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Dorn Receives Grant to Support Work on Computing Attitudes
Brian Dorn, assistant professor of computer science and multimedia web design & development, recently was awarded a $5,000 SIGCSE Special Projects Grant to support his work on understanding student attitudes about the field of computing. This joint project with Dr. Allison Elliott Tew of the University of Washington–Tacoma centers on the development and validation of a new survey which assesses student perceptions about computer science and can be used to measure their growth over time toward more expert-like attitudes.
To date, Dorn and Tew have used the new survey in introductory computing courses on a limited number of campuses with positive results. This early work has already resulted in two publications.
Their paper, "Toward a Validated Computing Attitudes Survey," recently was published in the Proceedings of the 8th International Computing Education Research Conference (ICER 2012) and was presented at the annual ICER conference in Auckland, New Zealand, in September.
Their second paper, "Becoming Experts: Measuring Attitude Development in Introductory Computer Science," has been accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the 44th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE 2013) and will be presented at the annual SIGCSE conference this spring in Denver.
As described on the SIGCSE website, Special Project Grants "help SIGCSE members investigate and introduce new ideas in the learning and teaching of computing. Projects must provide some clear benefit to the wider disciplinary community in the form of new knowledge, developing or sharing of a resource, or good practice in learning, teaching, or assessment." Grant funds will support Dorn and Tew in their efforts to collect data using the survey at a number of campuses nationwide in order to further establish the validity and reliability of the instrument.
SIGCSE, the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education, is an organization made up of computing professionals that seeks to provide a venue to "discuss issues related to the development, implementation, and/or evaluation of computing programs, curricula, and courses." Their mission also encompasses support for disciplinary-specific education research tied to computing. Dorn has been an active member of SIGCSE since 2003 and a member of ACM since 1999.