ACM Special Interest Group on Information Technology Education

SIGITE 2021—Proceedings

SIGITE ’21: Proceedings of the 22st Annual Conference on Information Technology Education

Full Citation in the ACM Digital Library

SESSION: Session 1: Workshop 1

Applied Improvisation Techniques to Enhance IT Majors’ Soft Skills, Communication Skills, and Teamwork Skills

  • Russell McMahon

The 2017 Curriculum Guidelines for Baccalaureate Degree Programs in Information Technology now stresses the importance of soft skills (section 5.2.1), communication skills, and team skills training for IT majors. Applied improvisation techniques can be used in teaching of technical concepts such as cybersecurity, agile development, database design, programming concepts, and most importantly, how to better one’s communication and teamwork skills. This workshop is designed for those who want to learn more about some of the various techniques used and how they can be incorporated into the IT curriculum. Nearly 20 years ago, the National Academy of Sciences Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) recognized the importance of improvisation as tool to help IT practitioners become more creative. Creative problem-solving methodologies such as design thinking all tie into the use of improvisation. Companies such as Twitter, IDEO, and Google are using improvisation methods as a way of creating better collaborative teams and a work environment that says YES before NO. Improvisation training can help students and faculty to become better listeners, communicators, collaborators, innovators, and those who can better focus on the organization or team story and not their own story.

SESSION: Session 2: Keynote Talk 1

Technology Leadership in Today’s World

  • Daren Thayne

The world needs innovative technology leaders. Virtually every organization relies on technology. And those organizations need innovative technology leaders who not only know how to wear the many and necessary hats, but who also are strategic partners who are fully aligned with the goals of the organization. How has the role of technology leadership changed over time? What are the attributes that define innovative technology leaders? To stay competitive in this world, why is it becoming more and more critical that organizations hire and develop innovative technology leaders?

SESSION: Session 3A: Curriculum

CC2020: An IT-Centric Overview

  • Barry M. Lunt

In 2005, the ACM, together with the IEEE Computer Society and the Association for Information Systems, released Computing Curricula 2005: The Overview Report[1]. This document has proven to be one of the most widely circulated and influential documents ever produced on the topic of computing curricula, and included computing programs in computer engineering (CE), computer science (CS), information systems (IS), information technology (IT), and software engineering (SE). This document was recently updated and released as Computing Curricula 2020: Paradigms for Global Computing Education[2], and included the first 5 computing programs as well as cybersecurity (CSEC) and some of data science (DS). This paper takes an IT-centric look at this updated document, highlighting the changes and the additional insights this significant reference provides the computing educational community.

Revisiting Syntax Exercises in CS1

  • Anna Ly
  • John Edwards
  • Michael Liut
  • Andrew Petersen

Previous work has suggested that adopting a “syntax-first pedagogy” in introductory programming (CS1) improved student retention and performance. To confirm these results, we added syntax exercises to an existing CS1 course. A quasi-experimental design was used, with topics with and without a syntax exercise introduction being compared. Data collected includes performance (number of submissions and time spent) on weekly exercises and assignments as well as student evaluations collected weekly and at the end of the term. Our observations suggest that a syntax-first approach improves student performance in the short-term. Students generally performed better on weekly exercises introduced using the syntax exercises, in terms of both the number of submissions required and time spent, than they did on exercises that were not. Furthermore, the reductions in time required to solve the existing weekly exercises partially offset the time required by the new syntax-focused exercises, and students, particularly those with less prior experience, valued the new syntax exercises. Our results suggest that adopting a syntax-first approach may have benefits for students with lower prior experience, and we encourage additional work, both to evaluate a fully-converted syntax-first course and to assess syntax exercises in a more controlled setting.

Strategies for Integrating Two-Year Information Technology and Cybersecurity Programs

  • Markus Geissler
  • Cara Tang

To meet the high demand for trained Cybersecurity professionals, many two-year colleges which have been offering degree programs in Information Technology (IT) are expanding or revising their course offerings to include Cybersecurity courses. The increasing importance of Cybersecurity skills has led to an increase in Cybersecurity requirements for IT majors. Due to considerations related to competency overlap, vendor-based academy content, government designations, faculty qualifications, general education requirements, enrollment capacity, and other factors, two-year colleges are evaluating various options for how to effectively offer both IT and Cybersecurity content. Options include separate IT and Cybersecurity degrees, IT and Cybersecurity concentrations using a common core of general Computing courses, and multiple IT degree concentrations based on a common IT core. Colleges should evaluate the competencies expected of completers to determine how to best structure their programs.

SESSION: Session 3B: Panel 1

Equipping and Empowering Faculty through Professional Development to Create a Future-Ready Workforce in Emerging Technologies

  • Farzana Rahman
  • Elodie Billionniere
  • Ann Quiroz Gates
  • Felesia Stukes

Tech industry, especially, some areas within tech fields, such as Emerging Technology (EmTech), like cybersecurity, data science, mobile development, machine learning, AI, and cloud computing, are expected to experience immense increases in job opportunities in coming years. While a variety of solutions are necessary to address the growing workforce needs in the EmTech industry, one of the largest untapped talent pools is women and underrepresented students. Clearly, HBCU and MSI hold great potential to broaden participation in EmTech because of their more diverse student populations, access to a large number of underrepresented students, and closer faculty-to-student interaction. However, faculties at these institutions, who are at the forefront of developing required skills in students are often overlooked. Faculties at these institutions need help designing and implementing effective and evidence-based instruction materials to develop skills that are in high-demand in the EmTech industry. The goal of this panel is to offer a platform that can provide insight into the development of faculty professional development programs in EmTech in traditional institutions and within the context of HBCU and MSI.

SESSION: Session 4A: Cybersecurity

UCLP: A Novel UAV Cybersecurity Laboratory Platform

  • Ashok Raja
  • Julio Galvan
  • Yanyan Li
  • Jiawei Yuan

Recent years have witnessed a rapid development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and their applications in various fields. At the same time, the utilization of UAVs also raises serious security and safety concerns. Given a large number of UAV-related jobs to be created in the near future, it is pressing to educate and train current and next-generation cybersecurity professionals towards UAVs and their applications. However, there is a lack of education and training materials on UAV cybersecurity, especially for hands-on practice. In this paper, we propose a novel UAV cybersecurity laboratory platform (UCLP), which provides efficient and effective hands-on practice. UCLP offers not only a cost-effective UAV cybersecurity practice environment, but also a series of designed and pre-configured lab modules. UCLP adopts a plug-in based design and hence supporting flexible customization of existing and new lab modules. UCLP uses technical solutions to overcome non-technical limitations in UAV cybersecurity practice (e.g., regulations of UAV operations). Our evaluation results demonstrated the efficiency, flexibility, and effectiveness of UCLP and indicated UCLP is promising to be integrated into the education and training of UAV, cybersecurity, and related fields.

An Online Gamified Learning Platform for Teaching Cybersecurity and More

  • Mac Malone
  • Yicheng Wang
  • Fabian Monrose

We present an online gamified learning platform for computer science and cybersecurity education. Exercises within the platform revolve around a custom game wherein students can demonstrate learned skills regarding password security, web security, traffic analysis, reverse engineering, cryptanalysis, and much more. We describe some key features that together make our platform novel, including its distributed infrastructure, game engine, integrated development environment, automated feedback system, and support for individualization. We demonstrate how these features assist in the learning process — both in theory and in practice — and report on the use of the platform in a cybersecurity course.

Scaring People is Not Enough: An Examination of Fear Appeals within the Context of Promoting Good Password Hygiene

  • Marc Dupuis
  • Anna Jennings
  • Karen Renaud

Fear appeals have been used for thousands of years to scare people into engaging in a specific behavior or omitting an existing one. From religion, public health campaigns, political ads, and most recently, cybersecurity, fear appeals are believed to be effective tools. However, this assumption is often grounded in intuition rather than evidence. We know little about the specific contexts within which fear appeals may or may not work. In this study, we begin to examine various components of a fear appeal within the context of password hygiene. A large-scale randomized controlled experiment was conducted with one control and three treatment groups: (1) fear only; (2) measures needed and the efficacy of such measures, and (3) fear combined with measures needed and the efficacy of such measures. The results suggest that the most effective way to employ a fear appeal within the cybersecurity domain is by ensuring that fear is not used on its own. Instead, it is important that information on the measures needed to address the threat and the efficacy of such measures is used in combination with information about the nature of the threat. Since many individuals that enter the information technology profession become the de facto security person, it is important for information technology education programs to distill in students the inadequacy of fear, on its own, in motivating secure actions.

SESSION: Session 4B: Big Ideas in IT Education

Domains and Contexts: Tracks in Introductory Project Management Courses

  • Diane Shichtman
  • Andrew Weiss

The fundamentals of project management are the same regardless of the industry or organization. However, in some settings, individual elements of project management might be more or less significant, and teaching students about contexts and domains that are familiar or of interest can help engage them.

DevOps: The Sky’s the Limit in Higher Education

  • Christina Hupy

How To Avoid Peter and His Principle

  • Hollis Greenberg

Does the current recommended computing curricula prepare our students to work in the business world? Technology does not exist in a silo. Technical employees work in departments, where they manage projects, people, and budgets. Many computing disciplines solely focus on the technological skills, completely ignoring the other skills necessary to be successful and to achieve upward mobility in the business world.

Is Hybrid Teaching Good for Your IT Class?

  • Chunming Gao
  • Bryan Goda

This presentation aims to discuss using hybrid approach to engage students’ active learning in IT course teachings. We introduce our practices and findings in teaching a core IT course in a hybrid class. We present the promising outcomes and aim to invoke discussions on the benefits and potential challenges in making IT classes hybrid.

SESSION: Session 5: Poster Session

Inspiring Student Creativity: Collaboration on a Network Design Using IoT Project

  • Sharon Gumina
  • Hengtao Tang

A key initiative of the College of Engineering and Computing at USC is fostering creativity in its students and educators [11]. Emergent technologies make it difficult to predict what skills students will need as computer systems become more complex and dynamic. Including classroom activities that encourage creativity and collaboration prepares students for Information Technology (IT) and real-life application of their networking skills. The Final Project for the Introduction to Networking course that is described in this paper was designed to be a creative teaching experience in the classroom. It also contributed to the Introduction to Networking course learning outcomes by preparing students for risk-taking and uncertainty in real-world network applications

An Open Educational Resource for an Agile Software Engineering Course

  • Cengiz Günay
  • Anca Doloc-Mihu

The field of software technologies has been seeing a steady growth worldwide recently. Engineering job roles might require candidates to know several different programming paradigms, languages, frameworks, and cloud technologies. Each of these technologies constantly evolve to improve or become obsolete, which requires educational materials for teaching them to be constantly updated. Software engineering has classical texts that have been updated over many editions. These are large volumes with numerous chapters that include older and newer techniques, history, and a variety of extra material, which makes them expensive textbooks. This also make them contain too much material to cover in undergraduate courses. As published textbooks are always updated slower than the pace of technology that changes project dependencies every three months or so, practical materials may still become outdated between editions. Open educational resources (OERs) provide solutions to these problems by allowing adopters to update and customize materials for a given syllabus. An OER can simply mean a no-cost textbook or a resource that is publicly available for teaching. In this work, we present a preliminary OER for software development or engineering courses for undergraduate information technology (IT) majors.

A Framework for the Discipline of Information Technology

  • Hazem Said
  • Michael Zidar
  • Said Varlioglu
  • Cornelius Itodo

This paper presents a framework for the academic discipline of information technology. The framework defines four independent elements to the discipline: People, Information, Technology, and the Solutions or Needs that connect them. In IT practice, the information technology discipline aim is the selection, creation, integration, application, security, and administration of solutions that use technology to empower people through information. In IT research, the discipline aim is the investigation, discovery, and dissemination of needs that connect people, information, and technology. The proposed framework presents a theory for the discipline of information technology to inform its research and practice. It builds on past efforts to define the information technology discipline and provides a foundation for academic institutions and the industry to proactively address the need for talent and innovation to sustain the economic engine of our society.

Block-based Programming Enabling Students to Gain and Transfer Knowledge with a No-code Approach

  • Luis Corral
  • Ilenia Fronza
  • Claus Pahl

In this article, we describe our experience designing and teaching a curriculum on mobile software development that has benefitted from the no-code philosophy leveraging the power of block-based programming tools. We review a journey of 10 years using block-based programming platforms to lay foundations on software development skills, and empower the creative potential of high school students. Our objective is to provide a review of the evolution, capabilities and technical coverage of the block-based software platforms, and to discuss the impact that we have observed on users and developers who have become acquainted on the use of block-based programming tools through our courses

A Computer-Vision Based Engagement Evaluation System for More Effective Learning Design

  • Zhigang Li
  • Jiaming Li
  • Meng Han
  • Ming Yang

Student engagement during online instruction has been a challenge. Particularly in an asynchronous learning environment, assessing and measuring student engagement is a difficult task. This paper proposes a solution to fill in the gap between the need to evaluate student engagement during online instruction and the lack of an effective method to do so. The proposed web-based learning environment fully incorporates the latest development in facial expression recognition to capture the facial expression changes during the course of instruction. The facial expression data can then be visualized for further analysis to help instructors pinpoint the exact locations where the instruction needs improvements. In addition, the proposed system can also be used in corporate training settings, particularly in scenarios where the learners’ emotional responses are desired.

Creating an Immersive and Active Educational Experience for Generation Z: Adapting the Introductory Information Technology Course for Digital Natives

  • Travis Dalton
  • John Gerdes

An introductory information technology (IT) course (ITEC 101) was designed to engage IT students and attract non-degree students. Student feedback suggests an update was needed. A survey gauged student sentiment and solicited positive and negative feedback, and recommendations for change. Results suggests students prefer active learning and want more emphasis on meaningful content and assignments. We discuss the course redesign. Active learning is emphasized, incorporating a flipped classroom model to engage and build student enthusiasm for information technology.

dbLearn*: Open-Source System and a Set of Practices for Conducting Iterative Exercises and Exams in a Databases Course

  • Vangel Ajanovski

The author’s approach in teaching databases, focuses on acquiring competences needed to use and develop systems of realistic complexity, typical for a micro or small company. Each student works towards gaining experience with various database designs and implementations, querying and development of relational schemas, and building applications. An open-source system is introduced, intended to help teachers organize such courses at a scale, and effectively guide the students in an iterative process of acquiring competencies, at the level of smaller groups or even individuals. The main goal of the system is speed-up of administrative tasks at all levels. The system implements the core process of organizing exams in a partial and piece-wise manner, and implements sets of tools and practices for semi-automated assessment processes.

Preparing Students for Automated IT Workflows

  • Heidi J. C. Ellis
  • Gregory W. Hislop

This poster discusses some efforts to develop student skills with current IT workflow tools and processes. These experiences have been introduced within the context of existing courses rather than trying to add an additional course to already crowded curricula.

Building an Impersonation Attack and Defense Testbed for Vehicle To Vehicle Systems

  • Mostafa El-Said
  • Xinli Wang
  • Samah Mansour
  • Andrew Kalafut

Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication takes place among a wide range of wireless nodes such as cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles. However, V2V systems are vulnerable to Global Positioning Systems (GPS) spoofing attacks, where a malicious vehicle may spoof a victim vehicle’s GPS coordinates to impersonate it. Thus, the malicious vehicle can act as a traffic injector imperiling traffic safety. In this work, we use simulation software as a platform to develop a practical testbed to execute an impersonation attack along with an in-vehicle defense technique.

The Super-Node Topology in Collaborative Learning

  • Loubna Mekouar
  • Muna Bader
  • Fatna Belqasmi

Incorporating new collaborative learning strategies will help increase students’ engagement and improve the learning experience. In this paper, we present a new method of group formation inspired by the super-node topology in peer-to-peer systems. This method proved to enhance students’ engagement, productivity, and cognitive skills in group-based assessments.

Designing Technology for Single Fathers using Human-Centered Design Approach

  • Andrew S. Burgdorf
  • Annu Sible Prabhakar

In this paper, we present a preliminary inquiry into the designing of support interventions for single fathers. We hope that a potential intervention would help them cope with the daily stressors of parenting. Currently, support solutions specifically designed for single fathers are scarce. This research uses the Human-centered design methodology to engaged single fathers in multiple research activities to gain insight into their support needs to inform potential designs for support interventions.

Introducing Programming Concepts through Interactive Online Workshops

  • Valentina Mosquera Reina
  • Ryan Cunico
  • Josiah Williams
  • Matthew Bauer
  • Anca Doloc-Mihu
  • Cindy Robertson

Students from the Technology Ambassadors Program (TAP) at Georgia Gwinnett College introduce basic programming concepts to online workshop participants by demonstrating and creating an interactive racing game using the Scratch programming language. The workshop encourages interest in the STEM fields, while teaching basic programming skills to control the game’s logic. Our study results showed that our workshops were successful and engaging.

Leveraging Bias Conscious Artificial Intelligence to Increase STEM Graduates Among Underrepresented Populations

  • Josette Riep
  • Annu Prabhakar

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) remains one of the fastest-growing and one of the most segregated professions in the United States. Predominately white and male, opportunities in STEM continue to grow exponentially. Areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for example are expected to become $11 trillion industries by 2025. As employers struggle to find skilled candidates, we face the reality that African Americans are too often left behind. African Americans make up less than 5% of the IT workforce and a small percentage of IT graduates. Although there is acknowledgment and some investment by both industry and educational institutions, there has been minimal success in changing the demographic landscape. This study focuses on how AI can be used to better understand barriers, personalize student experiences, and provide pathways of attainment for an increasingly diverse student body.

SESSION: Session 6: Workshop 2

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Workshop

  • Kristina Kaldon
  • Robert Love

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is changing the way we work, by automating mundane and repetitive tasks. RPA leverages software robots to interact with web and desktop applications just like humans do, through the user interface. In this workshop, UiPath will provide an overview of RPA and industry use cases, as well as hands-on exercises and knowledge on how to teach RPA to students.

SESSION: Session 7: Keynote Talk 2

Getting Everyone the IT Education They Need

  • Mark Guzdial

The inventors of the term “computer science” meant for it to be something that was taught to everyone, to facilitate learning other subjects, and to help people understand the risks of technology in their lives. Alan Perlis (with Newell and Simon) published the first definition of “computer science” in Science in 1967 [6]. In 1961, he argued at MIT that everyone at the academia should learn to program, to give them a new way to understand their world [10]. At the same event, C.P. Snow (author of The Two Cultures [11]) argued that we should teach everyone about computing so that they would understand the dangers in our new computerized society [12]. He wrote: “A handful of people, having no relation to the will of society, having no communication with the rest of society, will be taking decisions in secret which are going to affect our lives in the deepest sense.”

The world today relies on information technology but, we mostly teach IT to people who will become professionals. This leaves us with only a privileged class that understands a critical part of our world. If we want to reach the original and more general goal, we will have to change how we teach about computing. With my students and collaborators, I have been identifying the barriers to giving everyone an understanding of the computing technology in their world.We have explored how socioeconomic status influences success in computing [9], and how increasing access to high school computing courses has not led to a commensurate increase in the number or diversity fo students taking those courses [7, 8]. We have been studying why students reject computer science [1], and how to invent new forms of computing education that meet the needs of students who have not succeeded in traditional computing courses [2]. In our most recent work, we ask questions like “What are fundamental ideas of computing that everyone needs to reason about and use the computational technologies in their world?” and “How can we re-design computation to make it more approachable, accessible, and adoptable?” [3-5]

SESSION: Session 8A: Jobs & Careers

Are you one of us?: How Employers Prioritize among IT Graduates

  • Per Lauvås
  • Kjetil Raaen
  • Anders Olof Larsson

When we are designing IT education and degree programs, knowledge about what graduates need to succeed is important. One source of such knowledge are employers. This paper presents a survey of Norwegian employers asking what they are looking for in a recently graduated IT candidate. We confirm that the so called soft skills are highly prized. Among these, we identify a less reported concept of fitting into company or team culture as the most important. Another somewhat unexpected result is that employers do not expect to see a portfolio from graduates. Among technologies mentioned, Java is at the top followed closely by C# and .NET. Python and JavaScript are also mentioned often. Our study suggests that soft skills should be a focus throughout IT education programs.

Retrieving and Classifying LinkedIn Job Titles for Alumni Career Analysis

  • Lei Li
  • Svetlana Peltsverger
  • Jack Zheng
  • Linh Le
  • Michael Handlin

It is important for universities to track alumni careers after graduation for both program quality improvement and accreditation requirements. The most common way of collecting such data is through alumni surveys, but historically these surveys had low response rates. LinkedIn, a social network site that targets working professionals, provides a great platform for academic programs to connect with alumni and collect their career information. Current approaches for career analysis using LinkedIn data often require a labor-intensive manual process that is not scalable and sustainable. In this paper, we propose a system for the automated retrieval and classification of LinkedIn job titles for alumni career analysis. Our research prototype and experiment results show that the proposed system can effectively crawl LinkedIn profiles and classify job titles based on Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) job categories [1]. Our approach is the first of its kind in career analysis using LinkedIn and can be easily adopted by other universities or programs to develop career analysis systems for their alumni.

Transforming Education: Upskilling for a Cloudy Tomorrow

  • Elodie Billionniere
  • Lawrence Meyer

Cloud computing deployment and demand has increased year over year during the prior decade and has only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid increase in cloud technology has also increased the need for higher education institutions to train students and re-skill or up-skill working professionals. This paper discusses the application of high impact training methodologies and their impact on student learning.

SESSION: Session 8B: Panel 2

Meaningful Course Evaluations

  • Heidi J. C. Ellis
  • Gregory W. Hislop
  • Cara Tang
  • Stephen Zilora

Evaluating courses and how well they are taught is an essential task for every educational institution. Evaluations support improvement of instruction and course content. They are also often an important input to annual reviews and tenure and promotion decisions. In spite of these important uses, many institutions do not feel that their course evaluations are meeting these needs as well as they would like. And faculty, students, and administrators all seem to have some level of complaint and frustration related to evaluations. This panel will focus on course evaluation for computing degree programs. Panelists will identify problems and discuss helpful ideas for making course evaluations more useful.

SESSION: Session 9A: Online/Hybrid & COVID

Modeling Computing Students’ Perceived Academic Performance in an Online Learning Environment

  • Rex Bringula
  • Ma. Ymelda Batalla
  • Ma. Teresa Borebor

This study attempted to develop a model that characterized the perceived academic performance of computing students (subsequently referred to as students) in an online learning environment. It was hypothesized that students’ academic performance in online learning could be modeled through their online learning capabilities, attitudes towards online learning, and online learning academic self-concept. Toward this goal, 264 students answered a validated survey form. Multinomial logistic regression analyses showed that perceived academic performance in terms of perceived grade attainment and perceived learning achievements had different sets of predictors. This finding indicates that perceived academic performance in an online learning environment has two distinct measures with distinct sets of predictors. Additional analyses revealed that the students are further distinguished when the predictors were categorized by levels of academic performance. Implications to online teaching and recommendations are discussed.

Misinformation and Disinformation in the Era of COVID-19: The Role of Primary Information Sources and the Development of Attitudes Toward Vaccination

  • Marc Dupuis
  • Kelly Chhor
  • Nhu Ly

Misinformation is not new; however, the proliferation of social media has resulted in a much broader reach and instantaneous impact. Results from such proliferation were seen during the 2016 and 2020 elections in the United States. The reach of false information in the context of a U.S. Presidential election would not be the pinnacle of the harm it can cause. In the current context, the spread of false information in the middle of a pandemic and related to causes, cures, and conspiracies, has the potential to do real harm, if it has not already. Now that vaccines are widely available in some countries, this harm may result in lives being lost that did not have to be. In this paper, we explore vaccination status in the context of information sources used by individuals. The results suggest that a lack of trust and engagement in traditional news outlets is associated with lower levels of COVID-19 vaccination initiation or completion. Higher levels of engagement with sources that have been used in the past to propagate conspiracy theories, such as YouTube, are also associated with lower levels of vaccination initiation or completion. Public health implications and the need for greater information literacy are discussed.

Dual Teaching: Simultaneous Remote and In-Person Learning During COVID

  • Hunter Williams
  • Malcolm Haynes
  • Joseph Kim

Social distancing guidelines put in place to combat COVID-19 resulted in a general education introductory information technology course being taught in a dual teaching environment. Each lesson, some students attended in-person while simultaneously others attended remotely. Students alternated each lesson between in-person and remote attendance. We examined whether there was any difference in performance between in-person and remote attendance using an end-of-lesson quiz. For some students the quiz was announced and for others it was unannounced. Additionally, we measured the subjective experience of students via a survey. We found that students attending class in-person performed better on end of class quizzes; the difference was small but statistically significant. In-person students also reported paying more attention, being more engaged, and understanding the lesson material better than remote students. Announcing the quiz did not statistically affect performance, although it did improve the subjective experience of in-person students. Finally, when it comes to dual teaching, both students and instructors prefer in-person or remote teaching. Nevertheless, dual teaching may be an effective approach; there was little difference in final course grades between in-person teaching and dual teaching.

SESSION: Session 9B: Programming

Enabling Peer-Led Coding Camps by Creating a Seed Effect in Young Students

  • Ilenia Fronza
  • Luis Corral
  • Gennaro Iaccarino
  • Claus Pahl

During peer-led intensive events (such as hackathons and coding camps), students actively assist others to learn and, in turn, benefit from an effective learning environment. In this paper, we present the results of an observational study, having as a working setting a coding camp based on Computational Thinking (CT), to explore how peer-led coding camps can create a seed effect in young students. In particular, we analyze how a practical approach to convey CT skills motivates and effectively prepares student tutors. Moreover, we compare the previous and next edition of the camp to identify the specific contribution of the tutors. We observed that students benefit in particular from CT perspectives and develop the necessary motivation to eventually serve as tutors, creating a multiplier effect that benefits a larger number of students of future cohorts. Moreover, our results show that student tutors contributed positively to the facilitation of the subsequent edition of the coding camp.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Teaching Programming Concepts through Online Interactive Outreach Workshops

  • Cindy Robertson
  • Anca Doloc-Mihu

In this study, we present our findings with regard to the effectiveness of teaching computing concepts online via interactive outreach projects. These outreach activities were facilitated through our service-based learning course, the Technology Ambassador Program (TAP). The goal is to determine how effective these online outreach activities are and how we can improve upon them. The results of this study show that online outreach activities can be effective using already known teaching strategies such as repetition and hands-on activities. Surprisingly, we also found that these strategies work whether the participants are STEM or non-STEM students. Another important finding was the limitation of self-reported knowledge of understanding compared to the objectively assessed ability to implement the knowledge.

Undergraduate Research Experience with Software Development using a Large Existing Code Base in a Teaching-oriented College

  • Wei Jin
  • David Marshall
  • Puen Xie
  • Jiawei Li
  • Matthew Stiller
  • Taisann Kham
  • Dakota Norris
  • Ikechukwu Okolocha

Undergraduate research has been shown to enrich education, increase retention and promote critical thinking. Research projects involving extending an already mature and relatively large code base have special value for students, as they mimic industry experience. Students have to understand the existing code structure and figure out where to add their code to extend the functionality of the system. There are obvious challenges for undergraduate students to take on such projects, including lack of knowledge at the onset of the project, limited time span (normally a semester), and limited time availability during a semester. Undergraduate institutions have additional challenges, such as high teaching load for faculty advisors and lack of graduate students who could act as mentors. In this paper, we report our experience with a relatively large project that lasted for several semesters and involved several teams of students. We managed the challenges by being flexible and carving out many mini-projects from this umbrella project, which required that the faculty advisor work closely with students. The project has successfully produced a teaching/learning tool for auto-gradable full tracing exercises. The tool has been prototyped in classrooms and helped students learn various programming constructs. We hope that our experience could encourage larger scale projects in undergraduate institutions.

SESSION: Session 10A: Teaching Techniques & Ideas

Applying Aviation Training Techniques in the IT Classroom

  • Stephen J. Zilora

Aviation training is a rigorous process requiring the student pilot to learn the theoretical underpinnings of multiple subjects, risk management and decision making under stress, and, of course, the skills necessary to fly a plane. The educational process is rooted in learning theory, but it utilizes several approaches more fully than in typical academic classrooms resulting in a significantly greater level of engagement. This paper documents the results of a pilot study to apply three of these approaches in an information technology programming course-the Master/Apprentice approach, a focus on task mastery vs. time on task, and shared responsibility for achieving goals. While these three approaches were implemented to a limited degree during the pilot, the successful results suggest a more complete implementation of these approaches which is also outlined in this paper.

Investigating the Role of Different Prep Pathways on CS2 Performance Across Three Different Majors

  • Farzana Rahman
  • Jaya Tyagi

Research have shown that introductory programming sequence have a significant impact in the retention of students in computing and engineering majors. There has been extensive research about the CS1 course [1]. Much less has been written about the CS1.5 and CS2 course, which are often gateway courses for computing and engineering majors. CS2 classes often reflect a second semester course in programming, yet when studying this course many universities have different purposes for this course. Currently, there is a wide range of variation in CS courses. Some of these are used to expose students to a wider range of languages; in other cases, a new language is used to introduce concepts such as object-oriented programming, instead of the language used in CS1. However, even though CS2 is one of the fundamental courses in computing or CS major curriculum, the impacts of the different prep pathways leading to CS2 course is not well studied [2, 3]. Due to the critical nature of the CS2 course and its importance in CS major curriculum, in many institutions, CS2 or data structure course is recognized as an attrition point for CS Majors [4]. Understanding the impacts of the different prep pathways in CS2 course performance and the CS2 curriculum itself could give insights into the attrition behaviors. This paper presents a study which is conducted to understand the impact how student performance in CS2 course gets impacted by different programming languages used in CS1.5 course.

Tadawl: An Educational Platform for Gamifying Startup Investment

  • Hend S. Al-Khalifa
  • Rawan Al-Matham

Gamification, or the use of game mechanics in non-game applications, allows students to learn by doing. In this paper we present our experience in implementing a gamification platform in our entrepreneurship course to encourage students on investing in their peers’ projects and provide them with feedback. The platform involved the interaction of 106 undergraduate female students during a semester long entrepreneurship course. We also report the results obtained after using the platform in terms of students’ feedback and final remarks.

SESSION: Session 10B: Panel 3

We Did It! So Can You! Creating “No-Textbook” IT Degrees

  • Rebecca Rutherfoord
  • Lei Li
  • Hossain Shahriar
  • James Rutherfoord

One of the largest expenses for university students is the cost of textbooks. This is particularly true in the STEM areas. Data shows that course textbooks cost more and more every year. Textbook costs have risen 812% since 1978 and 73% since 2006 – which is four times the rate of inflation. The College Board recommends that students budget at least $1200 per year for textbook costs. Over 1/3 of students use their financial aid for textbook costs. The average computer science/IT textbook costs $180. In order to help alleviate some of these textbook costs, the State of Georgia has been offering to faculty Affordable Learning Grants across all majors. Several faculty in the Information Technology Department of Kennesaw State University were awarded an ALG grant during the Summer-Fall 2018 for redevelopment of four undergraduate IT courses using no textbook. In the past three years several IT faculty members have been awarded these ALG grants for redevelopment of information security courses, database courses, and an ethics course. The results of the redevelopment of the database courses and information security courses have been very positive for the students. The panel will discuss the current re-development of IT courses, and report on the positive results of prior re-development of no-textbook courses.

SESSION: Session 6: Workshop 3

Design Thinking For Technology Design

  • Annu Sible Prabhakar

This paper describes the workshop titled “Design Thinking For Technology Design.” Design thinking is a collaborative design process that keeps the user’s needs at the center. This workshop will introduce design thinking methodology to the participants through hands-on activities. The workshop participants will work on a problem and design a low fidelity prototype of a potential solution. This workshop is open to everyone.