When and Where:
Undergraduate Course 15-296
Monday, Wednesday, 9.00 - 10:20am
Room: GHC 4102
Instructor: Dr. Carol Frieze
Units: 5 (mini)
“Image is important. As long as teenagers believe that computer science is boring, difﬁcult, antisocial, or doesn’t have much impact on solving the world’s problems, they’re unlikely to choose it for their future.”
[WGBH Market Research Report, http://www.acm.org/membership/NIC.pdf]
"(T)here is a pressing need to broaden participation in the study of computer science and attract the full range of talent to the field, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or economic status. Institutions should make efforts to bring a wide range of students into the computer science pipeline and provide support structures to help all students successfully complete their programs."
[Computer Science Curricula 2013, p.47]
In this research and project based course we will explore computing
from a cultural perspective and look in particular at the images of computing. We will examine how the field is represented in the popular culture of the USA and how such representations might affect public attitudes, access to resources, understanding of computer science, and participation in the field -- especially how this all relates to race and gender. We will pay particular attention to how bias impacts participation in computing, and address our own biases, especially unconscious biases. We will reflect on some issues often taken
for granted e.g. are our attitudes to computing culturally
specific or universal? Should people in the field have some responsibility for how computer science is represented?
This course is aimed primarily at students who are interested in exploring
some of the broad issues of computer science and who would like to direct
their interests towards creative activities for broadening participation. Students will gain
experience in teamwork, teaching and presenting. We will use academic papers, web sites, group discussion/debate and popular media.
Students will be graded on the quality of their performance
in 3 short reflection and research papers (45% of final grade), and a final quiz (30% of final grade).
Class attendance, presentations and participation are critical to doing well in this course and will count for 25%
of the final grade.
Part One: Culture, Images, and Computing
- Introduction and Overview
- What are the issues?
- Participation in Computer Science: Data from the USA
- What do we mean by Culture?
- Why are Images important?
- What do we mean by Computing and/or Computer Science?
Guidelines for Discussion
- The Data: Selections relating to undergraduate participation: CRA 2018 Taulbee Report
- Esther Shein. "Should Everybody Learn to Code?", Communications of the ACM, 2014. ACM
- Horizon Media Study Reveals Americans Prioritize STEM Subjects over the Arts; Science is "Cool," Coding is the new Literacy" 2015, Horizon Media, Inc
- Akshay Balakrishnan. "Fascinating Debates: Should everyone learn to code?", Medium, retrieved Feb. 2018
- Matthew Lynch. "Why Learning to Code is so Important for Children", The Tech Advocate, Feb. 2017 (link to TechAdvocate)
- Basel Farag. "Please don't learn to code", Techcrunch, retrieved Feb. 2018
- Robert Smith. "Programming is not for Everybody", Blog, 2013
- Kevin Carey. "Decoding the Value of Computer Science", The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2010
- Raymond Williams, “Culture is Ordinary”, originally
published in N. McKenzie (ed.), Convictions, 1958 Culture Definitions
- Alina Simone, "The 'How Are You?' Culture Clash", The New York Times, Jan. 19, 2014
- What is Computing/Computer Science? (Techjunkie) and Wikipedia
- Peter Denning. "The Great Principles of Computing", American Scientist, 2014
- 2015 Google and Gallop study Images of Computer Science
- 2017 New study examines depictions of computer science in TV and film content, PHY.ORG, USC Annenberg, School of Communication and Journalism
- C.Dianne Martin. "Digital Dreams: Public Perceptions about Computers", ACM, Inroads, Vol.4, No.3. 2013
- Roland Barthes, Selections from “Rhetoric of the Image”, Image, music, text, 1977
- Beau Lotto "Limited Delusional Brains - The Science of Perception", Sept. 2017, Head Talks
Reflection/Research Paper 1.: Deadline: April 1st
Part Two: Stereotypes, Bias, and Challenges for CS
- What is unconscious bias?
- Stereotypes and Bias
- Bias, Technology, and Diversity
- Broadening Participation in Computer Science: Why does this Matter?
- MrKirwan Institute, "State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review", 2016
- WBUR. "How to Fight Racial Bias When it's Silent and Subtle" WBUR, Public Radio
- Claude Steele, “A
Threat in the Air: How Stereotypes Shape Intellectual Identity
and Performance”, American Psychologist. Volume: 52.
Issue: 6. Page Number: 613. 2003 Dec Vol 95(4) 796-805, 1997.
- Video: Claude Steele: "Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us"
- Darren J.A. Yopyk and Deborah A. Prentice, "Am I an Athlete or a Student? Indentity Salience and Sterotype Threat in Student-Athletes", Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 27:4, 329-336, 2010
- Bian, et al. "Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children's interests", Science, 2017
- Devine, P.G., Forscher, P.S., Austin, A.J., and & Cox, W.T. "Long Term reduction in implicit race bias: A prejudice habit-breaking intervention". Journal of experimental social psychology, 48(6), 1267-1278, 2013
- Carlos Bueno, "Inside the Mirrortocracy", June, 2014
- Libby Rainey, "Breeding the Tech Elite", The Weekender, The Daily Californian, Feb. 2014.
- Bonnie Marcus, "The Lack Of Diversity In Tech Is A Cultural Issue", Forbes.com, 2015
- Tracey Lien, "Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves?" LA Times, Feb. 2015
- McKinsey & Company, "Delivering through Diversity", 2018. Summary and Introduction
- Mathias Wullum Nielsen, Carlson Walter Bloch, and Lond Schiebinger, "Making Gender Diversity work for scientific discovery and innovation", Nature Human Behaviour 2, 726-734, 2018
- Campbell et al, "Gender-Heterogeneous Working Groups Produce Higher Quality Science", PLOS: ONE, 2013.
- Richard E. Ladner and Sheryl Burgstahler, "Expanding the Pipeline: Broadening Participation in Computing by Preparing More Professionals with Diasabilities",Computing Research Assocation, May 2017, Vol. 29/No. 5
- Carol Frieze and Jeria Quesenberry "How Computer Science at CMU Is Attracting and Retaining Women", Communications of the ACM. Feb. 2019, Vol.62 No.2, Pages 23-26 (link to CACM)
- Blum, L. and Frieze, C. "In
a More Balanced Computer Science Environment, Similarity is the
Difference and Computer Science is the Winner," Computing
Research News, Vol. 17/No. 3 2005(a)
Research and Reflection Assignment 2: April 10th, Presentations, April 15th, Paper
Research and Reflection Assignment 3. Deadline: Wednesday, April 24th
Part Three: A Global Perspective on Computing
- Case studies from other countries
and cultures. Team Presentations
- Are there different levels of participation in computing and computer science in other countries?
- Why might this be?
- Is computing perceived differently in different countries and cultures?
- Joyojeet Pal. “Of
mouse and men: Computers and geeks as cinematic icons in the age
of ICTD” iConference 2010
- Paul Brand and Anke Schwittey. "The
Missing Piece: Human-Driven Design and Research in ICT and Development",
- Kenneth Kraemer, Jason Dedrick, and Prakul Sharma. "One Laptop Per Child: Vision vs. Reality", Communications of the ACM, 2009
- Leonard Lynn and Harold Salzman. "The
Real Global Technology Challenge”, Change, July/August
- Joel Adams, Vimala Bauer, and Shankuntala Baichoo. "An Expanding Pipeline: Gender in Mauritius", ACM, SIGCSE 2003
- Roli Varma, U.S. Science and Enginering Workforce: Underrepresentation of Women and Minorities, American Behavioral Scientist, Sage Publications, 2018
- Roli Varma. Computing Self-Efficacy Among Women in India, Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 2010
- Larisa Eidelman & Orit Hazzan. "Factors Influencing the Shrinking Pipeline in High Schools: A Sector-Based Analysis of the Israeli High School System", Proceedings of SIGCSE 2005 - The 36th Technical Symposium on CS Education, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, pp. 406-410. 2005
- Australian Government, Office of the Chief Scientist. (2016). Australia’s STEM Workforce: Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. Accessed Jan. 2019
- Halley Profita et al, “Don’t Mind Me Touching My Wrist: A Case Study of Interacting with On-Body Technology in Public”, ACM, 2013
- Richardson et al, "'Getting On': Older New Zealanders' Perceptions of Computing", Sage, 2005
- Tim Bell. “Establishing a Nationwide CS Curriculum in New Zealand High Schools”,
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 57 No. 2, Pages 28-30, 2014
- Ming Zhang and Virginia M. Lo. “Undergraduate Computer Science Education in China”, SIGCSE 2010
- Jianwei Zhang. "A cultural look at information and communication technologies in Eastern education", Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 2007
- Evgeniy Khenner and Igor Semakin. "School Subject Informatics (Computer Science) in Russia: Educational Relevant Areas", ACM Transactions on Computing Education, Vol. 14, No. 2, Article 14, 2014
- Florence Chee. "Understanding Korean experiences of online game hype, identity, and the menace of the "Wang-tta", Proceedings of DiGRA Conference: Changing Views – Worlds in Play, 2005
- Martin Bush. "Computer Science Education in Japan", Communications of the ACM, 2004
- Mazliza Othman and Rodziah Latih. “Women
in Computer Science: NO SHORTAGE HERE!” Communications
of the ACM, Vol. 49. Number 3, 2006
- International Interactive Blog: Global Computer Science Education
End of Semester Final/Quiz
In-Class Final/Quiz Wed. April 1st, 9.00-10.20am
- There will be 15 questions that cover the course highlights and the relationship between Images, Culture, and Computing.
- We will do a review in class ahead of time.
- References to reading will focus on the required readings but extra points will be earned for extra reading.
- You will also be challenged to think of ways to present new images of computing and the people in the field with the goal of broadening participation in computing.
**ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Important Must Read**
Guidelines for Readings, Presentations and Discussion
Guidelines for Papers
Presentations: Be prepared to discuss/present:
-- a brief summary of the paper
-- the main argument/points made by the author
-- the evidence given to support the argument
-- any key words/phrases
-- what questions are raised?
-- what did you learn?
-- what did you find particularly interesting?
-- do you agree/disgree with the argument made by the author?
-- in what way(s) does the paper relate to this class?
-- any other points ....
Take care of yourself
Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.
All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Asking for support sooner rather than later is often helpful.
If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) is here to help: call 412-268-2922 and visit their website at http://www.cmu.edu/counseling/. Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the support that can help.