ITiCSE, Helsinki, Summer, 2000



PROPOSERS: Dr. Joyce Currie Little and Dr. Mary J. Granger

Dr. Joyce Currie Little is Professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, College of Science and Mathematics, Towson University, Baltimore, Maryland. She has taught computer science and information systems at the college level for over twenty years. She developed and taught computing ethics courses and participated in the NSF funded project IMPACTCS. She has been an active supporter of voluntary certification of computing workforce and serves on the Board of Directors of ICCP representing ACM. She was a member of a working group in Barcelona, Spain and co-chair of a working group in Uppsala, Sweden and Cracow, Poland.

Dr. Joyce Currie Little, Professor
Department of Computer and Information Sciences
Towson University
Towson, Maryland 21252-0001

Phone: 410-830-3783 Fax: 410-830-3868

Email: jclittle@towson.edu

Dr. Mary J. Granger is Associate Professor, Department of Management Science, School of Business, at George Washington University. She has been teaching computer information systems for over a decade. She was a member of a working group in Barcelona, Spain and co-chair of a working group in Uppsala, Sweden and Cracow, Poland

Dr. Mary Granger, Associate Professor
Department of Management Sciences
George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052

Phone: 202-994-7159 Fax: 202-994-9430

Email: granger@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu


C. Dianne Martin, Chair, ACM SIGCAS; Dan McCracken, City University of New York; John Impagliazzo, Chair of the Accreditation Committee, ACM; Shirley M. Malcolm, Program Director, AAAS; Eli Cohen and Betty Boyd, IRMA and ISECON members, on leave to Poland; Joy Teague, Deakin University, Australia; Gayle Yaverbaum, Penn State Harrisburg; Danielle Bernstein, Kean College, New Jersey; Karl Klee, ACM Community College Education Committee, computing services report; Dawn Hendricks, Department of Defense, USA; Mikko J. Ruohonen, University of Tampere, Finland (IFIP WG 3.4 Chair); Diana Juettner (Uppsala groupmate), lawyer; Denise Gurer, formerly SRI International.
Subject: Proposal ITiCSE Working Group, Helsinki



Current opinion from educators teaching Computer Science and Information

Systems curricula suggests a need for graduates going into the workplace to have more understanding of the variety of types of workers, end-users, and customers involved in the development of software. One way to gain an advantage on these interpersonal levels is to educate graduates about gender and cultural issues. It is not enough for graduates to have technical capabilities; they must also work in the real world for real customers and clients. They are expected to be involved with other workers in the workplace, with colleagues in teamwork and teambuilding, and with workers who come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. These multi-cultural and gender related interpersonal skills can make a big difference in the productivity of the workers, and can also make a big difference in the appropriateness of the software product to the customerís needs.

Corroboration of the need for improved workplace knowledge has been stated by industry leaders as well. Many studies of the "industry-academic shortage" point to the dissatisfaction of many corporations with some of the products of academia, and to some of the unique ways international teams of workers are being used for necessary software development. Some of these issues have come to fruition in change to government policies about immigration. Others are concerned with the potential for "sweatshop" labor camps where workers are underpaid and unappreciated. The criticisms of the capabilities of graduates suggest a need for the graduates to have the ability to:

be knowledgeable about the demographics of the workplace, especially as it concerns gender and cultural issues; show awareness of industry trends for cultural differences, especially as it may apply to the use of workers in an immigrant status; understand something about efforts to create successful team building with multi-cultural members; understand trade-offs of gender issues as they apply to team considerations; be considerate of and attentive to the perceptions of the user who may have cultural and gender sensitivities.
Curriculum planners and accreditation advocates have long indicated the importance of including social, ethical, legal, and professional concerns in instruction for majors in CS/IS. Many of these issues are related to gender concerns or technological impact on the mores of the culture. More recently, as speakers have begun to address the entire arena of professionalism and worker responsibility, they have also begun to be concerned with creating an awareness of cultural and gender concerns.

This working group will develop course materials dealing with factual data and research studies on the importance of two major concerns in the computing industry: gender issues and cultural issues. The working group will bring together exercises based on issues such as:

gender topics such as demographics, societal impact, equity issues, women and men in the history of the growth of the IT industry; projections of trends for the increased use of IT in various disciplines and professions and how it affects women; supply/demand of workers & job statistics; job descriptions and responsibilities; corporate legal responsibility and liability; accreditation and certification options for workers;

cultural topics such as differences in the role of women in various countries; societal acceptance of technology for handling applications formerly done by women, such as monitoring of child care and medical services; demographics of various cultures in technology; stages of technological development in third world countries compared to more advanced countries; comparison of scientific literacy, information literacy, and computer literacy in various countries and cultures within countries.

Individuals in the working group will each choose at least two topics to propose, based on their specialized knowledge and interest. They will develop a draft exercise for each topic, suitable to be included in a regular CS/IS course. Each exercise will be based on an established mechanism for delivery in a classroom experience, such as a team assignment, a peer-learning experience, a brainstorming session to emphasize creativity, a debate, or a technology delivery experience. Some of the classroom exercises will be appropriate to distance learning.

These classroom exercises will be documented to facilitate integration into courses, using the format of our prior work (1). Any one of these technologies could be considered for use: audio, video, CD-ROM, DVD, multimedia, computer-based instruction, Internet, etc. The constructivist approach will be emphasized in many of the exercises, to allow the student to learn by doing, with guidance to encourage and enhance creativity and innovation.

At the conclusion of the working group meeting, a final paper will be provided, with the set of at least ten new class exercises to be made available. Faculty should find the exercises helpful to them in bringing these topics of professional responsibility and understanding to their students in regular CS/IS courses.


  1. Granger, Mary and Little, Joyce Currie, et al., Using Information Technology to Integrate Societal and Ethical Issues into the Computer Science and Information Systems Curriculum, A Publication of the Working Groups from the ACM SIGCSE Symposium on Integrating Technology into Computer Science Education, Uppsala Universtet, Sweden, June, 1997, ACM Press, June, 1997.
  2. Impagliazzo, John, et al., History in the Computing Curriculum, Report of the IFIP Joint Task Group (TC-3 and TC-9.7), IFIP, July 1998.
  3. C. Dianne Martin, et al, From Awareness to Action: Integrating Ethics and Social Responsibility across the Computer Science Curriculum, Third Report from the Project ImpactCS Steering Committee, National Science Foundation, August, 1998.
  4. Little, Joyce Currie, The Role of Women in the History of Computing, ISTAS Conference, July 1999.
5. Gurer, Denise W., Pioneering Women in Computer Science, Communications of the ACM, 38, no. 1, January 1995, 45-53.

6. Karen A. Frenkil, Women & Computing, Communications of the ACM, Nov. 1990, 35-46.

End of ITiCSE Helsinki Working Group Proposal/November 1999/