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ACM Inroads Reports: The Value Proposition of Distance Education in Computing Programs

September Issue Reports on Growing Demands for Parallel-Programming Skills, the Role of Practical Projects in IS Courses, and How to Broaden Participation in Computer Science

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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NEW YORK – September 10, 2012 – In the wake of recent news announcements that some prestigious universities are adopting online offerings in the computing field, the September issue of ACM Inroads examines the value proposition posed by distance education in this growing field.  Writers Marian Petre of UK’s Open University and Mary Shaw of Carnegie Mellon University analyze the elements that contribute value to traditional undergraduate computer science education.  They conclude that while distance education is breaking the bonds of synchronization of class schedules and geography that govern campus-based institutions, high-quality education still requires substantial investment in personalization, feedback, and networking.

Published quarterly by ACM with support from the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), ACM Inroads offers readers a wide array of education-related articles on computing and its expanding role in how we live and work in the digital world.  The ACM Inroads digital edition was introduced in June.
Other ACM Inroads highlights:

  • June 2012 ACM Inroads special section details the CS Principles Project, part of a national effort at education reform to create more educational opportunities in computing for more students.  The section analyzes five projects that successfully piloted the Computer Science Principles course.
  • Intel's research program director Michal Wrinn describes efforts to accelerate the adoption of parallel computing techniques into undergraduate computing education courses.
  • The essential role of practical projects in Information Systems courses is explained by Heikki Topi of Bentley University. Despite the cost, he argues that the learning processes associated with projects will lead to improved student learning outcomes.
  • Consultant Lisa C. Kaczmarczyk debunks the notion that technology is for people but science is for scientists.  She cites the ability of science to engage students in the ethical and moral challenges of scientific inquiry. 
  • Michael Goldweber of Xavier University examines ways to successfully broaden participation in computing.  He proposes a CS1 first-day activity that presents computer science as an interesting, algorithm-centered, group-work oriented discipline with a high degree of relevance that speaks to students’ values and desires regarding societal impact.  
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha professors Robin Gandhi, Connie Jones, and William Mahoney describe their project to design and introduce a computer security course for broad audiences at the freshman level.

For more information on ACM Inroads, click on .

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.