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Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, 2004 - Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo CS Girls Rock! Sandy Graham.

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Presentation on theme: "Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, 2004 - Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo CS Girls Rock! Sandy Graham."— Presentation transcript:

1 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo CS Girls Rock! Sandy Graham University of Waterloo

2 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo Attracting Female Students to CS Well documented problem pervasive in North America The highest percentage of female students studying CS occurred in the mid/late '80s averaged 30-35% enrollment currently % enrollment Two major problems lower numbers entering post-secondary program higher attrition rates "the incredible shrinking pipeline"

3 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo Why is diversity important? First, engineering is a very creative profession. That is not the way it is usually described, but down to my toes I believe that engineering is profoundly creative. Second, as in any creative profession, what comes out is a function of the life experience of the people who do it. Finally, sans diversity, we limit the set of life experiences that are applied, and as a result, we pay an opportunity cost – a cost in products not built, in designs not considered, in constraints not understood, in processes not invented. William A. Wulf, President of the National Academy of Engineers

4 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo Why are girls staying away? Multiple theories SIGCSE Bulletin inroads Special Issue - Women in Computing (June 2002) Unlocking the Clubhouse - Margolis & Fisher Two major factors stereotypical image of Computer Science and computer Scientists introduction of the personal computer percentages in Mauritius confidence level self-evaluations for introductory programming courses

5 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo Debunking the "geek" myth Image is everything When do girls turn off the computer? It's the lifestyle not just the hairstyle that's unappealing Role models The stepping stone philosophy Men can be role models too! You don't have to be superwoman

6 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo "I have confidence in me!" Who do you ask for help? Demystifying the machine Classroom atmosphere Critical mass issues Belief in innate ability Previous programming experience high school course experience more influential for female students

7 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo Girls and Boys are Different Tools vs. Toys Collaboration vs. Competition Balanced vs. Single-minded Computer Science is big enough for the both of them Don't try to turn the girls into boys Don't lie to them

8 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo A poor hypothesis … The introduction to OO- programming course culminates with a final project Traditionally the final project has been a game simulation According to research, female students do not like computer games as much as male students The project for Fall 2003 was a Landscape Design Planner We surveyed the students to see which project topic they preferred

9 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo Overall/Male/Female

10 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo CS vs. Non-CS

11 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo A new hypothesis … The image of computer science is incorrect both male and female students are misled First year university is too late Create a reputation in your courses Soft skills are important

12 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo CS Girls Rock! Imperial Oil Seminar in Computer Science for Young Women - CS Girls Rock! A week-long seminar designed to spark interest in CS over 800 applications each of the past two years other camps Goals Spark interest in Computer Science Show how CS can be applied to many different fields Present positive role models Debunk negative stereotypes Grade 9 and 10 girls prompted to apply by their math teachers Participants from across Canada No computer science background required

13 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo Core Curriculum - Programming Programming using Tcl/Tk scripting language Trivia program & drawing program variables selection repetition subprograms More than just GUIs

14 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo Core Curriculum - Digital Hardware Digital Hardware Computer engineering principles Binary number system and Boolean logic Basic circuits on breadboards Intro to gates Building basic circuits

15 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo The Program - Supplementary Curriculum Hands-on activities P.C. disassembly Algorithms Graphics Finite State Machines Lectures History Bioinformatics Artificial Intelligence User Interfaces Question Answering Computer Theory Dynamic speakers and interesting topics Grad student research panel

16 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo Computer Scientists are Fun Social activities Free stuff! conference like CD Free time house parents Banquet with family and faculty Friends for a lifetime

17 Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium - Norfolk, Virginia March 4, Sandy Graham, University of Waterloo Conclusions The trend must be reversed The image must be changed Embrace the diversity High school teachers are important role models and resources Like Computer Science itself, attracting more female students to the discipline is a tough but rewarding task Contact:


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