Previous EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Award Winners

The NCWIT EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Awards, funded by Google, recognize faculty who are making a difference in their introductory computer science classrooms through excellent and engaging curriculum, contributing the best of the best to the EngageCSEdu collection. For more information about EngageCSEdu, please visit

2016 EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Awardees

Elizabeth Boese, Lecturer, Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado Boulder, Using Programming to Analyze Real Human DNA Files

Using diet and DNA sequencing information, this assignment has students explore computing concepts (such as Python dictionaries) in a captivating way. This highly creative project helps students make interdisciplinary connections and see the meaningful contributions that computing makes to real-world problems. The project employs other effective pedagogical techniques, such as pair programming, and engages students at multiple skill levels through interesting extra credit opportunities. All of these practices can help encourage all students, especially women, to persist in computing.

Mark LeBlanc, Professor of Computer Science, Department of Math and Computer Science, Wheaton College, Set of Assignments Applying Computational Analyses to Poetry

In these assignments, students artfully “bend” poetry using programming and algorithmic thinking. By making interdisciplinary connections, this highly creative set of assignments helps students see the relevance of computing to their lives. These practices have been shown to be effective in encouraging all students, especially women, to persist in computing. In addition, the assignments have well-defined learning goals, scaffold students’ problem-solving by breaking down larger tasks into subtasks, and offer flexibility for a variety of instructors and students.

2015 EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Awardees

Christine Alvarado (UC San Diego); Geoff Kuenning, Ran Libeskind-Hadas, and Zachary Dodds (Harvey Mudd College)

The award recognizes the multiple contributions this collaborative team has made to the EngageCSEdu collection. Professors Alvarado, Kuenning, Libeskind-Hadas, and Dodds’s assignments are consistently creative and do a great job of providing meaningful and relevant content to students. The assignment "Alien Robots" stood out as particularly creative and providing extensive student choice. Other noteworthy assignments include "Mastermind!" and "Sounds Good!"

Sarah Diesburg and Ben Schafer (University of Northern Iowa)

Professors Diesburg and Shafer are recognized for their collection of labs that are designed to create an engaging classroom experience for all students and experience levels. The labs "Analyze Customer Data" and "Set and Dictionaries to Analyze Movies" are particularly engaging in their use of informal, conversational-style language and by providing relevant content and connections for students. These techniques help engage all students and promotes deeper thinking about the tasks at hand.

Bill Punch and Richard Enbody (Michigan State University)

Professors Punch and Enbody are recognized for their extensive collection of projects that are designed to create interdisciplinary connections between computer science and various technical disciplines. This collection of materials does a great job of employing many different engagement practices, such as incorporating student choice and providing meaningful and relevant content.  Two projects –– both teaching about attributes –– are particularly noteworthy. The first, Breast Cancer Classifier, makes clear interdisciplinary connections to biology and medicine, and provides student with relevant and meaningful content. The second, Income Classifier, provides students with worked examples with subgoals, and makes interesting interdisciplinary connections to economics and sociology.