CCSC Southwest Region Conference 2017

March 24-25, 2017

NSF’s Big Ideas and Implications for Research Date: Friday, March 24, 2017
Time: 2:00pm
Stephanie E. August, National Science Foundation Dr. Stephanie August

Cyborgs, pervasive computing, machines as humans – what are the implications of our rapidly evolving human-technology interface for science, education, work, and society? National Science Foundation Director France Córdova has announced an ambitious research agenda focusing on a set of Big Ideas related to both research and process that are expected to lead to transformative discoveries and build on work currently underway within the foundation [1]. Córdova is counting on educators and scientists to submit ambitious grant proposals that move beyond the comfort zone of projects with guaranteed success exploring familiar topics, to uncover and answer the questions that are sensed or implied by recent technological advances, but which have not yet been articulated. How do the ideas fit within and build upon existing NSF programs? What will PIs need to address to receive funding? This talk will map a subset of the Big Idea themes to research questions, objectives, and activities and walk through the pipeline of education research [2] that guides successful STEM education projects.

[1] Mervis, J., NSF director unveils big ideas, Science, 352 (6287), 755-756, 13 May 2016. DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6287.755.

[2] Institute of Education Sciences and National Science Foundation. Common guidelines for education research and development. 2013.


Stephanie E. August is a Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation. She is a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Seaver College of Science and Engineering, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. Prior to LMU she was a staff engineer at Hughes Aircraft Company and a copy cataloger. Stephanie has served as department director of graduate studies and special assistant to the chief academic officer for graduate studies at LMU. She is interested in online interactive digital learning environments and infusing other disciplines with computing concepts and has taught courses such as English+graphics+computing, animation+computing, and English composition+computing. She is also interested in computational models of reasoning by analogy and exploring the boundaries between people and machines. She received her B.A. in Slavic Languages and M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science, all from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Design at Large: real-world, large scale, and sometimes disruptive Date: Friday, March 24, 2017
Time: 6:00pm
Scott Klemmer, Associate Professor, UCSD Design Lab; Leading Coursera Interaction Design Specialization Dr. Scott Klemmer
In recent years, my group—and probably many of you—have experienced a dramatically-increased ability to do Design at Large: creating research that is widely used by real people and learning a ton from the experience. One shift that happens when we move from designing artifacts in the lab to designing experiences at large is that inevitably, what we end up studying are complex sociotechnical systems. A lot of the behavior is emergent, and sometimes completely unexpected. The successes in this new world are tremendously exciting, but like all creative endeavors, there are lots of failures. One contributing factor is that designers often receive guidance that’s based on faith rather than insight. We may be able to do better by building up a body of knowledge through design at large. In this talk, I’ll try and distill some insights into this shift, with a focus on learning at scale. I’ll draw on examples from research from my group and others, as well as my students and colleagues experiences with startups.

Scott is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science & Engineering at UC San Diego, where he is a co-founder and co-director of the Design Lab. He previously served as Associate Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, where he co-directed the HCI Group, held the Bredt Faculty Scholar chair, and was a founding participant in the He has a dual BA in Art-Semiotics and Computer Science from Brown (with Graphic Design work at RISD), and a PhD in CS from Berkeley. His former graduate students are leading professors (at Berkeley, CMU, UCSD, & UIUC), researchers (Google & Adobe), founders (including Instagram & Pulse), social entrepreneurs, and engineers. He helped introduce peer assessment to online education, and created the first such online course. More than 200,000 have signed up for his interaction design class & specialization. He has been awarded the Katayanagi Emerging Leadership Prize, Sloan Fellowship, NSF CAREER award, and Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship. Nine of his papers were awarded best paper or honorable mention at top HCI venues. He is on the editorial board of HCI and TOCHI; was program co-chair for UIST, the CHI systems area, and HCIC; and serves on the Learning at Scale steering committee. He advises university design programs globally. Organizations worldwide use his group’s open-source design tools and curricula.

Developing Educational Software and Coding Curriculum for Underserved Kids Under 13 Date: Saturday, March 25, 2017
Time: 2:00pm
Dr. Sarah Esper Guthals, Independent Contractor at GitHub Dr. Sarah Esper Guthals
With a new computer science and coding initiatives sweeping the nation, there are two groups of students who are sometimes left out: minorities (racial and gender) and young children. The National Science Foundation began a movement, "CS For All", and they are dedicated to making sure that "for all" includes everyone - it means that everyone should have the opportunity to learn computer science. There are many software applications and curriculums that engage high school students, and some for middle school students, however elementary aged students typically only have access if their schools or parents can afford additional after school programs, or if their parents have knowledge of the subject. Additionally, children who are under 13 are often excluded from free, online resources because they require email addresses, credit cards, and parental supervision. My goal is to ensure that kids who are under 13, who attend lower-income public schools, and whose parents do not have jobs in tech can still have access to effective resources.

Sarah Guthals (née Esper) is a social software engineer and entrepreneur that focuses her life on providing access to high quality computer science education to kids everywhere. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California, San Diego in 2010, 2012, and 2014 respectively. Her thesis work focused on improving the learning environments for K-16 students learning computer science and engineering. With an immigrant single-mother who is a 4th grade teacher, Sarah has experienced a low-income upbringing focused on learning and education. Her life has given her the dedication and inspiration to design products, software, and companies that focus on kids like her.

Sarah co-founded ThoughtSTEM, co-created LearnToMod and CodeSpells, and wrote many books for kids around creating digital artifacts, with and without code. In 2016 she was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science for her work in Computer Science Education. Under her new consulting company, We Can, Sarah works with companies like GitHub and institutions like UCSD to improve the learning experience for young children to get involved in computer science and engineering. She continues to work on developing courses, resources, and software to teach teachers how to teach computer science in K-12 schools, and she promotes the next generation of builders through books, videos, and mentoring.

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Thanks to our National Partners:
- Turing's Craft
- Information Networking Institute: Carnegie Mellon University
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