Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day 2009

Well, today is Ada Lovelace Day, arguably the first programmer, certainly one of the first to appreciate the potential of algorithms -- I was able to note her contributions briefly in my song about the World of Computing, complete lyrics and recording here:

... Ada Lovelace understood
That Babbage's machine was good ...

Anyway, we were all asked by Barbara Boucher Owens, current president of SIGCSE and role model for women in computing in her own right, to post a blog entry about a role model for women in computing.

That's easy -- especially when I think back on the success, and the skill and effort needed, for SIGCSE 2008, my choice for Ada Lovelace Mentor would be Susan Rodger, Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at Duke University (photo right).

Susan and I co-chaired SIGCSE 2008, so I have worked with her often remotely but consistently throughout 2007 and the start of 2008. Her "pleasant persistence" resulted in many contributions to SIGCSE 2008, including new corporate supporters, a day care center/kid's camp, conference bags, and even SIGCSE cookies.

Susan's contributions to computing education are many, including
Personally, Susan possesses the temperament and drive needed by anyone to succeed in any profession, yet is very approachable and willing to mentor.

Thanks for the chance to promote my former co-chair's (and current friend) accomplishments for Ada Lovelace Day, as well as embarrass her I'm sure :-) -- JD

Friday, March 20, 2009

Enrollments up, but ...

Wow, here's a NY Times article that notes the recent trends in computing enrollments show some positive news, increasing -- there are some observations about reasons, including Eric Roberts point about the receding competition from the financial industry.

But it was not all good news, especially considering the mission of this blog; from the article:

The study, which for the first time included data from schools of information, indicated that diversity in computer science programs continued to remain poor. For example, the fraction of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women remained steady at 11.8 percent in 2008.

Our work continues.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

... onto SIGCSE 2009

Well, it's now officially been a year (actually just less :-) since SIGCSE 2008, and I am hopeful that the NE weather will cooperate so I can attend SIGCSE 2009 this coming week -- I am assuming that the steering committee people are already en route if not already there.

SIGCSE 2009 has a neat theme/play on words, "engaging CS education" which is always a goal(s) -- I also hope that diversity and accessibility are included in there too, and hope discussions continue in that vein as well.

Finally, a quick look at how assistive technologies can be made that help all students, not just the ones with disabilities (the term I mentally substitute as I read their story every time I see the phrase "disabled") -- accessibility is one of the main reasons I support courses with online materials (as well as backup when people lose paper or files) -- see you in Chattanooga! -- JD