March 2017 Update

Finishing up my first year in the EPET program as a hybrid student, which seemed like a good time to review the status of my work at both Purdue and MSU.

Purdue K-12 Outreach – This year has been a fulfilling one, not without its challenges. At Purdue, our outreach program is focused on improving the quality of the educational experience for students in the state of Indiana and the greater-Chicago region. This can be done through work directly with students, which I do with my two service learning groups (“Reach Out for Computer Science” – ROCS; “Mentors for Aspiring Girls in Computing” – MAGIC). It can be accomplished by working with teachers, and I’m an active part of the leadership of the Indiana Hoosier-Heartland chapter of the CSTA. Lastly, we’ve engaged in a number of statewide efforts to help improve the opportunities that students have, in particular through direct interaction with the Indiana Department of Education, an ongoing effort with the Extending Computer Education Pathways (ECEP) project, and with business partnerships like the one we have with Nextech. In addressing K-12 computing education in 2016-17, I’ve been active in all three of those realms and we’ve made some definite progress. Our outreach group at Purdue has gone through a leadership transition, and so we’ll see how this changes our direction going into the Summer and Fall of 2017.

MSU EPET –¬†Following up on our first two summer courses, I have now completed my first graduate-level statistics course, and am nearly completed with a proseminar in education technology. The stats class left a lot to be desired, but I did gain some valuable training using SPSS and was able to help my cohort to work through the material in the absence of an engaged instructor. As a follow-up, my colleague Bret Staudt Willet and I took an R programming course from Johns Hopkins university via the Coursera online platform. My experience in the ed tech course has been much better, and I have really enjoyed the opportunity to explore the breadth of topics included in this wide-ranging field. In particular, it has been really interesting to see how some of the computer science education researchers that I admire so greatly have fit into this conversation. Seymour Papert, Eliot Solloway (my former professor at the University of Michigan), and even Alan Turing have been a part of a number of papers that we’ve discussed during the course. On a final note, I’m on to my second attempt at my practicum study. The first was well-designed, but failed to get the volume of data that was needed to make useful inferences. I have now invested myself in exploring self-regulation and its relationship to online learning success in computer science which I hope will have a big impact on my own online course.

Personal – Just one note here, which is that my wife, Gina McGovern, and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary on June 21st, 2017. Her support in my academic and professional pursuits have been extremely meaningful to me. Here’s to the next 10 years and beyond!