Working groups and proceedings

In previous years, ITiCSE proceedings included a single document that would list all working group titles, their leaders, and participants. Since last year things changed a bit by adding an abstract for each working group to better promote your work (especially among the conference attendees) and to better publicize the upcoming working group reports. As usual, all working group reports will be submitted after the conference is over and submitted for peer review. As before, those reports accepted for publication as a result of the peer review will be published in the ACM Digital Library.

Working groups: general information

Working groups are formed by participants with a common interest in a topic related to the subject matter of the conference. The groups of 5 to about 10 participants work together electronically before the start of the conference. Working groups convene on the Friday evening before the conference, and start face-to-face work in their sessions the following day, Saturday, at 9am. Group members are expected to work together for the whole of Saturday and Sunday, and continue their work throughout the conference, which runs from Monday to Wednesday. However, members are able to attend some conference sessions and the Tuesday afternoon excursion if they wish.

Every working group member must register for and be present at the conference in order to be considered a contributor to the final report. Participants present their preliminary results to conference attendees at a special working group presentation session, and submit a final report after the conference concludes. Final reports are refereed and, if accepted, are published in the ACM Digital Library.

Applications to join the working groups closed on 28 March 2018.

Nine working groups were accepted and will run during ITiCSE 2018.

Working groups: brief list

WG 1: Contrasting CS student and academic perspectives and experiences of student engagement

WG 2: Global Perspectives on Cybersecurity Education

WG 3: A Review of Novice Programming Research 2003 - 2017

WG 4: An International Investigation into Student Concerns regarding Transition into Higher Education

WG 5: Cloud Computing: Developing Contemporary Computer Science Curriculum for a Cloud-first Future

WG 6: Modeling Global Competencies for Computing Education

WG 7: Taxonomizing features and methods for identifying at-risk students in computing courses

WG 8: The Internet of Things in CS Education: Updating Curricula and Exploring Pedagogy

WG 9: Promoting the adoption of educational innovations

Working groups: details

WG 1: Contrasting CS student and academic perspectives and experiences of student engagement

Michael Morgan, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia,

Matthew Butler, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia,

Jane Sinclair, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK,

Christabel Gonsalvez, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia,

Neena Thota, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA,

There is widespread acceptance of the use of national benchmarks to measure student engagement, including the North American National Survey of Student Engagement, Student Experience Survey (Australia), and the Student Engagement Survey (UK). The performance of Computer Science (CS) on these benchmarks has generally been poor over a number of years. In fact CS performance is consistently poor across a range of instruments and shows little sign of improvement. It is difficult to argue that the inherent technical nature of the CS discipline is the reason for this poor performance as related STEM disciplines consistently rate more highly on many measures.

An understanding of the nature of the issues that result in our students rating their engagement with their CS studies as being poor across multiple survey instruments is needed. Since student engagement measures are distributed and help students and parents to make courses selections, it is important to understand why CS students rate CS courses as not meeting their expectations if we are to improve.

Previous work suggests CS academics have a wide variety of views on student engagement and address student engagement with a wide variety of strategies. What is missing is the student voice and a deeper understanding of why students rate their experience so poorly. We are also interested in how the views of CS academics on student engagement compare with the views of CS students. It is essential to seek the perspectives of both sides of the dialogue primarily responsible for creating the student experience.

WG 2: Global Perspectives on Cybersecurity Education

Allen Parrish, Department of Cyber Science, United States Naval Academy Annapolis, MD USA,

John Impagliazzo, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY USA,

Rajendra Raj, Dept. of Computer Science, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY USA,

Henrique Santos, Dept. de Sistemas de Informação, Universidade do Minho Braga, Portugal,

Globally speaking, there is little consensus in the design and implementation of undergraduate cybersecurity education. On the one hand, many cybersecurity programs are specializations of existing computing programs such as computer science with a cybersecurity track. On the other hand, many programs have emerged out of "whole cloth" with names such as cybersecurity, digital forensics, or information assurance. Still other programs have reinterpreted their objectives to be more cybersecurity centric, which is frequently the case with information technology programs.

This working group builds on two earlier works on cybersecurity developed during ITiCSE 2010 and 2011 [1,2] as well as other published material and the experience of the authors. Hence, the primary goal of this working group is to develop a taxonomy of the different approaches to cybersecurity on a worldwide basis and to begin capturing the educational dimensions of the global cybersecurity educational community. The working group will engage in the following activities:

  1. Capture a worldwide set of perspectives on cybersecurity education at the baccalaureate level;
  2. Construct a reference model that relates the various approaches for various dimensions;
  3. Determine a catalog of curricular and knowledge materials that already exist and determine the relationships among these materials by framing them within the reference model;
  4. Determine a set of recommendations for moving forward with global curricular standards for cybersecurity in its various forms.

Professionals who can contribute from a global perspective on the landscape of cybersecurity education will receive priority to become members of this working group.

WG 3: A Review of Novice Programming Research 2003 - 2017

Andrew Luxton-Reilly, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand,

Simon, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia,

A broad review of research on the teaching and learning of programming was conducted by Robins et al. in 2003. Although there have been several reviews of research involving novice programmers since 2003, those reviews have focused on highly specific aspects, such as student misconceptions, teaching approaches, program comprehension, potentially seminal papers, research methods applied, automated feedback for exercises, competency-enhancing games, and program visualisation. There does not appear to have been an all-encompassing review of research into introductory programming since that of Robins et al.

While the aspects listed above are wide-ranging, they clearly do not cover the full scope of research into novice programming. Picking just three further areas almost arbitrarily, we are not aware of a review of research on novice programming assessment, academic integrity in novice programming, or novice student attitudes to programming. It is therefore timely to conduct and present as broad-ranging a review as possible of the area.

The working group will conduct a systematic literature review based on the guidelines proposed by Kitchenham et al. Much of the search, reading, and analysis will be conducted in the months between the formation of the working group and the start of ITiCSE, so that the face-to-face meeting of the group can focus on discussion, synthesis, and writing. This research project is well-suited to an ITiCSE working group as the synthesis and discussion of the literature will benefit from input from a variety of researchers coming from different backgrounds and countries.

WG 4: An International Investigation into Student Concerns regarding Transition into Higher Education

Mark Zarb, School of Computing Science, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland,

The experience of transitioning into and starting higher education is a very individual one, with some students viewing higher education as an unknown entity. Furthermore, in the UK, it is reported that Computer Science suffers from low continuation rates, with 9.8% of first year students reading for a Computer Science degree failing to progress from their first year of study.

Following three years of data collection across Scotland, where over 700 prospective applicants and CS1 students were surveyed, it is clear that students continue to demonstrate concerns regarding topics related to money, jobs and course achievement. The consistency between relative areas of concern over the years is striking, further suggesting that an understanding of these issues might help higher education institutions to better support their incoming students.

We seek a team to conduct a follow up to our study in which we explore which concerns, if any, are reported from this diverse, international student body. Each working group member will administer a pre-prepared survey to participants who are either prospective applicants to a CS programme, or current CS1 students.

Analysis of the gathered data at ITiCSE will help us understand which concerns are most pressing when students are transitioning into CS1. The goal of the working group is therefore to bring together international educators:

WG 5: Cloud Computing: Developing Contemporary Computer Science Curriculum for a Cloud-first Future

Derek Foster, School of Computer Science, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK,

Colm Davey, School of Engineering and Design, Institute of Technology Sligo, Sligo, Ireland,

Laurie White, Google, CA, 94043, USA,

Joshua Adams, School of Business, Saint leo University, San Antonio, FL, 33576, USA,

Cloud Computing has gained significant momentum in the last five years and is regarded as a paradigm shift away from traditional 'silo' based computing. It is no longer seen as a niche area of technology, and offers a significantly diverse range of scalable and redundant service deployment models, including Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service, and Containers-as-a-Service. These models are applied to areas such as IoT, Social Media, Data Science, Media Streaming, Ecommerce, and Health Informatics. The growth in Cloud presents challenges for companies to source expertise that securely supports their business when migrating/deploying services to the Cloud - particularly SMEs with limited resources. The UK Government recently published the 'Digital Skills Strategy 2017' report, identifying skill-set challenges facing industry, with a shortage in Cloud skills negatively impacting business. While Cloud technologies have evolved at significant pace, the development of contemporary Computer Science curriculum in the further and higher education sector has lagged behind. The challenges faced in the sector includes the training of educators, institutional barriers (software and hardware policies), and access to 'pay-as-you-go' Cloud platforms. Collectively these challenges are significant, but not insurmountable. By embedding fundamental Cloud skills throughout the educator and student journey, both stakeholders will be better positioned to understand and practically apply the use of appropriate Cloud services, and will produce graduates that can support the needs of industry. This working group aims to document the current needs of industry in terms of Cloud skill-sets, and develop fundamental Cloud Computing topics for integration with contemporary Computer Science curricula.

WG 6: Modeling Global Competencies for Computing Education

Steve Frezza, Computer & Information Science, Gannon University, Erie, PA,

Arnold Pears, Engineering Education, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden,

Mats Daniels, Dept. of Information Technology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden,

This working group aims to formulate a framework for modeling competencies in the current and future disciplines that contribute towards computing education. The Working Group will draw upon a pioneering curricular document for information technology (IT2017), curricular competency frameworks, other related documents such as the software engineering competency model (SWECOM), the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA), current research in competency models, and elicitation workshop results from other computing conferences.

This work will contribute to the Computing Curricula 2020 (CC2020) project, and includes reviewing and formulating sets of disciplinary-relevant competencies used in computing education. The goal is to develop a comprehensive competency framework, as well as guidelines for modeling competencies in computing education suitable for comparing programs across nationalities and disciplines by enabling comparisons of the competencies intended in each program. Through the working group activities, participants will engage in brainstorming activities to formulate competencies, develop competing frameworks and their scholarly basis, and integrate models and guidelines for enabling the comparison of computing programs.

This work will directly inform the ongoing CC2020 project, an endeavor supported by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the IEEE Computer Society.

WG 7: Taxonomizing features and methods for identifying at-risk students in computing courses

Arto Hellas, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland,

Petri Ihantola, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland,

Andrew Petersen, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, Canada,

Since computing education has been a field, we have sought to learn why students struggle in computer science and how to identify these at-risk students early. Due to the pervasiveness of instrumented coding tools in introductory CS courses, the amount of direct observational data of student working patterns has increased dramatically in the past decade, leading to a flurry of work using data mining techniques on code artifacts to identify at-risk students.

However, this burst of work has lead to a split in the community. Earlier work often the use of attributes and preferences of the students or demographic factors that could be gathered as or before a course began. Much of the recent work eschews these features, focusing instead on data generated in the course.

This working group seeks to connect the the various communities -- including those outside of computing education -- supporting the work of identifying at-risk students. Before the conference, we will identify communities (venues) supporting this work and will generate a list of the keywords used to identify this work across these communities. Then, we will perform a systematic literature review using these keywords. At the conference, we will analyze the resulting body of papers to create a taxonomy based on the types of data sources, methods, and definitions of ``at-risk'' used. We will use this taxonomy to categorize the papers that were found, will identify clusters of work published in different venues, and will highlight opportunities for collaboration, integration, and broader dissemination.

WG 8: The Internet of Things in CS Education: Updating Curricula and Exploring Pedagogy

Barry Burd, Drew University, USA, (Please contact Barry Burd for membership application requests)

Lecia Barker, University of Colorado Boulder, USA,

Monica Divitini, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway,

Felix Armando Fermin Perez, National University of San Marcos, Perú,

Ingrid Russell, University of Hartford, USA,

Bill Siever, Washington University in St. Louis, USA,

Liviana Tudor, Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania,

The importance of the Internet of Things (IoT) in 21st century life is increasing rapidly. In industry, IoT solutions are managing inventories and making manufacturing more efficient. In smart cities, networked devices are helping to regulate traffic and make emergency systems more responsive. In peoples’ homes, devices such as lights and thermostats are able to be monitored and controlled remotely, including operation via cloud-enabled voice control. As the Internet of Things expands in nearly every economic sector, Computer Science educators are increasingly challenged with identifying how to teach IoT in their curricula. Significant challenges include identifying content and scope, partitioning content into courses, and identifying effective delivery approaches, such as the emerging models of experiential learning.

This working group will study and document the current state of IoT education, with particular attention to curricular and pedagogical issues. From early April until the start of the conference, we will interview educators with IoT teaching experience and review the literature to find the useful, well-documented curricular approaches. In our report, we will summarize our findings and make recommendations to help instructors effectively deliver contemporary IoT content.

Although this working group is the continuation of a group formed for ITiCSE 2017, new members are welcome to apply.

WG 9: Promoting the adoption of educational innovations

David P. Bunde, Knox College, Galesburg, IL, USA,

Jaime Spacco, Knox College, Galesburg, IL, USA,

Cynthia Taylor, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA,

Most projects that create educational materials or new approaches to teaching focus on developing and proving effectiveness. For these educational innovations to have impact, however, they must be adopted by other instructors. Obtaining widespread adoption is a significant challenge, and the most popular dissemination techniques (e.g. publications and workshops) are known to be insufficient. While there is a significant body of research on how to propagate educational innovations, most of this literature is from science education rather than CS education, and many CS education researchers are not familiar with it.

This working group will review literature on the propagation of educational innovation, in both CS and science education more broadly. We will also discuss CS-specific issues with adopting innovations, such as customizing materials to different programming languages or needing to meet in a computer lab for some innovations. The goal is for our working group report to serve as a quick reference for those interested in developing and propagating educational innovations.

When applying please discuss your experiences developing, propagating, adopting, or failing to adopt educational innovations. Also, describe your institution, as we are interested in faculty from different types of institutions, as the barriers to adoption of innovations differ by institution type.

Before the conference, participants will attend regular skype meetings and read relevant literature. During the conference, we will discuss the reading to identify best practices for propagation.