To engage a wider range of students in intro courses, be sure to highlight the real-world context and applications of CS.

  • Often, computer science textbooks primarily focus on the "technical detail" of computer science, rather than the ways in which "computing is integrally linked to critical investigations in medicine, environmental science, famine control, art, and music" (Margolis 37).
  • If you defer the interdisciplinary or real-world applications of computer science, you can give introductory students the false impression that computer science is just a lot of programming, "removed from real-world context and concerns". (Margolis 56)
  • You could even have students come up with real world problems that could be solved by computer science. This will:
    • help students to think about how they use programming tools in their daily lives
    • make lessons in the classroom seem more relevant to them.

More about this tip

External Source

Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher, in Chapter 2: "Middle and High School" and Chapter 3: "Computing with a Purpose"

Hélène Martin's website under "Travel woes - can computing help?"