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.

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Regional Celebrations-in-a-Box contains resources for organizing small conferences designed to increase the participation, retention, and advancement of technical women. This program-in-a-box is a compilation of materials and practices from Regional Celebrations around the country that bring women together in supportive communities for professional growth. The box includes advice about planning and materials for program elements such as intentional role modeling, group and individual mentoring, networking, and ways to share accurate career information.

How Do You Introduce Computing in an Engaging Way? Teaching Programming and Language Concepts Using LEGOs® (Case Study 4)

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. In this easy-to-implement classroom activity, individual LEGOS® bricks are used to express a special-purpose programming language, allowing students to kinetically approach concepts and skills in computing in a non-intimidating fashion.

This paper presents a systemic change model of undergraduate computing for accomplishing gender parity. Rather than view women as needing to be modified or repaired to fit the system, this model advocates changing the system to fit the needs of a wider range of students. Changing the system is a more sustainable approach to creating gender parity than providing extra support to students with less experience or background or students who are less likely to feel that people like themselves belong in computing.

Roadshow-in-a-Box: Capitalizing on Models for Outreach

Roadshow-in-a-Box is a complete set of resources developed for colleges and universities wanting to establish or enhance their roadshow outreach programs. It draws on the wisdom and practices of a variety of successful roadshow programs that focus on recruiting for diversity and put trained student presenters in a leading role. The Box includes program advice, templates, and sample materials to aid your efforts in every aspect of a sustainable roadshow program. Components include: Controlled Message, Support, Ongoing School Partnerships, Trained Student Presenters, Program Activities, and Evaluation and Tracking.

Encouragement Practice - Case Study 3

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. The case study written by Gloria Townsend describes the impact she and her colleagues have had by making encouraging comments to women in their courses.

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.

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This Talking Point Card explains stereotype threat and how it is triggered, shares examples of effects from stereotype threat, and suggests ways to create a stereotype threat-free environment for attracting able and diverse students to computing.

How Do You Retain Women through Collaborative Learning? Peer-Led Team Learning (Case Study 2)

Collaborative learning can improve retention rates, critical thinking, appreciation of diversity, and development of social and professional skills. When implementing collaborative learning, match students roughly according to experience levels and make sure to give students opportunities to work together for both graded and un-graded assignments. Peer-led team learning in computer science allows students to work together with a classmate or more advanced peer directing group exercises and discussion. Courses that have utilized PLTL boast lower course drop rates and higher grades.

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.

More than 40 years of data on authors of ACM conference papers describe women’s contribution to this important aspect of computing professional life. The data show that women’s authorship increased substantially over time, and that relative to their representation in the likely pool of ACM conference paper authors, women Ph.D.s were especially productive. Initial tests indicate that the increase in women’s share of papers was due in large part to the increase in number of women in the community of potential authors.

The February 2011 National Girls Collaborative Project Webinar, NCWIT Resources: Inspiring Girls to Pursue Careers in Information Technology, is archived at the NGCP website. This webcast highlights free materials and information for attracting more girls and underrepresented groups to computing and information technology and shares how formal and informal educators are using these resources to strengthen programming for girls. An archive of the webinar and the final powerpoint slides are available for viewing: