After the gold rush: toward sustainable scholarship in computing

Australian Computer Society
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Tenth Australasian Computing Education Conference, 2008, pp. 3 - 18
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Abstract: In just thirty years, we have gone from punched cards to Second Life. But, as the American National Science Foundation (NSF) recently noted, âundergraduate computing education today often looks much as it did several decades agoâ (NSF, 2006). Consequently, todayâs âNintendo Generationâ have voted with their feet. We bore them. The contrast between the changes wrought via computer research over the last 30 years, and the failure of computing education to adapt to those changes, is because computing academics lead a double life. In our research lives we see ourselves as part of a community that reaches beyond our own university. We read literature, we attend conferences, we publish, and the cycle repeats, with community members building upon each otherâs work. But in our teaching lives we rarely discuss teaching beyond our own university, we are not guided by any teaching literature; instead we simply follow our instincts. Academics in computing, or in any other discipline, can approach their teaching as research into how novices become experts. Several recent multi-institutional research collaborations have studied the development of novice programmers. This paper describes some of the results from those collaborations. The separation of our teaching and research lives diminishes not just our teaching but also our research. The modern practice of stripping away all âdistractionsâ to maximize research output is like the practice of stripping away rainforest to grow beef â both practices appear to work, for a little while, but not indefinitely. Twenty-first century academia needs to bring teaching and research together, to form a scholarship of computing that is an integrated, sustainable, ecological whole.
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