.

Who owns the course material contributed to EngageCSEdu?

When a faculty member contributes material to the collection, they are asked to specify a Creative Commons license. Ownership and copyright always remain with the author.

How can I get involved?

There are several ways you can get involved. First, contribute your best introductory course materials that make use of at least one of the listed Engagement Practices. Second, join the reviewer pool. Third, tell others about the project! Contact the EngageCSEdu Content Manager, Stephanie Weber to volunteer.