The Center for Inclusive Computing (CIC) at Northeastern University’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences was founded in 2019 by Dr. Carla Brodley. The Center supports computing departments in implementing evidence-based practices to broaden participation in computing. Drs. Sax and Lehman were invited to collaborate with the CIC team to conduct research that builds off our prior work with the BRAID project and generates new knowledge that informs efforts to increase the representation of women and individuals from minoritized groups in computing fields. We are particularly interested in understanding the experiences and pathways of those with intersecting identities, especially women of color. To this end, we plan to gather longitudinal data on students’ experiences in computing departments as a way of understanding their trajectories in computing though college and beyond into careers and graduate school. The first step in this plan is to establish a baseline survey of first- and second-year students enrolled in computing courses at CIC institutions. In the future, we hope to expand our work with CIC to include longitudinal follow-up surveys of these students as well as qualitative components.

Baseline Survey

In Spring 2021, we plan to conduct a baseline survey of first- and second-year students enrolled in computing courses to learn about their experiences at CIC institutions and exposure to “best practices”, including efforts to promote inclusive environments and make introductory computing courses accessible to students without prior computing experience. Focusing on first- and second-year students in any computing course will allow us to gather detailed data on the experiences that promote and discourage students’ recruitment and retention in computing fields, especially for women, women of color, and students from other marginalized groups. The Momentum team has developed a host of student surveys for our previous work that will serve as the basis for the survey instruments we develop for the CIC project. As we will be following students from their first- and second-year in college, we will tailor the survey to the specific experiences unique to first- and second-year students at CIC institutions. Survey items will be drawn from the following categories:

  • Background characteristics (gender, race/ethnicity, SES, etc.)
  • Prior computing experience
  • Perceptions of computing
  • Self-ratings (e.g., self-rated computing ability)
  • Experiences in introductory computing courses
  • Experiences in advanced computing courses
  • College selection process
  • Transition to college

Coming soon!