Higher Education

How Do You Introduce Computing in an Engaging Way? Storytelling (Case Study 1)

How Do You Introduce Computing in an Engaging Way? Storytelling (Case Study 1)

Engage students not already drawn to computing by creating academic and social environments where these students feel like they belong. Students respond positively to solving real-life problems that draw on their existing knowledge and interests and that involve collaboration in hands-on projects. By focusing on problem-solving skills, the computer programming environment “Learning to Program with Alice” takes a new approach that helps students see programming as a series of causal relationships.

How Do You Introduce Computing in an Engaging Way? Snap, Create, and Share with Scratch (Case Study 5)

How Do You Introduce Computing in an Engaging Way? Snap, Create, and Share with Scratch (Case Study 5)

Engage students not already drawn to computing by creating academic and social environments where these students feel like they belong. Students respond positively to solving real-life problems that draw on their existing knowledge and interests and that involve collaboration in hands-on projects. Scratch is a free “media rich programming environment” in which novice programmers can quickly express their creativity while learning computational thinking.

How Do Stereotype Threats Affect Retention? Better Approaches to Well-Intentioned, but Harmful Messages (Case Study 1)

How Do Stereotype Threats Affect Retention? Better Approaches to Well-Intentioned, but Harmful Messages (Case Study 1)

Stereotype threat harms both performance and motivation by reducing our feelings of competence, belonging, and trust in our colleagues. However, careful thought, education, and regular assessment of diversity practices can help minimize incidents of stereotype threat. Examples show how instructors and advisors can minimize stereotype threat by creating an accepting environment where students feel at ease and are recognized for their achievements. In addition, student test scores improve and gender gaps are eliminated when students are taught that intelligence increases through effort.

How Do Admissions Criteria Affect Women's Representation in Graduate Computing? Attempts to Equalize a Subjective Process (Case Study 1)

How Do Admissions Criteria Affect Women's Representation in Graduate Computing? Attempts to Equalize a Subjective Process (Case Study 1)

When admission committee members minimize the biasing effects of stereotypes and consider applicants’ membership in an under-represented group as a positive characteristic, they promote diversity. By looking carefully at women and considering their life experiences, University of California, San Diego and University of California, Berkeley admit more women students than their peer institutions.

How Can You Re-Engineer Your Undergraduate Program to Increase Women's Representation in Computing? Small Steps Toward Systemic Change (Case Study 1)

How Can You Re-Engineer Your Undergraduate Program to Increase Women's Representation in Computing? Small Steps Toward Systemic Change (Case Study 1)

The socio-educational system a student experiences shapes participation in the major. Altering one element of that system is often not enough to create enduring change. When faculty members are ready to implement organizational innovation, success is more likely if they receive support from institutional leaders, have access to adequate resources, and are able to participate in decision-making about the change.

How Can REUs Help Retain Female Undergraduates? Affinity Research Groups (Case Study 2)

How Can REUs Help Retain Female Undergraduates? Affinity Research Groups (Case Study 2)

Undergraduates with positive research experiences feel more confident and motivated to enter graduate programs. To facilitate successful REUs, supportive faculty advisors or graduate mentors should clearly communicate goals to students and allow them to spend a large amount of time on research, increasing independence as the project progresses. The Affinity Research Group model (ARG) integrates student participation in research teams and a structured cooperative learning environment.

How Can REUs Help Retain Female Undergraduates? Faculty Perspectives (Case Study 1)

How Can REUs Help Retain Female Undergraduates? Faculty Perspectives (Case Study 1)

Undergraduates with positive research experiences feel more confident and motivated to enter graduate programs. To facilitate successful REUs, supportive faculty advisors or graduate mentors should clearly communicate goals to students and allow them to spend a large amount of time on research, increasing independence as the project progresses. Professors Scott McCrickard of Virginia Tech University and Margaret Burnett of Oregon State University treat their undergraduate researchers as members of their respective research teams.

How Can Reducing Unconscious Bias Increase Women's Success in IT? Avoiding Unintended Bias in Letters of Recommendation (Case Study 1)

How Can Reducing Unconscious Bias Increase Women's Success in IT? Avoiding Unintended Bias in Letters of Recommendation (Case Study 1)

Research shows that even individuals committed to equality harbor unconscious biases that impact everyday decisions and interactions. In the IT workplace, unconscious gender bias can mislead employers, both male and female, to make inaccurate judgments in hiring, performance reviews, and promotion. This case study highlights findings on the differences between letters of recommendation for women and men and gives practical ways to reduce bias when writing letters of recommendation.

Pair Programming-in-a-Box: The Power of Collaborative Learning

Pair Programming-in-a-Box: The Power of Collaborative Learning

Pair programming is a collaborative learning method in which students program in pairs instead of individually. This approach significantly improves college students' programming competency and increases the likelihood that both male and female students become and remain computer science majors. During pair programming, students work in tandem at one computer while completing regular programming assignments. The "driver" controls the mouse and keyboard while the "navigator" makes suggestions, points out errors, and asks questions.

Why Should Young People Consider Careers in Information Technology?

Created for school counselors by Counselors for Computing (C4C), a project of the NCWIT K-12 Alliance made possible by the Merck Company Foundation, this card gives adults talking points and additional resources for a conversation with their students, children, and/or other young people. The main message is that IT offers meaningful work, security and high salaries with a bachelor’s degree, and flexibility and variety. Information is provided to address these specific questions: What should you tell a young person about a career in IT?

What are the Important Components of Targeted Recruiting? Change the Gender Composition of High School Computing Courses (Case Study 2)

What Are the Important Components of Targeted Recruiting? Change the Gender Composition of High School Computing Courses (Case Study 2)

Targeted recruiting means planning strategically: set quantifiable goals; identify large, capable audiences; personalize the content of your message; deliver that message in media that are relevant to your audience; and pay attention to people who influence your audience’s decision-making. High school computer science teachers who actively recruit girls and minority students report more students overall and more female students in their courses.

How Does the Physical Environment Affect Women's Entry and Persistence in Computing? Design Physical Space that Has Broad Appeal (Case Study 1)

How Does the Physical Environment Affect Women's Entry and Persistence in Computing? Design Physical Space that Has Broad Appeal (Case Study 1)

The décor of physical spaces conveys messages about the kinds of people who belong there and the kinds of activities that should be done there. Understanding this influence allows us to actively craft an environment that makes a broad range of people feel welcome in computing. 

How Do You Recruit or Retain Women Through Inclusive Pedagogy? Equal Access: Inclusive Strategies for Teaching Students with Disabilities (Case Study 3)

How Do You Recruit or Retain Women Through Inclusive Pedagogy? Equal Access: Inclusive Strategies for Teaching Students with Disabilities (Case Study 3)

Women and minority students are not in computing courses under the same conditions as their white male classmates. Instructional practices offer opportunities to level the playing field and improve the retention of underrepresented students. More students with learning and physical disabilities are in the educational pipeline than ever before. Being aware of the issues, tools, and services for students with disabilities makes it easier for them to learn and for you to teach them.

How Can Encouragement Increase Persistence in Computing? Encouragement Works in Academic Settings (Case Study 1)

How Can Encouragement Increase Persistence in Computing? Encouragement Works in Academic Settings (Case Study 1)

Encouragement increases self-efficacy, which is the belief in one’s ability to successfully perform a task. Because we are more likely to engage in tasks that we believe we can perform successfully, encouragement may be especially useful for attracting women to male-stereotyped fields such as computing. Simple though encouragement is, fewer than half of the faculty members in the average computer science department in the United States say they do it.

¿Por qué las jóvenes deberían considerar una carrera en tecnología de la información?

Spanish version of Why Should Young Women Consider a Career in Information Technology? This card gives adults talking points and additional resources for a conversation with their daughters and/or other young people. The main message is that IT offers meaningful work, security and high salaries with a bachelor’s degree, and flexibility and variety. Information is provided to address these specific questions: What should you tell a young woman about a career in IT? How can a young woman prepare now for a career in IT?

Key Practices for Retaining Undergraduates in Computing

Key Practices for Retaining Undergraduates in Computing

Based in research on women’s participation in computing, this document outlines a model of the system of undergraduate experiences that affect retention in undergraduate programs. To create and sustain excellence through diversity, effective practices must be mainstreamed into the experiences of all students, not just those of women or minorities.

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