CCSE ITiCSE Working Group Attendance

Issued: Mon, 29 Jul 2019 10:58:00 BST

Working Group Participants, ITiCSE '19

The Centre for Computing Science Education fielded 8 members to take part in 7 Working Groups at the ITiCSE (Innovation and Technology in CS Education) conference in Aberdeen running from 13-17th July. ITiCSE is ACM SIGCSE’s (SIG on CS Education) second largest conference, held in Europe annually, and the Working Groups (WGs) are a special feature of the conference. In January, members of the community propose WG themes to the conference chairs, and around 10 each year are selected. The topics proposed usually need multi-institutional, multi-national input - perhaps involving a large survey or a wide-ranging experiment, or attempting to find answers to a particularly tricky question - more than could be achieved by a single researcher or institution. Researchers and practitioners around the world can then apply to be a member of a WG, explaining why they are a good fit for the topic, and each WG lead then chooses up to 10 members from the applicants. So each year, there are around 100-120 folk on the WGs. There is always significant preparatory work to do, to review the literature or collect data, and then, on the Saturday and Sunday before the conference, the WGs meet full-time to analyse data, develop their ideas and draft a paper on the topic area. During the conference, Monday to Wednesday, the groups continue to meet, around sessions, to complete their work. The resulting paper, which can be further developed for around 6-8 weeks after the conference, then goes through SIGCSE’s most rigorous reviewing process, with publication usually in January or February. WG "reports", as they are referred to, often become landmark papers in the area.

This year, in January, Quintin suggested to CCSE members that many topics might be of interest to them. Eight of us applied to seven groups and we were all accepted! The topics are as follows:

  1. Fostering Program Comprehension for Novice Programmers - Learning Activities and Learning Trajectories (Quintin)
  2. Pass Rates in Computing and in other STEM Disciplines (Jack)
  3. Data Science Education: Global Perspectives and Convergence (Lovisa)
  4. A Periodic Table of CS Education Learning Theories: Is it possible, is it useful, and what forms could it take? (Peter)
  5. An International Benchmark Study of K-12 CS Education in Schools (Elizabeth)
  6. Securing the Human: Attracting More Diverse Students in the Cybersecurity Field (Joe)
  7. Towards an Ability to Direct College Students to an Appropriately Paced Introductory CS Course (Mireilla and Ethel)

It was an exhausting five days but very rewarding - particularly, those new to the community have got to make really good connections with a number of colleagues - stronger than would happen just turning up to a conference. The topics above match well either to our teaching in the School, or to our individual research, or both sometimes. In January, we hope we’ll have the publication board covered with 7 significant new papers.