My compelling question
STEM talent in California is going to Bio and Engineering. How can community colleges stem the tide?
Students arrive with very little knowledge of computer science as a field. Things that work include mentoring, tutoring with approachable peers, culturally-based student support organizations, relevant project-based coursework, classes with students who have similar skill-levels, conferences and paid internships. Students who enter Computer Science without the typical computer geek background can catch up in one year in a nurturing environment.
What I think I know
Community college computer science faculty do not have the time to develop novel project-based coursework nor advertise programs and recruit students who do not see themselves as tech savvy and have little understanding of the computer science field. Programming tutoring is not widely offered. California minquals do not allow for the recruitment of the widest range of programming professionals.
Who am I
I’m an Academic Technologist and faculty member at a community college in Northern California. I get to teach about technology and distance education best practices but my lack of a masters degree in CS means that I cannot teach programming (though I can teach HTML/CSS and application courses). My goals over the next five years include earning a MS from Georgia Tech, completing undergraduate prereqs through Oregon State University, and using KahnAcademy to get through the advanced mathematics coursework I avoided successfully.
I was very inspired by Scott Young’s MIT Challenge and strongly considered that path to improve my skill-set however I believe that I could not create the community college program I have in mind without doing so from the inside. My work was originally inspired by the CSIT-In-3 program at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. One of the leaders of that program, Joe Welch, pointed me towards the work of Joanne Goode and Jane Margolis–their work has become the foundation of my research.
What I’m working on to get there
Programming for Everybody (Python)
8th Grade math (seriously…my last math class was in 97)