Women, Men and the Culture of Computing in the Classroom
How do we attract and retain women in computing? Computing offers attractive, high-paying jobs, yet women drop out of every bend of the educational pipeline. One reason is that men come to university with more experience and exposure to computing than women. They may also more readily accept the computing culture.
What do Sneakers, the Internet, Scott McNealy, Bill Gates and The Net have in common? They are part of the computing culture where culture is defined as the patterns, traits, products and artifacts of a particular period, class or population.
Students at every level must be exposed to more than just the technical facts and techniques of a discipline. They must feel, think and act, not just like students, but like professionals. Teaching the culture of a field is not just necessary in computing. All fields have a culture, a set of norms, a non academic literature found in popular magazines, newspaper columns, best-selling books, movies, TV and even jokes. But the problem appears to be more acute in computing where personal and academic computing tend to merge. In particular, computing is different from other majors in that so much of it is learned outside the formal classroom setting.
In this seminar, we will discuss the following:
1. How and why does this outside knowledge differ between the sexes?
2. How does it affect students in their classwork?
3. Where and how do students learn this stuff anyway?
4. How does an instructor bring the culture of a specific field into the curriculum?
People in other scientific disciplines are also encouraged to attend.
1.00 pm, Thursday 3 June in Commerce 2.22