Search
Close this search box.
Categories
Educational project

Initiatives to improve recruitment and retention of IT students

Project type: Explore Project

Initiatives to improve recruitment and retention of IT students

Denmark needs more IT specialists. But how do we get more young people to study computer science and become IT specialist? This project, consisting of two subprojects, focuses on initiatives that can improve both recruitment and retention of a larger but also more diverse group of young people e.g., female students and students without prior programming experience.

Diversity or Not: Heterogeneous vs Homogeneous study groups
Summary

The first subproject Diversity or Not: Heterogeneous vs Homogeneous Student Groups? will study the effect of diversity on the formation of CS student groups. The intent is to uncover evidence to issue recommendations on how to best form project groups. We expect this knowledge to be beneficial for the recruitment and retention of students as well as for the diversity of students.

Value Creation

We expect the outcomes of this project will create significant value for primarily the Danish universities, but also for the Danish tech industry (technology companies). The project intends to derive research-based recommendations on how to best form (student) project groups. Since group work is so widespread in Computer Science education in all of Denmark to foster communication and collaboration skills in connection with a problem, it is important to figure out what works best. This will strengthen the CS education in Denmark. 

Studying the impact of diversity on project groups will also be important as a proxy for professional groups in a work context, beyond university (with the obvious external threats to validity of this generalization). We expect this knowledge to be beneficial for the recruitment and retention of students as well as for the diversity of the students (e.g., female students and students without prior programming experience). Aside from the experiments themselves and their findings, we intend to also create and publsh (and seek independent generic approval of) generic experimental protocols for how to ethically and responsibly conduct such group diversity-performance experiments. This includes how to quantify group diversity and group performance. We imagine these generic experimental protocols would be relevant for other studies and companies seeking to specialize them in order to conduct their own more specific instances of the experiments. This also includes ethical considerations surrounding similar student experiments and how to make them ethically safe(r)

D-Pop – A Danish Annual Programming and Problemsolving Event

Summary

The second subproject D-Pop – A Danish Annual Programming and Problem Solving Event will plan, organize, and implement physical D-Pop events at Danish CS departments aimed at young people who are beginning programmers at all levels. The participants get increased programming skills and another perspective on programming and problem solving because focus is on collaboration, creativity, and curiosity.

We expect the events to have a positive effect on recruitment and retention of students as well as for the diversity of students.

Value Creation

The expected results of D-Pop are: 

1. Dramatically increased programming skills among participants. This is the expected outcome of just participating, akin to training in any other skill, and includes improved programming language mastery, problem solving skills, resilience, collaboration skills, debugging, and computational problem solving (in particular, algorithmic thinking). This competence boost is independent of the rung of the competence ladder on which the participant starts. I don’t need to reiterate the problems with recruitment of technically competent IT professionals in Denmark. 

2. Increased exposure and recruitment. D-Pop complements the existing pallette of outreach and recruitment activities currently used by Danish CS departments. Compared with similar events, D-Pop content is designed with a focus on immediate, satisfying, and positive feedback to beginning programmers, but in a way that is both honest and values competence, agency, and collaboration. Scalability is built into D-Pop’s infrastructure (both technical and social from the start. 

3. Establishment of a national network of problem setters. The value of this extends beyond D-Pop and immediately includes teaching material for high schools and universities. For another example, the Danish High School Informatics Olympiad (Dansk datalogidyst, of which Thore is a founding steering committee member) is in many aspects an opposite of D-Pop: it is individual, highly competitive, participation is restricted. However, the requirements to the network of people needed to “make DDD work” is identical to that of D-Pop. We are very far behind in Denmark on this compared to our Nordic neighbours. (Not to speak of other countries, where these activities are multi-million dollar industries.) 

Participants

Project Manager - project 1

Claus Brabrand

Professor

IT University of Copenhagen
Department of Computer Science

E: brabrand@itu.dk

Project Manager - project 2

Thore Husfeldt

Professor

IT University of Copenhagen
Department of Computer Science

E: thore@itu.dk

Jacob Nørbjerg

Associate Professor

Copenhagen Business School
Department of Digitalization

Samuel Alberg Thrysøe

Associate Professor

Aarhus University
Department of Computer Science

Louise Barkhuus

Professor

IT University of Copenhagen
Department of Computer Science

Kim Normann Andersen

Professor

Copenhagen Business School
Department of Digitalization

Categories
Educational project

Software Infrastructures for Teaching at Scale

Project type: Educational Project

Software Infrastructures for Teaching at Scale

To teach many recent topics within digital technology at scale requires proper software infrastructures to support the teaching for lab exercises and projects. Some of these topics are data-driven systems, AI and cloud computing. Commercial providers are offering cloud computing and AI resources, however, in many situations these are ill fit for teaching activities as they are complex for early learners, are problematic due to GDPR, make teaching material obsolete by rapidly changing their UIs and when scaled add a significant cost. Therefore, there is an unmet need for better cloud-like infrastructures which can host sandbox software and datasets for teaching to improve onboarding and retention of students.

The universities have or are building new computing resources for research and teaching. So far, the primary focus has been on research in the form of e-science initiatives (e.g. SDU e-Science Center UCloud or AAU CLAUDIA) or e-infrastructure (e.g. DEIC) providing services with a general focus on all sciences. However, there is a need to complement or customise these services with offers for teaching in digital technologies. The aim is to improve the Danish software infrastructure for teaching in digital technologies by coordinating cross-institutional development of software infrastructure for teaching including software toolkits, access to data sandboxes and access to the Danish national DeiC Type1 HPC for educational cloud computing.

The aim is to improve onboarding and retention of students result in an ability to teach more students and lower dropout rates.

February 1, 2021 – January 31, 2023 – 2 years.

Total budget DKK 5,63 million / DIREC investment DKK 0,88 million

Participants

Project Manager

Ulrik Nyman

Associate Professor

Aalborg University
Department of Computer Science

E: ulrik@cs.aau.dk

Project Manager

Jakob Lykke Andersen

Associate Professor

University of Southern Denmark
Department ofMathematics and Computer Science

E: jlandersen@imada.sdu.dk

Partners

Categories
Educational project

Learning Technology for Improving Teaching Quality at Scale

Project type: Educational Project

Learning Technology for Improving Teaching Quality at Scale

Teaching quality and student feedback is negatively impacted by lack of teachers and many students. There is a need to consider how learning technologies can help improve teaching quality and student feedback both in physical and digital learning environments. The resources for teaching at universities are being reduced and we experience challenges in current technology such as MOOCs (which is at scale).

Within the educational programs digital learning tools have been developed and utilised for many years, e.g. for video lectures, automated correction of exercises, and automated multiple-choice exams etc. However, it does not substitute direct teacher-to-student supervision and the need for teachers to constantly develop existing and new courses to meet the standards.

Scale teaching methods for both physical and digital teaching environments to higher number of students via digital learning technology and a combination of face2face learning, student driven learning and digital learning technology.

Increasing the teaching quality at scale with learning technology will enable educational programs to educate more students and improve retention.

February 1, 2021 – January 31, 2023 – 2 years.

Total budget DKK 5,52 million / DIREC investment DKK 0,84 million

Participants

Project Manager

Md Saifuddin Khalid

Associate Professor

Technical University of Denmark
DTU Compute

E: skhalid@sdu.dk

Niels Aske Lundtorp Olsen

Assistant Professor

Technical University of Denmark
DTU Compute

Partners

Categories
Educational project

Supporting Diversity via inclusive Teaching/Learning Activities

Project type: Educational Project

Supporting Diversity via inclusive Teaching/Learning Activities

The mix of students in digital technology is low in diversity (e.g. female students). This is a problem on a societal level which also impacts the study environment.

The partners have already implemented a range of initiatives to address the problem. ITU has several initiatives targeting both recruitment, onboarding, and retention of female students. In the project “Øget diversitet på de teknisk-naturvidenskabelige it-uddannelser” lead by It-vest, the three universities AU, AAU, and SDU are collaborating to implement new initiatives.

Establish inclusive teaching/learning activities that support diversity; e.g., by supporting recruitment, onboarding, and retention of female students. The initiatives will take inspiration from established programs (e.g., Boot-IT & IT-Camp at ITU, Open Innovation X, HealthTech), but – as a unique element – favor scenarios and domains with a stronger appeal to women as well as emphasize inclusion, interaction, and collaboration over competition.

Increase the diversity of students in the educational programmes.

January 1, 2021 – January 31, 2023 – 2 years.

Total budget DKK 6,77 million / DIREC investment DKK 1,01 million

Participants

Project Manager

Claus Brabrand

Professor

IT University of Copenhagen
Department of Computer Science

E: brabrand.itu.dk

Bjørn Hjort Westh

Research Assistant

IT University of Copenhagen
Department of Computer Science

Aisha Umair

Associate Professor

University of Southern Denmark
The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute

Partners