Computer Science Professor Presents Research at Computer Science Education Symposium

Mary Smith presenting

Assistant Professor of Computer Science Mary Smith, Ed.D, presented findings from her ongoing research, “Evaluating Student Engagement towards Integrating Parallel and Distributed Computing (PDC) Topics in Undergraduate Level Computer Science Curriculum,” at the ACM Special Interest Group Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) technical symposium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Friday, March 1. The symposium attracts over 1,500 researchers, educators, and others interested in improving computing education in K-12 and higher education. 


Smith’s research findings support national reports aimed at improving undergraduate science education, which call for a transition away from the traditional lecture style of teaching to the use of student-centered, evidence-based instructional approaches (National Research Council, 2003; American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2011; President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2012). Additionally, increasing the amount of active learning in the classroom has been shown to benefit students’ learning (Freeman et al., 2014).


The overall goal of this project is to introduce PDC concepts in the early computer science undergraduate courses and gradually integrate the core PDC topics that a student graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer engineering is expected to have covered. These PDC topics have been suggested by an initiative provided by the National Science Foundation in conjunction with the Institute for Electronic and Electrical Engineers’ Technical Committee of Parallel Processing.