CS700:Graduate Seminar in Computer Science & Informatics

Contextualized Computing Education

One of the most powerful tools for improving success rates in introductory computing courses is the incorporation of context -- a theme that pervades the computing lectures, assignments, and examples which relates the content to a concrete application domain. Contextualized computing education has even allowed us to be successful with challenging audiences, such as the non-technical major. In this talk, we review why Georgia Tech has chosen to teach serious computer science to every student on campus, and then discuss research findings from several schools on the benefits and costs of contextualized computing education.
Mark Guzdial is a Professor in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. He was the Director of Undergraduate Programs (including the BS in Computer Science, BS in Computational Media, and Minor in Computer Science) until October 2007. Mark is a member of the GVU Center, the Cognitive Science program, and the EduTech Institute. He received his Ph.D. in education and computer science (a joint degree) at the University of Michigan in 1993, where he developed Emile, an environment for high school science learners programming multimedia demonstrations and physics simulations. He was the original developer of the CoWeb (or Swiki), which is now one of the most widely used Wiki engines in Universities around the world. He is the inventor of the Media Computation approach to learning introductory computing, which uses contextualized computing education to attract and retain students. He is currently vice-chair of the ACM Education Board.