Mark Guzdial College of Computing/GVU Georgia Institute of Technology

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Constructing Media as a Context for Teaching Computing and Motivating Women and Non-Majors : Inventing a new approach to computing education at Georgia Tech. Mark Guzdial College of Computing/GVU Georgia Institute of Technology. Story. Creating ubiquitous computing education - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Mark Guzdial College of Computing/GVU Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Constructing Media as a Context for Teaching Computing andMotivating Women and Non-Majors: Inventing a new approach to computing education at Georgia TechMark GuzdialCollege of Computing/GVUGeorgia Institute of Technology

  • StoryCreating ubiquitous computing educationFirst course: Introduction to Media ComputationIts about contextWhat students do in itThe role of collaborationSecond course: Representing Structure and BehaviorNext stepsBeyond the course: A path into CSBeyond Georgia Tech and undergrads

  • The Computer Science Undergraduate Degree is in Deep Trouble Were losing students, at an increasing rate.Women and minority percentage of enrollment droppingHigh failure rates in CS1 (35-50% or more)Fewer applications into CS: All programming jobs going overseasResearch results: Tedious, boring, lacking creativity, asocialAll of this at a time when we recognize the critical role of IT in our economy, in all jobs

  • Strategy: Make CS education ubiquitousMotivate non-CS students to care about computing.Create non-traditional courses, minors, and non-traditional paths into CSReach out beyond Georgia Tech Make it relevant, social, and creative.

  • Our Three Introductory Courses (CS1s)CS1321 Introduction to Computing Traditional CS1 for our CS majors, Science majors (math, physics, psychology, etc.). Was in Scheme, now in Python.CS1371 Computing for Engineers CS1 for Engineers. Same topics as CS1321, but using MATLAB with Engineering problems in homework and examples.CS1315 Introduction to Media Computation

  • CS1315 Introduction to Media ComputationStarted with 121 students in Spring 2003, and averaging 300/term since then2/3 female in Spring 2003 MediaCompOverall, CS1315 has been 51% femaleRequired in Architecture, Management, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, and Biology Focus: Learning programming and CS concepts within the context of media manipulation and creationConverting images to grayscale and negatives, splicing and reversing sounds, writing programs to generate HTML, creating movies out of Web-accessed content.Computing for communications, not calculation

  • def negative(picture): for px in getPixels(picture): red=getRed(px) green=getGreen(px) blue=getBlue(px) negColor=makeColor(255-red,255-green,255-blue) setColor(px,negColor)def clearRed(picture): for pixel in getPixels(picture): setRed(pixel,0)def greyscale(picture): for p in getPixels(picture): redness=getRed(p) greenness=getGreen(p) blueness=getBlue(p) luminance=(redness+blueness+greenness)/3 setColor(p, makeColor(luminance,luminance,luminance))

  • Relevance through Data-first ComputingReal users come to a user with data that they care about, then they (unwillingly) learn the computer to manipulate their data as they need.Media Computation works like that.Students do use their own pictures as starting points for manipulations.Starting in the second week of the course!Some students reversed sounds looking for hidden messages.

  • Impact on Student RetentionSince Spring 2004, the developers arent the teachers.We are getting transfers into the CS major.For traditional CS1, Sp2005 had 95 students, 70.0% success rate.Engineering CS1 Spring 2005: 833 students, 76% success rate.

    EnrollmentSuccess RateGeorgia Techs CS 12000 - 2002 (average)93071.2%Media ComputationSpring 200312090.0%Fall 200330386.5%Spring 200439586.9%Summer 200412073.3%Fall 200436680.3%Spring 200531784.5%

  • Were Students Motivated and Engaged?Homework assignments suggest they were.Shared on-line in collaborative web space (CoWeb)

    Some students reported writing programs outside of class for fun.

  • Example Student Work-Shared on the CoWeb Gallery

  • Example Student Work-Shared on the CoWeb GalleryThe author of this collage via IM as soon as she was done: Well, I looked at last years collages, and I certainly cant be beat.

  • Example student work- Movies and audio homeworkSoupStephen Hawking

  • Study-Abroad CS

  • Role of the Homework GalleriesQ: What do you think about the homework galleries on theCoWeb?Student 4: It's nice to see other people, like what they did with it And there is no better feeling than getting something done and knowing that you've done it right. Student 3: I don't ever look at it [the homework gallery] until after I'm done. I have a thing about not wanting to copy someone else's ideas. I just wish I had more time to play around with that and make neat effects. But JES [Jython Environment for Students---the programming environment created for this class] will be on my computer forever, sothe nice thing about this class is that you could go as deep into the homework as you wanted. So, I'd turn it [the homework assignment] in, and then me and my roommate would do more after to see what we could do with it.

  • Follow-up Survey:Did it have a lasting impact?In Spring 2004, conducted an email survey with students from Spring 2003 (n=120) and Fall 2003 (n=303) students.59 responses11 (19%) had written a Python program on their own since the class had ended.27% had edited media that they hadnt previously.

  • Did the class change how you interact with computers?20% said no.80% said yes, but it was also more about changing how they thought about computers.Definitely makes me think of what is going on behind the scenes of such programs like Photoshop and Illustrator.

    Other than making me a little more aware about what I can make the computer do, it hasn't changed the way I particular interact with technology. Yet I am uninterested in this field. However, I now have a MUCH better understanding of the people who are interested in this field, how they view things, and how to interact with them more easily. For this, I appreciate the CS class greatly.

  • Second course: CS1316 Representing structure and behaviorDriving question: How did the wildebeests stampede in The Lion King?31 students, 75% female, 91% success rate.

  • Similar Assignments,but with Objects*

  • Sounds/Music in Trees and ListsAssignment: Create music by repeating and weaving nodes.CanonSwanBells

  • Beyond the courses:An alternative path and a CS minorThe two courses (Introduction to Media Computation and Representing Structure and Behavior) are now accepted as pre-req to our traditional second course.Margolis and Fishers alternative pathWe have now defined a CS minorCreated new BS in Computational MediaJoint with School of Literature, Communications, and Culture58 majors in first year, 24% female

  • Beyond GTVersions of Media Computation appearing at other institutionsGainesville College (2 year in Ga.) has been offering the course for over a year.Just moved their majors CS1 to Media ComputationDenison University is first trial of our Java version.University of Illinois at Chicago, Australian National U., U. California Santa Cruz, DePauw, Brandeis (in Scheme), Georgia Perimeter College and University of Maryland at College Park (in Java) (using some of our materials).

  • Gainesville College ResultsSuccess rates at Gainesville College before and with Media Computation class.

    ENROLLMENTSUCCESS RATEGainesvilles CSCI 1100 Average 2000 20032870.2%Media ComputationSummer 2003977.8%Fall 20033984.6%Spring 20042277.3%Summer 20041190.9%

  • Would you like to take more courses in CS or Media Computation?

    Georgia Tech



    Media Comp


    Media Comp

    Strongly Agree




















    Strongly Disagree





  • SummaryCS Education is in a sorry state, and fixing it is important to us and othersMedia Computation seems to be a useful context to motivate student retention and learning.Just started on evaluation: learning assessment, impact of collaborative policies on student motivation, impact on long term choices about CS learningBottom line: Context is a win.Broad implications for computing as part of a general, liberal education.

  • AcknowledgementsFaculty Collaborators: Barbara Ericson, Charles Fowler (Gainesville)Course Materials Development: Adam Wilson, Jason Ergle, Claire Bailey, David Raines, Joshua Sklare, Mark Richman, Matt Wallace, Alisa Bandlow, Ellie Harmon, Yu Cheung Ho, Keith McDermott, Eric Mickley, Larry Olson, Lauren BiddleAssessment: Andrea Forte, Allison Tew, Rachel Fithian, Lauren Rich, Heather Perry, Ellie Harmon, Bob Amar, Rachel Knickmeyer, Allison TewThanks to Bob McMath and the Al West Fund, to GVU and CoC, to the students who participated in our evaluation, and to the National Science Foundation

  • Thank you!Mark Guzdial

    To get the CoWeb/Swiki software: more on MediaComp approach (including software and slides):

    But could be taught for CSSuccess defined as A, B, or C.HOMEWORK: Many students turned in more complex code than was required, some over 100 lines in length! Remember this collage!OUTSIDE PROGRAMMING: to reverse popular songs and find out if there are hidden messagesto create an online scrapbookThe image on the left is one of the collages, and the one on the right is an example from the first homework, where students implement some image manipulation (that we specify). If they find a picture that they think looks really good with that effect, we encourage them to share it on the CoWeb. It encourages the students to sta

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