Investigators: Mark Guzdial, Barbara Ericson
Computer science education is turning off more people to computing today, with all the power and media and usefulness of today's computers, than we did twenty years ago. To change this state, we need to consider the lessons of Margolis and Fischer's Unlocking the Clubhouse (MIT Press) and the AAUW report Tech-Savvy: Computing education must be relevant, creative, social, and results-oriented.
To meet this challenge, we are developing an "Introduction to Media Computation" course sequence. The introductory course in computing has a focus on learning to program to manipulate media. We reduce red eye, create ticker tape movies of CNN headlines, splice and reverse sounds, create synthesizers, implement chromakey and put ourselves on the moon. The second course is "Representing Structure and Behavior" where the driving question is "How did the Wildebeests charge over the ridge in The Lion King?"
Investigators: Briana Morrison, Christine Alvarado, Barbara Ericson, Mark Guzdial
We are creating a new distance-learning medium for computing education especially for in-service high school teachers based on ideas from instructional design and educational psychology. In-service high school teachers are particularly time-constrained (and thus need efficiency) and they are more metacognitively aware than other students (and thus able to better inform the project design). The new medium will combine multiple modalities, worked examples, and structure based on cognitive models of designers' knowledge. The research questions are that (1) the teachers will learn CS knowledge in the on-line setting, (2) the teachers will be more efficient at programming tasks, and (3) the teachers will find the materials useful and satisfying. Because of its focus on teachers, the project can potentially have broad impact, in particular on the strategies for training the 10,000 teachers envisioned in the CS 10K Project. The project will establish models and design guidelines that can be used for the creation of other learning materials, including materials for students in, for example, the proposed new CS Principles AP course.
Building Professional Identity as Computer Science Teachers
Investigators: Lijun Ni
Quality computing education requires quality computing teachers. Much recent literature on teacher education highlights the importance of identity in teacher development, which suggests that a strong sense of teacher identity is a major indicator or feature of committed quality teachers. However, for computer science (CS) education, the current system does not provide typical contexts for teachers to build a sense of professional identity as CS teachers. Teachers teaching CS courses do not necessarily identify themselves as CS teachers. This thesis work investigates the sense of identity high school CS teachers hold and explores ways of supporting their identity development through a professional development program (DCCE) with a major focus on community building and teacher reflection.
Investigators: Brian Dorn
Recent estimates for the number of end-user programmers indicate this population is over four times larger than the community of professional programmers. Web developers using active server pages, accountants using spreadsheets, and CAD designers using AutoCAD are just a few example domains where end-user programming has become commonplace. Recently, native scripting capabilities have become integrated with media manipulation tools like Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, and Blender. Such new support for end-user programming creates many opportunities for researchers. We are beginning a study to gain a deeper understanding of how and why media professionals, like graphic designers, learn to script. We are especially interested in what they know about Computer Science, how they learned it, and how we might support newcomers in learning Computer Science content informally.
Introductory Computer Science Understanding
Investigators: Allison Elliott Tew
Computer science has long debated what to teach in the introductory course of the discipline, and leaders in our field have argued that the introductory course approach is critical to student development. We are beginning an investigation of the impact of alternative approaches to introductory computing by considering the questions of what students bring to their second class in computing and how the outcomes differ depending on the students’ alternative first course. Our preliminary study showed significant differences in understanding of introductory concepts, such as iteration, conditionals, and arrays, at the beginning of the second course. However, by the end of the second course their understanding had converged.
Tools for Digital Storytelling
Investigators: Brian Landry
Consumer digital camera technology now enables people to capture personal moments with high quality with immediately reviewable results. In addition, digital camera storage media afford multiples takes and re-takes of particular moment without much space limitation. However, digital photopgraphy does require engaging with technology to transfer images from the camera and accessing them later for use. Many researchers are addressing the challenges of developing tools to support organization and access of captured media. Our work addresses the question of what support is needed when users are ready to use their digital images to create a presentation of their experiences via their digital media.
Personal Homepages in Academia
Investigators: Jeff Rick
This project seeks to understand the potential of one particular new medium, personal home pages, in context (academia). Personal home pages are outgrowing their playful beginnings to serve serious purposes. At the front of this emergence is academia, where they are becoming a meaningful way for researchers to engage each other. Yet, the medium is still in its infancy—the medium, its adopters, and their practices are unduly constrained by current technology. To understand the potential uses and meanings of personal home pages, these constraints needed to be loosened; therefore, the AniAniWeb system was designed to support the composition process and enable collaborative contributions.
This section is provided as a sampling of previous work done in the Collaborative Software Lab (the former name for CSL). If you're interested in a complete listing of older projects, see this page.
Audio Explorer, a tool to explore the physics of music.
Comanche, a high performance platform for prototyping collaborative web applications.
Cool Studio was a joint project with the College of Architecture exploring how CoWebs could be used to support a design studio.
2CoOL was a continuation of Cool Studio project with the College of Architecture exploring the use of CoWebs in large undergraduate classes and introductory design classes.
MuSwiki, a system similar to Swikis except that it uses Morphs instead of HTML. MuSwikis explore how dynamic computer media can be used in collaboration.
Swiki/CoWeb is a collaborative hypertext environment that works with the Comanche web server. Anybody can create and edit pages on a swiki web site. Swiki is open-source freeware implemented in Squeak.