ITiCSE, Helsinki, Summer, 2000
TOPIC: INTEGRATING GENDER AND CULTURAL ISSUES INTO THE CS/IS CURRICULUM
PRODUCT: A PAPER, AND A SET OF AT LEAST TEN TEACHING EXERCISES
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, Maryland 21252-0001
Phone: 410-830-3783 Fax: 410-830-3868
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
PERSONS WHO MAY BE INTERESTED IN JOINING THIS GROUP:
INTEGRATING GENDER AND CULTURAL ISSUES INTO THE CS/IS CURRICULUM
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:
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:
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.
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.
6. Karen A. Frenkil, Women & Computing, Communications of the ACM, Nov. 1990, 35-46.