Coding Alone Does Not Make CS for All

Last week I was honored to be a speaker on a diversity panel at the American Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group for Computer Science Education conference – aka the SIGCSE Symposium. The panel was hosted by Oracle Academy and featured prominent women in the STEM and computer science fields. It was incredible to be a part of and to see the growing community support for computer science nationwide. Our panel focused on how to create a more inclusive environment for #compsci students and explored why diversity is important to the health of the technology industry and what we can do to ensure its success. #SIGCSE2018 #OracleAcademy #CSforAll

One thread of our panel was the need to expand the disciplines taught in computer science and not solely focus on programming or coding. When we talk about CS for All, we need to understand that we are encompassing computer science and information management systems – including the skills required for careers in the tech industry and tech jobs across every industry. These skills encompass coding, along with data science, design thinking, and a whole set of essential skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking. All that learning belongs in the computer science classroom and Couragion’s research is showing the correlation to broadening participation and improving retention in these pathways.

Alison Derbenwick Miller, Vice President, Oracle Academy summed up our panel best with the following tweet:

Great list of what we need to address #diversity challenge: better data, visible role models, diverse experiences, investment in educators & increased understanding that #compsci is a lot more than #coding. Bravo @OracleAcademy panel!

I’d love to talk to you more about Couragion’s research and how we’re addressing the best approaches to diversify and broaden participation in the computer science fields. We look forward to hearing from you. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the opening keynote…

"Teaching computer science is no more about creating more software developers than teaching English is about creating more novelists." - Alfred Thompson, High School Computer Science Teacher @alfredtwo

Melissa RisteffComment