Project Description 

The Disciplinary Commons for Computing Educators (DCCE) in Georgia is a new project funded by the NSF CISE Pathway to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education (CPATH) Community Building track. The DCCE is aimed at developing a statewide community of computing educators, who hold common interests in computing education and goals of making innovations in computing education.

We invite college or university instructors who teach introductory computer science, along with high school computer science teachers, especially Computer Science Advanced Placement (CS-AP) teachers to participate in the DCCE for a period of one year. During this year, teachers will discuss their own teaching practice through (bi-)monthly meetings and an on-line forum, undertake peer observation and peer review, investigate their own classroom practice by collecting and analyzing data to answer a question of concern to them, or document their classroom teaching through shared production of course portfolios.

About 10 participants (half from each level) will be selected from high schools and universities in Georgia each year. If accepted, participants are expected to actively participate in DCCE activities.

DCCE 2009 (the Second DCCE)

In DCCE 2009 , participants will have the opportunity to talk with one another and to work together to document, review and reflect on your own classroom teaching through the shared production of course portfolios. 

The course portfolio, well known as a method for advancing teaching practice and improving student learning, is a set of documents that "focuses on the unfolding of a single course, from conception to results" (Hutchings, 1998). Course portfolios typically include a course's learning objectives, its contents and structure, a rationale for how this course design meets its objectives, and the course's role in a larger degree program. Importantly, the portfolio also includes evaluations of student work throughout the term, indicating the extent to which students are meeting course objectives and the type and quantity of feedback they are receiving. Each participant in the project will construct a course portfolio for a course that they teach. 

We are expecting results to include a peer-reviewed course portfolio from each teacher, enhanced understanding of how high school and undergraduate computing education can work together, and ultimately better teaching and improved student learning. 

We will meet Saturdays (every 4-6 weeks) on the Georgia Tech campus, starting in October 24, 2009

What it involves

If accepted, each participant is expected to commit to: 
  • Attending all the DCCE Saturday meetings (including full-day and half-day meetings, around 40 hours in total within a year).
  • Completing a course portfolio for your introductory Computer Science course.
  • Reading a small number of papers that will help in carrying out the goals of the project.
  • Undertaking a peer observation of another participant, as well as being observed by another participant in turn.
  • Reading and critiquing portions of other participants' portfolios.

Reasons to participate

Successful participation in DCCE is expected to offer professional development for participants, as well as community development for Georgia Computer Science teachers. 
  • Benefits to Participation
    • Professional development: As consistently reported in the research literature, staff creating course portfolios state that the critical reflection involved in portfolio construction results in significant and lasting changes to the course and to their own subsequent teaching.
    • Community development: Although a culture of peer review and discourse is common within research communities, it is rare among teachers as teaching most often happens in isolation, "behind closed doors". As we document our own work and review each other's, we overcome insularity and secrecy and are able to identify knowledge and best practices, which can be developed and shared as community resources.
    • Documentation of practice: In a course portfolio, participants will have a persistent, peer-reviewed, documented deliverable that can be shared with others both inside of, and external to, their home institution.
  • Community Benefit 
    By bringing high school and university level instructors together, each will have the opportunity to "peer into" the other's community. In last year's DCCE one of the most valued benefits was learning of the overall curriculum available within each environment. By sharing experiences, techniques, and approaches to teaching this often difficult course, a community of engaged and focused educators can emerge.
Please note:the DCCE does not:
  • Aim to generate a courseware repository;
  • nor is it a workshop for developing materials.

Participant Cost

There is No COST for particiaption in this project: travel costs, hotel rooms for the night before a meeting as needed, lunches and breaks at meetings will be covered by the grant from the NSF CPATH program. 

Workshop Leaders

The PI for this project is Mark Guzdial, professor in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. The two project researchers are Allison Elliott Tew and Lijun Ni, PhD students in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. The two home-made DCCE workshop leaders for the second DCCE  are Ria Galanos and Briana Morrison from our first DCCE.  Our external project evaluator is Tom Mcklin. This project borrows insights from the Disciplinary Commons project, and is guided by the Disciplinary Commons inventors, Sally Fincher and Josh Tenenberg