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

Three features distinguish EngageCSEdu: 1) A living collection of materials from the CS community: The collection was “seeded” by doing a nationwide search of US colleges and universities with openly available CS1/CS2 materials (e.g., assignments, projects, and labs). Over 10,000 courses were identified and from that list almost 1,500 unique course materials were evaluated and added to the collection. You’ll find materials from institutions similar to your own and from instructors facing some of the same challenges. Moving forward, faculty can directly contribute their course materials to be considered for the collection. Just set up an account, sign in, and go to “Add Materials.” Uploaded materials will be peer-reviewed by both computer science educators and by experts in pedagogy and student engagement. 2) Designed to engage a diverse population of students: An important goal of this project is to help grow a more diverse computing workforce by supporting the retention of women and other underrepresented groups in undergraduate computing education. Many things influence whether a student chooses to study computing but having a great experience in introductory courses is key. 3) Based on research for engaging and retaining students: The peer review process is informed by research on the impact of pedagogy and curriculum on student engagement. Also, each collection resource is tagged (and searchable) for the research-based “engagement practices" it employs. Instructors can learn more about each technique by going to the “Engagement Practices” page. There you will find definitions and examples for each Practice, and links to related NCWIT and other helpful resources.

What does EngageCSEdu contain?

The collection is a repository for CS1 and CS2 course materials, including assignments, tutorials, labs, assessments, lecture notes, exercises and projects. The specific “engagement practices” that each material uses are identified on its detail page. Users can learn more about each engagement practice, the research that supports it as a valid method of engaging students, and the related NCWIT resources right on the site.

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 experienced teachers looking for new ideas to new instructors needing some expert guidance.

Who is developing EngageCSEdu?

EngageCSEdu is a collaborative effort between the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), a leader in working to increase the representation and contributions of women in information technology, and Google, who works to make the world’s information universally accessible while focusing on the user. They are joined by an advisory group of expert computer science educators, social scientists, and learning scientists.

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.

What kinds of materials will I find on EngageCSEdu?

The collection is a repository for CS1 and CS2 course materials, including assignments, tutorials, labs, assessments, lecture notes, exercises and projects.

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 scientists have determined that the resource makes an especially creative or effective use of a particular Engagement Practice, or does a good job of integrating multiple practices.

Can I contribute my own course materials to EngageCSEdu?

Absolutely! The EngageCSEdu site provides an easy way for computing faculty to upload their materials for inclusion in the collection. Faculty members 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 licence for the material, writes a brief description, and specifies the basic metadata that will help colleagues easily find the material. Once a material is submitted, our Content Manager will send it out for peer review by both computer science educators and social 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. The collection is also peer-reviewed by both computer scientists and social scientists. As such, 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!“).

Who owns and manages EngageCSEdu?

NCWIT owns and manages the site. NCWIT is 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 our website:www.ncwit.org.

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 course materials! Note that all materials on the site should make use of at least one of the listed Engagement Practices. Second, you can rate and comment on your colleagues’ materials via the website. Third, you can volunteer to be a periodic reviewer. Fourth, you can volunteer to be both a reviewer and to sit on the Engagement Excellence Review Committee. Contact the EngageCSEdu Content Manager, Stephanie Weber to volunteer.