Two full papers accepted to ACM CompEd 2019

Today, we were notified that we had two papers accepted to the ACM’s new computer education conference CompEd for 2019, located in Chengdu, China. The two papers are:

  • “Five Years of Graduate CS Education Online and at Scale”, by myself, Charles Isbell, Thad Starner, and Ashok Goel. The paper looks at the OMSCS program, with a special focus on how the computer science subject matter uniquely intersects with the program’s scale.
  • “Replicating and Unraveling Performance and Behavioral Differences between an Online and a Traditional CS Course”, by myself and Melinda McDaniel. The paper looks at Georgia Tech’s CS1301 and compares students’ performance, attitudes, and motivations between online and in-person versions.

To see the abstracts for these papers, keep reading after the jump.

Abstract (Five Years): In 2014, Georgia Tech launched an online campus for its Master of Science in Computer Science program. The degree, equal in stature and accreditation to its on-campus counterpart, offered a notably lower cost of attendance. Its design emphasized flexibility in both geography and time, allowing students from around the world to earn a highly-ranked MSCS without taking time off work or moving to campus. Five years later, the program enrolls over 8000 students per semester and has graduated 1500 alumni. It is believed to be the largest program of its kind and has received recognition from national organizations on professional education. Existing research on the program has focused on challenges and opportunities to scale that are agnostic to the content itself. In this reflection, we look at the creation and growth of the program as it relates to graduate-level CS instruction. In particular, we note a unique and powerful unity of content and platform: the online delivery of the program dovetails with the technical skillsets of the professors and students that it draws, putting both in the position to contribute and innovate.

Abstract (Replicating & Unraveling): In January 2017, a major public research university launched an online version of CS1 targeted at on-campus students to address rising enrollments and provide students with flexibility in their schedules. Prior research on this class has found positive outcomes: students in the course achieve the same learning outcomes as those in a traditional course, while reporting a lower time investment to reach those outcomes and a high level of student satisfaction. This research builds on that prior work in two ways. First, it replicates the findings from that earlier semester with an entirely new semester of students. Second, it delves deeper into the student experience within the online course and its traditional counterpart. This deeper analysis focuses specifically on the differing ways in which students in each section allocated their time, whether or not students in either section accessed the opposite section’s material, and their future preferences in online vs. residential CS classes.

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