Where are the CSE programs?

About a week ago (although it was before Sandy and seems like a year ago), I asked one of our GAs and to compile a list of graduate programs that focus on Computer Science Education or Teaching Computer Science; programs that prepare people to teach Computer Science in K-12 schools. I’m thinking that Adelphi should offer a degree with this focus. I knew that we would be the first in the region, but I didn’t expect the options to be so limited, nationwide.

ISTE imagines “digital age computer science teaching.”© ISTE

Pretty much every school of education in the country has degrees in “English Education” or “Math Education.” Typically they certify teachers to teach those subjects in Middle School and High School. I also know that it is a concern among educators and computer scientists that there is no consistent way of preparing teacher to teach computer science. Often high school computer science courses are taught by Math teachers, with a focus on preparing students for the AP Computer Science exams.

Lack of structure and standards for preparing CS teachers has been a known issue for years now, and, I figured, with all of the hype around STEM education, there would be a whole crop of new degrees focused on how to teach computer science effectively.

I was wrong. My assistant turned up a lot of articles about the problem, but couldn’t find any programs that offered a degree or certificate in Teaching Computer Science (or related). I decided to ask around on Twitter. Thankfully, (since my own meagre followers are mostly useless, no offence followers) Audrey Watters re-tweeted my request.

What I learned, is there is not much out there. An expert in the field, Mark Guzdial from Georgia Tech, suggested to look outside of the U.S. for good examples. He suggested Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, which offers a graduate degree in STEM education with this focus.

Another link on Guzdial’s blog led me to the Purdue Computer Science Teaching Supplemental Licensure Program. This license prepares education majors (undergrads, it looks like) to teach secondary computer science. While I commend them for their innovative CSE Methods Course, almost all of the courses are CS domain courses, with only the one methods course and a practicum that look at CS Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). By comparison, the Adelphi Mathematics Education graduate program has 6 PCK courses.

Erik Poole ‏@evpoole and Guzdial pointed me to Nova Southeastern University’s online only Ed.S. (post-masters) degree in Computer Science Education. Unlike the Purdue program, Nova’s 36 credit plan of study has several CSE specific courses, such as “Current Research in Computer Science Education and Technology Systems,” “Computer Science Learning Facilities Design and Maintenance,” and “Survey of Programming Languages for Computer Science Educators.”

The NCATE site has a searchable database of programs. The following schools are listed as having accredited programs in Secondary Computer Science Education, as specified by the ISTE standards (NETS CSE):

  1. Nova Southeastern University, Florida
  2. DePaul University, Illinois
  3. Eastern Michigan University, Michigan
  4. St. John Fisher College, New York
  5. John Carroll University, Ohio
  6. Ohio University, Ohio
  7. University of Cincinnati, Ohio
  8. University of Houston, Texas

A cursory look at these program indicates that at least some of them do not focus on Computer Science Education (although they may cover the ISTE content in other courses). In the next week or so I will have a chance to look at these programs in more detail and will write up a concise summary.

In the meantime, if you have comments or tips on where to look (I haven’t looked into international programs yet), please leave them here.

6 thoughts on “Where are the CSE programs?

  1. A recent report by the Royal Society also found that computer education in English schools was “highly unsatisfactory” and highlighted a shortage of teachers capable of teaching computer science with only 35% of England’s ICT teachers being subject specialists.

  2. Pingback: Where are the graduate CS Education programs? « Computing Education Blog

  3. Hi Matt. I’m an University Professor in Venezuela. I hold a degree in Systems Engineering and I got my teaching diploma a few years ago. After working several years in the business sector as a programmer, now I teach at the most important pedagogical university of my country (we are exclusively pedagogical). We do have a program that graduates Teachers specialized in IT. We are now teaching 3 subjects that have to do with algorithms and 2 more about web programming, but I have to say that we don’t teach them with the necessary depth because some of the teachers don’t know the subject very well (they are not programmers themselves and they really think they should be) and students are just afraid of it. But right now we are working on changing the whole curricula to introduce new subjects and transform old ones. We are seeking to introduce at least 3 subjects about computational thinking and subjects related to teaching CS. I stumbled with your blog while investigating about the whole subject of teaching programs. I think it would be interesting to share experiences!

  4. Hola Vanessa. Gracias por escribirme!

    I would be very interested in hearing more about your program– what you’re teaching now, what changes you are planning to make, and, also, what types of jobs your graduates look for. Is there a strong CS or Engineering emphasis in Venezuelan schools?

    I met with some of our Computer Science faculty on Monday to discuss what courses/experiences should be included in such a degree. Once we write something up, I will share it here and email you.

  5. Hi Matt. Right now we are working with a program that does not have anything to do with reality. It was design a few years ago by engineers that didn’t quite understand what to do different in a pedagogical approach. So we ended up with subjects like Data Structures and Programming I, II and III, programming languages I and II, Telecommunications and Networks, Systems Analysis and Design, Operating Systems and so. We now have a bunch of subjects that have to do and are taught from an engineering point of view so we ended up with teachers (most of them engineers like me) teaching whatever they think they should teach under those subjects’ names, students leaving college or changing programs in such a frustration and those who stay struggle with those subjects with hope that someday it’s going to get better!

    Since we are now in a process of transformation and actualization of every program in our university, I have found the opportunity to change all that and I’ve been working with another professor to fight that engineer mind and transforming it to a more pedagogical point of view, so we can get a program adapted to reality and totally involved with the context of school, teaching and technology. The thing is that our University is expanded all over the country so we have to work along a really big group of teachers, so we hope to make them understand the changes we (my colleague and me) are proposing because we fell that they are still stuck in that engineered point of view, which is not bad but it doesn’t correspond with what needs to be taught in schools in computer science. I must point out that nowadays CS is not mandatory in the national curricula, but that is another conversation!!!

    Right now we are teaching:
    • Introduction to informatics
    • Data Structures and Programming I, II and III (It’s supposed to be algorithms but we have teachers teaching C++ for example)
    • Programming Languages I, II (They ended up teaching HTML)
    • Databases
    • Operating Systems
    • Analysis and design of Systems
    • Information Systems
    • Methodology for teaching informatics
    Those are mandatory. We have some optional like:
    • Networks and telematics
    • Administration of informatics facilities
    • Advanced Methodology for teaching informatics

    Since computer science is not mandatory in school, not all of our students can get jobs teaching in classrooms, some of them end up doing something else like working in offices or opening up their own business. I have to address that most of our students choose the computer program because they couldn’t get into the engineering faculty (most of our universities are public where they don’t pay anything so we have few new spots every year and the private ones are too expensive) or they feel that it’s a easy program because they think, they only will learn how to teach the use of computers. We do not have a strong CS or Engineering emphasis in Venezuelan schools but we do have students really interested in getting into the engineering field.

    So we feel that it’s a long path to walk because it means changing the way we educate in this country. It’s not going to be any easy but we are up to the task!!

    We are still working in our proposal. We hope to finish it this week and I will send it to you as soon as it is ready!!

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