The second invited talk opened the second day of Informatics Education Europe IV in Freiburg, Germany. Hans-Urlich Heiss of EQANIE and Technical University Berlin spoke on the issues of accreditation of informatics degrees in Europe. He said that one of the goals of the Bologna Accord is to enable mobility, both to enable courses and degrees to be carried between institutions and to smooth connections between early and later degrees. Mobility is enabled by trust, which is enabled by quality assurance, which is enabled by accreditation. EQANIE is accrediting the accrediting organizations, to establish standards for computing education across Europe.
The next talks were on increasing enrollment. Jonathan Black presented CS4Fun (http://www.cs4fn.org/) and its evaluation. The philosophy of the project is "If you excite interest, recruitment takes care of itself." Jonathan did a magic trick with cards, that could be explained in terms of invariants and modulo arithmetic. Rainer Herpers of Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University presented a study of how self-perception influenced choice of study. They are drawing on Carol Dweck's work on self theories of intelligence, to explain how students self-perception is influencing success in informatics classes. Rainer has been attempting to change his classes to make them more gender diverse.
Three papers looked at efforts in high schools and use of distance technologies.
Bev Bachmayer of Intel presented the corporate supporter talk, which focused on the question "First year CS Students: Do they really need to think parallel?" Her answer was "Yes," and she presented data that suggests that today, only about 4% of computing students worldwide are learning to program in parallel. The discussion afterward focused on the need for better abstraction models, so that programming parallel meshes with modern architecture and the way that students think parallel.
The last two talks were on interdisciplinarity. Gitta Domik of University of Paderborn presented an interdisciplinary collaboarative visualization course. Why visualization? Because CS students, she found, have too little experience dealing with interdisciplinarity, and the interesting issues come to the fore when the CS students have to answer the question, "Why should I trust YOUR picture of MY data?" Amos Olagunju of St. Cloud State University described the design of their interdisciplinary MS degree in Information Assurance.
While people were dragging a bit by the end, the discussions were still lively and challenging. While the days were cold and gray in Freiburg, the audience remained focus on trying to make computing education better. My thanks to the organizers at University of Freiburg for a productive and interesting conference.
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