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Lessons Learned from a PLTL-CS Program Christian Murphy, University of Pennsylvania Rita Powell, National Center for Women & IT Adam Cannon, Columbia University.

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Presentation on theme: "Lessons Learned from a PLTL-CS Program Christian Murphy, University of Pennsylvania Rita Powell, National Center for Women & IT Adam Cannon, Columbia University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lessons Learned from a PLTL-CS Program Christian Murphy, University of Pennsylvania Rita Powell, National Center for Women & IT Adam Cannon, Columbia University Kristen Parton, Columbia University March 10, 2011

2 Emerging Scholars Program (ESP) A Peer Led Team Learning Program (PLTL) ESP concept – Uri Treisman at UC Berkeley (Math Workshop) ESP/PLTL long applied in STEM disciplines 1 or 2 hour long weekly workshops adjunct to an academic course Workshops led by a undergraduate “peer leader” 6 to 15 student participants per workshop Students work together to solve problems without pressure of exams or grades Weekly meetings between peer leaders and program coordinators Coordinators evaluate program at end of semester to measure success, make adjustments

3 ESP-PLTL in Computer Science NSF funded eight-university study in 2004 Developed, implemented and evaluated an ESP-PLTL program in CS1 over three years Published detailed findings, results, course modules Horowitz ( Wisconsin-Madison) and Rodger (Duke ) SIGCSE paper in 2009 Found that active recruiting combined with ESP-PLTL is an effective approach to attracting and retaining under-represented students in an intro CS class ESP-PLTL increased grades, retention in CS1

4 Columbia Emerging Scholars Program

5 Background: CS1 at Columbia Large, lecture-style class of about students with no lab or recitation Required for many other Engineering majors Most students have not yet declared a major Students are admitted to a School and declare in their second year Approximately 40% female enrollment Compared to less than 10% in the major in 2007

6 Columbia Emerging Scholars Program Pilot program in Spring 2008 One section, six participants Adjunct to the CS 1 class Coordinated by 2 PhD students and CS1 instructor Seed grant from NCWIT in summer 2008 Has continued to grow Currently two sections, 8-10 participants each Over 80 students have completed the program

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8 Workshop Topics Focus on collaborative problem solving and algorithmic thinking No programming whatsoever No homework or preparation Topics from AI, graph theory, robotics, graphics, etc. Most material created from scratch Some material from pltlcs.org website

9 1. “Mä hach’a challwawa challwataxa.” 2. “Kimsa hach’a challwawa challwataxa.” 3. “Mä challwa mä hach’a challwampiwa challwataxa.” 4. “Mä hach’a challwa kimsa challwallampiwa challwataxa.” 5. “Paya challwallawa challwataxa.” 6. “Mä challwalla paya challwampiwa challwataxa.” 7. “Kimsa challwa paya challwallampiwa challwataxa.”

10 Coed vs. Women-Only Originally CESP was only for female students “How much do you like all-female workshops?” 46%: I prefer it that way 42%: it doesn't matter Fall '09 and Spring '10: one all-female section and one coed section Fully coed as of Fall 2010

11 Lessons Learned

12 Recruiting and Selection Possibly the most important ingredient to a successful program Know what you're looking for... and what you're willing to accept In-class announcements from an undergrad work better than unsolicited s Institutionalization would help

13 Setting Expectations Regardless of how you explain it, students may still not understand how a PLTL program works Have former participants describe their experiences “Open house workshop” for all applicants

14 Scheduling Friday afternoons tend to be the best One section in early afternoon, one a bit later Get a commitment from peer leaders Be aware of conflicts with CS1 activities, religious holidays, Grace Hopper Conf., etc.

15 Training Peer Leaders Choose peer leaders from past participants CESP uses a “workshop assistant” position to groom potential peer leaders Training should be ongoing, even if the peer leader is already familiar with the material Peer leaders should present material at staff meeting earlier in the week

16 Discussion vs. Problem Solving Students tend to prefer activities that have clear “right” answers Discussing the merits of different approaches/ algorithms not as appealing (but still important!) Open-ended discussions about ethical/legal issues in computing have been lowest-rated

17 Evaluating the Program Crucial to know the facts: How many students go on to CS2? How many major/minor in CS? Be nice to administration and make sure they know you'll want this data Stay in touch with past participants so they're not surprised when they hear from you

18 Initial Results

19 Women’s Representation in the Computer Science Major at Columbia Start of CESP

20 Other Results 45% of CESP participants who have declared a major have chosen Computer Science Peer leaders are the ones who benefit the most Two have participated in CRA-W Distributed Research Experience for Undergraduates One CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Research honorable mention One currently working at Microsoft

21 Ongoing Evaluation What is the quantitative impact of CESP on recruiting and retention? Number of students majoring in CS Number of students who take CS2 What is the qualitative impact of CESP? Attitudes toward CS Effect of coed vs. all-female workshops

22 Links National Center for Women & IT Columbia Emerging Scholars Program Peer-led Team Learning in CS

23 Revolutionizing the face of technology

24 To Join the K-12 Alliance, The NCWIT Alliances


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