ACM SIG Computer Science Education Technical Symposium 2024

March 20 – 23 | Portland

Georgia Tech’s research at SIGCSE covers a wide range of topics in computer science education and showcases our experts’ innovations in solving complex problems.

The SIGCSE Technical Symposium addresses problems common among educators working to develop, implement and/or evaluate computing programs, curricula, and courses. The symposium provides a forum for sharing new ideas for syllabi, laboratories, and other elements of teaching and pedagogy, at all levels of instruction. It also offers a diverse selection of technical sessions and opportunities for learning and interaction.


Georgia Tech at SIGCSE 2024

Georgia Tech is a leading contributor to SIGCSE 2024, a research venue focused on computer science education and massive online learning.

GT research is included in the workshop, poster, and paper programs and represents a broad range of topics. Some topics include ethics training, active learning at scale, the role of Black women teaching CS, building teaching assistant programs, and computational thinking with music.

Partner Organizations

Brown University • Colby College • Emory University • Jackson State University • Marquette University • Michigan State University • New York University • North Carolina State University • Northeastern University • PLR Consulting • Purdue University • SageFox Consulting Group • Spelman College • Stanford University • The University of Texas at Austin • University of Colorado Boulder • University of Connecticut • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign • University of Maryland • University of Michigan • University of Virginia • University of Washington • University of Wisconsin-Stout • Virginia Tech

Georgia Tech Authors

Researchers work in teams of all sizes and on multiple teams with different specialties. Listed alphabetically are Georgia Tech’s authors in the main program with their team members.


Jason Borenstein

Director of Graduate Research Ethics Programs, Public Policy

Pedro Guillermo Feijóo-García

Lecturer, Computing Instruction

Kellyann Fitzpatrick

Research Associate II, Computing Instruction

Jason Freeman

Professor, Music

Stephen Garrett

Research Scientist, Music

Mary Hudachek-Buswell

Associate Chair, Computing Instruction

Eric Ianni

Lecturer, Online Master of Science in CS

Melinda McDaniel

Senior Lecturer, Computing Instruction

Fisayo Omojokun

Chair, Computing Instruction

Tamara Pearson

Senior Director of Research and Programs, Constellations Center for Equity in Computing

B. Aditya Prakash

Associate Professor, Computational Science and Engineering

Nimisha Roy

Lecturer, Computing Instruction, Online Master of Science in CS

Ana Rusch

Associate Director of Inclusive Excellence, Online Master of Science in CS

Judith Uchidiuno

Assistant Professor, Interactive Computing

Ellen Zegura

Professor, Computer Science


Increasing Access to CS Instruction in Low-Income Afterschool Settings

Jared Ordona Lim, Georgia Institute of Technology; Grace Barkhuff, Georgia Institute of Technology; Judith Uchidiuno, Georgia Institute of Technology

Afterschool programs routinely provide or supplement Computer Science (CS) education to K-12 students in the United States. However, such opportunities are rarely available to students from low-income communities due to limited computing resources and CS instructors. One strategy for increasing access to instructors in such settings is to train afterschool staff to teach CS to students in their programs. To investigate the viability of this approach, we recruited and trained three afterschool staff with little prior computing experience to teach their students block programming. We analyzed data from teaching observations and survey-based teaching reflections to understand high-level challenges to this strategy. We found that instructors internalized students’ successes and failures as reflections of their own CS teaching ability, and they sometimes struggled to adapt the structured teaching materials to the informal nature of afterschool programs. We reflect on the consequences of these insights and suggest strategies to increase access to CS instructors in low-income afterschool settings.

Integrating Topics from Computational Epidemiology into Computer Science CoursesONLINE ONLY

Baltazar Espinoza, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Lenwood Heath, Virginia Tech; Natarajan Meghanathan, Jackson State University; B. Aditya Prakash, Georgia Tech; S. S. Ravi, University of Virginia; Aravind Srinivasan, University of Maryland

COVID-19 has brought out the need for and the benefits of computational approaches to forecast and control epidemics. While computer science researchers and advanced graduate students are pursuing research in Computational Epidemiology, the topic has not received much attention from the perspective of Computer Science education. This SIGCSE 2024 affiliated event will provide an overview of the topic of Computational Epidemiology and discuss how computer science techniques are useful in the study of epidemics. It will point out how various subtopics in Computational Epidemiology can be integrated into Computer Science courses at undergraduate and graduate levels. The presenters will also discuss how models and techniques developed in the context of epidemics can be used to study other contagion phenomena (e.g., social behavior, financial contagions, political unrest) propagating over networks. In addition, the discussion will provide pointers to educational materials and software tools that will be useful to instructors who plan to develop new courses (or modules) on Computational Epidemiology and related topics.

Additional information can be found here:

Please register for this event using this link:

An Ethical Imperative: Increasing the Participation of Black Women in Computer Science Education ResearchHYBRID

Tamara Pearson, Georgia Institute of Technology; Stefanie Marshall, Michigan State University; Yolanda Rankin, Emory University; Mia Shaw, New York University

Enhanced participation of Black women in CS education research is of ethical imperative, and empowering individuals who would otherwise not be able to fully engage in this community improves the quality of research and increases our national potential to solve real-world problems. We posit that the lack of participation of Black women in CS education research is not due to a lack of interest or expertise, but instead is another example of the continued marginalization of Black women that exists throughout our society. This panel of Black women scholars will share (1) their unique experiences and perspectives as Black women in the field of CS education, (2) the barriers Black women encounter in CS education research, and (3) existing and potential support mechanisms that enable Black women to more fully engage in the CS education research community.

Building Community for Graduate Students in CS Education Research

Tamara Nelson-Fromm, University of Michigan; Grace Barkhuff, Georgia Institute of Technology; Jayne Everson, University of Washington; Morgan Fong, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Elijah Rivera, Brown University

In this Birds of a Feather (BoF) session, we aim to foster a safe and open environment that allows CS education (CSEd) graduate students to share about their graduate experiences and learn from each other about graduate school, conducting research, and navigating the inherently multi-disciplinary space of CSEd. We have two main goals: (1) create specific networking opportunities between CSEd graduate students attending SIGCSE TS (hereafter just “SIGCSE”) in order to foster a community of support, and (2) elicit discussions on the triumphs and tribulations that come as part of being a CSEd-focused graduate student. We plan for all attendees to leave our session with connections to fellow CSEd graduate students from other institutions (through email and a dedicated Slack) and a greater awareness of the community available to them within CS education research.

Can We Build an Excellent Undergraduate TA Program? Fostering Collaboration and Developing Best Practices

Melinda McDaniel, Georgia Institute of Technology; Fisayo Omojokun, Georgia Institute of Technology; Mary Hudachek-Buswell, Georgia Institute of Technology

As the number of students taking Computer Science courses continues to rise, the need for excellent Teaching Assistants (TAs), becomes increasingly important. In response, numerous CS departments have turned to their expanding pool of undergraduate students to recruit Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UTAs) to fulfill these vital roles. These Undergraduate Teaching Assistants (UTAs) not only provide help with grading, but are responsible for development of course materials, running lab sections, and mentoring both students and newly hired UTAs. Ultimately, UTAs have a major role in affecting course climate, with a particular emphasis on fostering inclusivity, especially for underrepresented student populations. Computer Science departments struggle with the challenges of finding, hiring, and training large numbers of teaching assistants. Last year this Birds of a Feather (BoF) session brought together nearly 100 attendees who discussed the challenges faced in hiring and training effective Teaching Assistants. This year, the session aims to focus on the exchange of information among participants, both during and after the event, fostering a collaborative effort to establish and sustain effective UTA programs.

Considerations for Improving Comprehensive Undergraduate Computing Ethics Education

Grace Barkhuff, Georgia Institute of Technology; Jason Borenstein, Georgia Institute of Technology; Daniel Schiff, Purdue University; Judith Uchidiuno, Georgia Institute of Technology; Ellen Zegura, Georgia Institute of Technology

Computing Ethics (CE) courses are an increasingly important component of the undergraduate computing curriculum because of the outsized influence of computing on society. CE encompasses topics from multiple disciplines including the humanities, however, it is typically taught by educators within a Computer Science (CS) department in most United States-based undergraduate institutions, potentially leading to a less than comprehensive CE education for students. We surveyed 318 computing educators in the US to investigate CS educators’ perceptions of how CE topics should ideally be taught. Most of our respondents thought that CE should be taught by a team of instructors across multiple disciplines, and further that it should be taught both as a standalone course and embedded in other courses. Our research provides insights into ways to improve CE teaching that results in a better experience for students.

Creative Labs in a CS1 Course: Self-directed Labs Enhance Inclusivity in Computer Science Learning

Melinda McDaniel, Georgia Institute of Technology

Most CS1 classes are designed to teach programming and computational thinking using a specific programming language such as Python or Java. This type of concentrated study leaves little room for creative exploration of other computer science principles by students. In particular, at large colleges and universities, the programming assignments often need to be graded automatically to keep up with rising enrollment. This lightning talk will introduce the idea that simply adding three creative labs that do not use the actual course material, but instead expose students to other computing concepts, can give struggling students time to catch up, while also offering them a much-needed breather doing something in computing that is individually directed and creative.

Over the last few years, my Teaching Assistants (TAs) and I have developed three simple web development labs as assignments for our large CS1 classes. These three labs are usually given around each of the exam weeks and provide a much-needed break for the students from the regular class material that continues to build upon prior learning. Many students report that the labs are their favorite part of the course because they were creative and self-directed.

This lightning talk aims to gather feedback on this concept and assess its potential for integration into advanced CS courses. I’m also keen to hear suggestions for alternative labs in a CS1 class that would both introduce students to further CS principles and allow them to show off their creativity.

Developing Computational Thinking in Middle School Music Technology Classrooms

Lauren McCall, Georgia Institute of Technology; Brittney Allen, Georgia Institute of Technology; Jason Freeman, Georgia Institute of Technology; Stephen Garrett, Georgia Institute of Technology

To engage diverse populations of students that may not self-select into computing courses, a curriculum for a middle school music technology course that addresses learning standards for both music technology and computer science was developed and deployed. Students who engage with the curriculum learn modern music production techniques as well as computational thinking concepts through a mix of traditional approaches to music technology education (digital audio workstations) and computational approaches via a culturally relevant learning platform that introduces students to coding via music production and remixing. This poster reflects on the last two years of curriculum design and deployment, teacher training, and student and educator engagement and feedback to provide insight into the teaching (and learning) of computational thinking in the music technology classroom. Preliminary findings from quantitative and qualitative classroom data, as well as teacher interviews and professional development sessions, suggest that a) students not already interested in music technology or programming do not connect with the material as well as students with prior interest; b) music technology educators require targeted training and support in pedagogical content knowledge in computing; and c) greater intentional connection between music and computer science throughout the curriculum has the potential to spur further student engagement. This poster summarizes these findings and describes how the curriculum and professional development were modified to address them.

Sourcing Projects for CS Capstones: Challenges and Strategies

Fisayo Omojokun, Georgia Institute of Technology; Kellyann Fitzpatrick, Georgia Institute of Technology

When it comes to computer science capstone courses, quality of projects is often a determining factor in learning outcomes and overall student experience. However, sourcing appropriate and interesting projects–whether devised by instructors or submitted by faculty or industry clients–can be challenging. This birds of a feather session invites educators, administrators, and even former students involved with CS capstones and other project-based courses to share some of the challenges they have encountered (e.g. client recruitment, project quality and variety, IP concerns) and potential strategies, processes, and tools for addressing these challenges.

Active Learning at Large-Scale: Using Video Tutorials to Learn by Teaching

Pedro Guillermo Feijóo-García, Georgia Institute of Technology; Nimisha Roy, Georgia Institute of Technology

In an era where digital platforms like TikTok and Instagram redefine interaction, integrating active learning in large-scale computer science (CS) courses presents both a unique challenge and opportunity. This lightning talk intends to discuss a two-step strategy piloted within a second-year large-scale (i.e., over 500 students) introductory course to software engineering at a Southeast North American university. First, we tasked CS students to create a video tutorial as their midterm exam deliverable. The exam consisted of four questions: three open-ended questions for concepts on software engineering and one diagramming question that had them transform a descriptive context into a UML domain model diagram. Next, students took part in a double-blind peer review process that had them evaluate their peers’ deliverables and explanations. Overall, we intended to assess students’ understanding of software engineering concepts while enabling them to reflect upon their learning processes as they taught what they learned. Also, by having them peer-review among themselves, we aimed to foster an experience to enrich students’ engagement and develop feedback skills. This lightning talk is to gather feedback from the CS Education community on this instructional strategy and possibly collaborate for a more extensive study on student-created artifacts in large-scale CS courses.

Community Building and Joyful Learning in Computer Science Education Through Online At-Scale Seminars

Ana Rusch, Georgia Institute of Technology; Eric Ianni, Georgia Institute of Technology

Seminars change the landscape of Computer Science education by allowing for a non-traditional space of learning that employs synchronicity, community, and joyful engagement. This paper will explore the seminars, one-credit, pass/fail, and do not count toward graduation, in an at-scale online Master’s program in Computer Science. The seminars in this program are divided into two main groups: topic-based (e.g., Women in Tech) and course-based (e.g., Computing in Python). Since these seminars are on a pass/fail grading scale and do not count towards graduation, they produce a low-stress environment of learning that allows students to focus on the joy of learning rather than commodified learning focused on assignment production and grades. These seminars are also more flexible than traditional 3-credit courses and employ a wide range of pedagogical frameworks. Furthermore, they also address the most significant drawback to online at-scale education: a lack of sense of community. Many of the seminars are participation based and thus encourages community building with scheduled synchronously biweekly meeting and/or asynchronous engagement.

Teaching Ethics In CS Programs – Questions, Models, Resources, Assessments

Vance Ricks, Northeastern University; Meica Magnani, Northeastern University; Casey Fiesler, University of Colorado Boulder; Grace Barkhuff, Georgia Institute of Technology; Stacy Doore, Colby College; Alexi Brooks, University of Wisconsin-Stout; Michael Zimmer, Marquette University

We want to facilitate an interactive gathering of faculty from a variety of disciplines and institutions – including primary, secondary, and tertiary schools – who are interested in exchanging ideas related to the learning and teaching of ethical concepts and skills in a CS or related curriculum, and evaluating the success of those efforts. We understand “curriculum” broadly to include both course and lab instruction and out-of-class experiences. Participants will leave with a set of open-access teaching resources, guidance for how best to use those resources at their own institutions, and ideas for evaluating any courses, curriculum, or programs they develop as a result.

Should we teach computing ethics to master’s students?

Grace Barkhuff, Georgia Institute of Technology; Judith Uchidiuno, Georgia Institute of Technology; Ellen Zegura, Georgia Institute of Technology

Computing ethics courses are generally considered essential in undergraduate programs, but there is limited research on the importance of their inclusion at the master’s level. In this study, we extend research conducted by Dexter et al. in 2013 about the importance of ethics in master’s programs. We surveyed Associate Chairs and Associate Deans of Graduate Studies representing 81 different Computer Science programs in the United States. 72% of respondents shared that ethics should be required in master’s computing programs. In contrast, only 46% of the 81 programs surveyed require any type of ethics course at the master’s level. Our findings also uncover barriers to the inclusion of ethics at the master’s level and propose strategies for alleviating these challenges.

Teaching Track Faculty in Computer Science

Laney Strange, Northeastern University; Olga Glebova, University of Connecticut; Melinda McDaniel, Georgia Institute of Technology; Chris Gregg, Stanford University

Many computer science departments have chosen to hire faculty to teach in teaching-track positions that parallel the standard tenure-track position, providing the possibility of promotion, longer-term contracts, and higher pay for excellence in teaching and service. This birds-of-a-feather is designed to gather educators, both experienced and new to teaching track positions, who are currently in such a position to share their experiences as members of the faculty of their departments and schools. This year, we plan on discussing the impacts of evaluations of teaching faculty. Student evaluations of teaching, which are known to be biased, are often weighted heavily in teaching faculty merit review, contract renewal, and the promotion process. Our discussion will encourage teaching faculty to share the extent to which student and other types of evaluations influence their career progression, the level of transparency in evaluation outcome expectations, and what they believe would be a true and valuable evaluation of teaching excellence.

Reaching Black Women interested in Computing: The importance of organizational tiesONLINEIN-PERSON

Bailey Brown, Spelman College; Rebecca Zarch, SageFox Consulting Group; Amanda Menier, SageFox Consulting Group; Talia Goldwasser, SageFox Consulting Group; Megean Garvin, UMBC; Celeste Lee, Spelman College; Jayce R. Warner, The University of Texas at Austin; Tamara Pearson, Georgia Institute of Technology

While it is well known that Black women are underrepresented in computing, less is known about their pre-college experiences. We hypothesize that inequities at the K-12 level result in Black women’s underrepresentation in computing, because Black women have accumulated less social capital and are less embedded in courses and organizations related to computing prior to college. This paper reports the initial findings from the first round of a survey designed to gather the pre-college computing experiences of Black women and their peers. Black women in our sample were less likely to report participating in formal computer science (CS) education in school, slightly more likely to report participation in computing programs outside of school, about equally likely to pursue computing experiences independently, and more likely to have had no pre-college computing experiences at all. We found that Black women were less likely to report that they were told they would be a good computer scientist, especially by friends, teachers, and guidance counselors, thus reflecting weaker social connections and lower levels of social capital. These findings suggest that organizational embeddedness or social ties from pre-college computing experiences may indeed be a factor in Black women’s underrepresentation in computing and that access to these experiences outside of the formal classroom may be particularly important. The survey is one part of a study that will feature a second round of data collection in another state, analysis of state-level longitudinal data, and interviews with Black women.

Supporting Student Engagement in K-12 AI Education with a Card Game Construction Toolkit

Hansol Lim, North Carolina State University; Wookhee Min, North Carolina State University; Jessica Vandenberg, North Carolina State University; Veronica Catete, North Carolina State University; Judith Uchidiuno, Georgia Institute of Technology; Bradford Mott, North Carolina State University

With the growing prevalence of AI, the need for K-12 AI education is becoming more crucial, which is prompting active research in developing engaging and age-appropriate AI learning activities. In this poster, we present a game construction toolkit intended for middle school students and educators to customize an unplugged card game activity focused on developing AI competencies. We previously designed, developed, and piloted an unplugged activity where players predict the identity of a person based on hand-drawn features extracted from a set of facial cards. This activity aims to teach AI concepts aligned with one of the big ideas in AI, Representation and Reasoning, utilizing ideas from facial recognition technology. During our pilot testing of this activity, we discovered that creating face cards that capture students’ interest is a crucial factor in promoting student engagement. As a result, we designed a toolkit as a web-based application that allows students and educators to craft their own face card decks using photos that are personally interesting to them, thereby fostering engagement and improving the replayability of the activity by creating near-endless options. The toolkit’s design is focused on ensuring easy accessibility and features a simple interface that allows users to download and print their customized cards. We expect this toolkit to enhance the usability and educational effectiveness of our unplugged K-12 AI education activity.

Unpacking the Unique Role of Black Women Computer Science Educators

Tamara Pearson, Georgia Institute of Technology; Pamela Leggett-Robinson, PLR Consulting

In the United States (US), the value Black women bring to their classrooms is critical, yet research examining their experiences as computer science teachers has been left mostly unexplored. Using a theoretical framework grounded in Black feminist thought. this paper highlights the important role of this subgroup of the teaching population by illuminating the unique intersectional experiences and perspectives of four (4) Black, women, high school, computer science (BWHSCS) teachers in the southern US. We center the voices of BWHSCS teachers to better understand their unique experiences and assets as Black women, allowing us to examine the extent to which historical context and issues of race and gender inform their pedagogical practice.

School of Computing Instruction (SCI) faculty are continuing a large discussion about teaching assistant (TA) programs and the importance of collaboration to establish best practices.

SCI Inaugural Chair Olufisayo Omojokun, Associate Chair Mary Hudachek-Buswell, and Senior Lecturer Melinda McDaniel will facilitate a discussion about the topic on March 21 at the SIGCSE 2024 conference. After implementing a successful undergraduate TA program at Georgia Tech, the team’s goal is to continue improving while helping other institutions with their programs.

SCI faculty members teach all 1000- and 2000- courses required for all Georgia Tech undergraduates, as well as several upper-level courses. They manage about 500 TAs per semester and are leading discussions on lessons learned.

Melinda McDaniel, Mary Hudachek-Buswell, and Olufisayo Omojokun

In past presentations, dozens of participants asked questions about starting and maintaining TA programs at their institutions. Most worked with functioning programs, but they acknowledged that there were critical areas where improvement is needed, particularly in training, funding, and scaling programs to keep up with enrollment.

Now, the goal for the team from the School of Computing Instruction is to continue the conversation and further explore best practices in TA programs to assist in answering these and other questions. To do this, they plan to collaborate with fellow faculty in the computer science education field.

“People have questions, and no TA program is perfect. Even the good ones want to improve, and this is taking a step towards that,” Omojokun said. “Seeing what our peers are doing and perspectives other folks have is going to be a good way of taking that next step.”

Together, SCI faculty and collaborators will discuss solutions and will provide an outlet to disseminate the information to other educators looking to build or improve a TA program.

“Some faculty have proven solutions to share, and SCI can be a channel to share this information,” said McDaniel, who has presented at multiple SIGCSE events. “We want to take this to the next level.”

Researchers Look to Transform TA Training with Google Community Grant

Google is helping to advance training for teaching assistants (TAs) who are essential to delivering undergraduate computing courses at Georgia Tech and Georgia State University (GSU). The corporation has provided the universities with a Google Community Grant of more than $394,000 over three years.

Researchers will use the funding to develop, test, and implement scalable training programs that reflect responsible and inclusive teaching practices for TAs supporting computer science (CS) courses.

Georgia Tech CS Regents’ Professor Ellen Zegura

New Research Shows Black Women Who Teach Computer Science Occupy a Unique Role in the Classroom for All Students, Regardless of Race or Sex

By Joshua Preston

A recent study led by Georgia Tech research faculty member Tamara Pearson, the senior director of Research and Programs in the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at Georgia Tech, focuses on understanding how Black women teaching computer science define themselves and their roles in the larger computer science (CS) education space, an underexplored topic according to Pearson.

Using data collected from surveys, interviews and focus groups with four Black women currently teaching high school CS in Atlanta in a majority Black district of over 50,000 students, Pearson and co-author Pamela Leggett-Robinson of PLR Consulting explored the teachers’ unique experiences and approaches to CS education.

Researchers came to discover that the unique, intersectional identities of the teachers – being both Black and women – were inextricably linked to their experiences as CS teachers.

CS education researchers
(l to r) Ellen Zegura, Grace Barkhuff, and Judith Uchidiuno. Barkhuff is Georgia Tech’s leading contributor to the technical program at SIGCSE 2024, with five research acceptances.
Photo by Nathan Deen/College of Computing

Demand in Computer Science Ethics Education Grows, Research Suggests Non-CS Teachers Should Be Involved

By Nathan Deen and Morgan Usry

Surveys conducted by Georgia Tech researchers uncovered a pressing need and a demand for ethics to be taught more broadly in computer science programs nationwide. Grace Barkhuff, a Ph.D. student in human-centered computing, is leading two separate studies of how ethics is being taught at the undergraduate level and master’s level in computing programs.

Barkhuff’s study on undergraduate curriculum found that ethics in computing is typically taught by educators within a computer science department. However, the consensus opinion that Barkhuff gathered from more than 300 educators suggests there is preference for ethics to be taught by multi-disciplinary teams of instructors.

March 20 Workshop Employs Lessons from Epidemics to Enhance Computer Science Classes

By Bryant Wine

Computer science educators will soon gain valuable insights from computational epidemiology courses, like one offered at Georgia Tech.

B. Aditya Prakash is part of a research group that will host a workshop on March 20 on how topics from computational epidemiology can enhance computer science classes. These lessons would produce computer science graduates with improved skills in data science, modeling, simulation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

B. Aditya Prakash
Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech

Check out @gt_sci on starting March 20 for highlights from GT@SICCSE

See you in Portland!

Development: College of Computing, School of Computing Instruction
Project Lead/Data Graphics: Joshua Preston
News: Nathan Deen, Joshua Preston, Emily Smith, Morgan Usry, Bryant Wine
Photography: Kevin Beasley, Nathan Deen, Terence Rushin
Data Management: Joni Isbell