Mark Sherriff receives $104,173 from NSF

Collaborative Research:Transforming Computer Science Education Research Through Use of Appropriate Empirical Research

The significance and importance of this project resides in its focus on increasing the value and effectiveness of Computer Science Education (CSEd) by providing computer science educators with the tools and the mentoring necessary to properly evaluate novel teaching methods. As the demand for computer science graduates increases, educators must effectively educate students at scale, which requires innovation in teaching and learning techniques. This project will help move the CSEd community from reflective teaching to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning by increasing education research rigor and replication frequency. As a result, the computer science community will build theories and practices about how best to educate students to meet workforce needs for computer science talent. In the context of the NSF taxonomy of Education Research this project resides in the Foundational Research category, i.e., one that develops innovations in technology that will influence and inform research and development in different contexts.

The goal of this project is to transform empirical CSEd research by creating and supporting a community of CSEd researchers through: (1) creation and curation of laboratory packages to facilitate empirical CSEd research; (2) facilitation of cohorts of 10-12 educators who are mentored in developing and executing an empirical CSEd research study; and (3) development and presentation of tutorials on empirical research methods at computer science and, in particular, CSEd conferences. Laboratory packages are aids that provide researchers with a research question, a methodology for designing and executing a study, tools and resources to replicate the study, and results of previous related studies. The faculty cohorts using these laboratory packages will have a more-focused interaction during a summer session to develop their particular education research study with a follow-up workshop to report and discuss results. Finally, the tutorials and workshop results will allow for broader dissemination of the key concepts of empirical CSEd research to the larger computer science community.

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