15-889 Introduction to Computer Science Education (Fall 2009)

General Course Description: This course is for graduate students who would like to gain an understanding of both the current research issues in computer science education as well as an introduction to teaching methodologies, curriculum design, and assessment. The course will be a balance between reading education research in the field of computer science and also looking at practitioner based literature aimed at improving teaching. Throughout the semester students will be asked to look at both general or introductory level educational materials, as well as materials that relate to their specific field within CS for a more advanced level course.

Day/Time: This course meets on Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:30pm to 2:50pm

Location: GHC 4101

Instructor: Leigh Ann Sudol

Course Syllabus:

This course is a 6 credit mini that will run for the first half of the semester.



Week 1: (8/24-26)

Basic teaching methodologies, introduction to curriculum design

Week 2: (8/31-9/2)

Instructional Tools

Visualizations and their role in instruction, simulation environments

Week 3: (9/7-9/9)


Week 4: (9/14-9/16)

Engagement, Motivation and Interest

Week 5: (9/21-9/23)

Domain Specific Readings

Week 6: (9/28-9/30)

Curriculum Design Revisited

Week 7: (10/5 – 10/7)

On-line course components and integration

Week 8: (10/12)

Project Presentations

Assignment Expectations:

More detail here coming.

Students will be expected to read papers for each class and participate in discussion both in class and on-line. In addition students will prepare a 15 minute “teach me something” presentation, design an assessment for the course of their choosing, and write a unit of study for a class including a brief research design that assesses the effectiveness of the unit on student outcomes.

Partial Course Bibliography

Doing What Works Clearinghouse, How to organize your teaching - Essential Concepts This practice guide from the Institute for Education Sciences lays out a foundation for research based instructional practice.

Knowing what Students Know This book published by the National Academies Press (with exerpts available online) is an excellent resource for anyone interested in assessment

First Year Programming: Let all the flowers bloom This paper written by Lister and Leaney is an excellent introduction to Bloom's Taxonomy from the perspective of a computer science educator. While many of the propositions in the paper are a great start for discussion, its value is in the detailed description of the intervention.

Not Seeing the Forest for the trees: Novice Programmers and the SOLO taxonomy This paper presents an interesting study on assessment and evaluation in a CS domain.

Interest, Learning and the Psychological Processes that Mediate their Relationship This paper by Ainley, Hidi and Berndorff lays out a foundation for how interest and motivation affect student learning

The Four-phase Model of Interest Development" This Hidi and Renninger paper lays out a model of interest development that can be useful to CS educators as they design interventions to increase enrollment.

Note: This is a limited subset of the readings from the course (which may involve only pieces of the above listed texts). If you are not a CMU student and would like to participate in the online portion of the course with a full reading list and discussions, please email Leigh Ann and she will add you to the course google group.