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Working group details

Working groups are formed by participants with a common interest in a topic related to the subject matter of the conference. The groups of 5 to about 10 participants work together electronically before the start of the conference.

The groups then begin their intense collaboration work (f​rom the 7th April once WG membership has been finalized) ​and continue this work until the time of the conference. On the Sunday preceding the conference, working groups leaders will submit the near to final WG report (note: in past years this was submitted at the end of the conference).

Every working group member must register for and be present at the conference in order to be considered a contributor to the final report. Participants present their results to conference attendees at a special working group presentation session during the virtual conference. Final reports are refereed and, if accepted, are published in the ACM Digital Library.

The proposed working groups:

In these videos, the working groups present themselves:

Working GroupNameURL video
WG1Post-COVID Educational Landscapes
WG2Towards a Curricula Framework to Support the Design of eSports Courses in Higher Education WG2 esports intro video.mp4?dl=1
WG3Chronicling the Evidence for Broadening Participation
WG4Exploring and Assessing Practical Computing Competencies
WG5Planning a Conceptual Framework Approach for Teaching Cloud Fundamentals

Applying to join a working group

Interested researchers may apply for working group membership up to the deadline: ​March 31st​. This year there will be a virtual open evening for prospective members to find out more information (if required) about each working group. This event will take place on the 2nd March 2021 at 21:00 to 22:00 CET. Details about registering for the event will be posted on this site and on the SIGCSE mailing list. In addition, recordings of each of the WG’s open evening presentations will be made available on this page shortly after the open evening.

Working group membership decisions are generally made shortly after the deadline. If some working groups have too many applications and others are still lacking members, the working group chairs will try to facilitate moves between working groups, respecting the applicant’s and the working group leaders’ wishes.

Applications should be emailed to the nominated leaders​ of the working group in question (see below), and should include the following information (unless other/additional details are requested by the specific group):

  • your name, institution, country, and email address;
  • an explanation of your interest in the working group;
  • your experience relevant to the goals of the working group;
  • any further information requested in the description of the particular working group;
  • an assurance of your availability and willingness to take active part in the work of the working group before the conference;
  • an assurance of your intention to register for and attend ITiCSE (this is a condition of working group membership).

WG 1: Post-COVID Educational Landscapes


WG 1 Leaders:
Angela Siegel Dalhousie University Canada
Mark Zarb Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, UK

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has forced an unprecedented global shift within higher education in the ways that we communicate with and educate students. This necessary paradigm shift has compelled educators to take a critical look at their teaching styles and use of technology. Computing is a subject which, traditionally, focuses on experiential, in-person activities. COVID-19 has mandated that educators reconsider their use of student time and catalyzed overnight innovations in the educational setting.

While it is unlikely that we will ever return entirely to those pre-COVID norms, many new practices are ones that would be valuable to learn from and carry forward into our post-COVID teaching. This working group will explore what the post-COVID academic landscape might look like, and how we can use lessons learned during this educational shift to improve our practice going forward. This exploration will strive to identify practices within computer science that should continue to exist in the online space, which the working group determines have been improved through exposure to online tools and technologies. The objectives of this working group are:

i) To work within a multinational context and create a study of both faculty and students to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on computer science education. Educational practices explored will include tools and techniques (student engagement and teaching practices) employed throughout the pandemic.

ii) To explore the results of the study to understand best practices resulting from the impact of COVID-19.

iii) To disseminate the results with the wider computer science education community.

WG 2: Towards a Curricula Framework to Support the Design of eSports Courses in Higher Education

Presentation video: WG2 esports intro video.mp4?dl=1

WG 2 Leaders:

Michael James Scott Falmouth University UK
Rory Summerley Falmouth University UK

ESports is a novel and emerging industry of increasing global economic and cultural importance. In recent years, higher education institutions have responded to this growth by provisioning undergraduate courses to satisfy the needs of innovators operating in this area. However, despite being a technology-driven sector with many ethical and professional dimensions, there isn’t yet consensus on what eSports curricula should include. The term itself doesn’t appear in any of the ACM/IEEE curricular guidelines. Furthermore, the new courses which are appearing tend to provide training and education on a wide variety of topics aside from those traditionally in computing including: live events management; psychological research; sports science; marketing; public relations; video (live stream) production; and community management; as well as coaching for actual competition participation. This working group proposal seeks to examine the requirements for developing eSports courses in higher education with a focus on understanding the needs of the industry and on the challenges presented by cross-disciplinarity. Surveying existing courses to review their content, learning outcomes, and potential career trajectories will first establish trends and provide a baseline to assess the goals of such provision. Comparing where these courses differ, and why, will help to classify areas of focus. Thereby, suggesting what course content might mean for employability and skills transfer for graduates. Such insights will lay the foundations for a model curriculum framework, identify common learning outcomes, suggest how to meet current demands from industry, and raise questions about how eSports courses can meet the perceptions of prospective students.

WG 3: Chronicling the Evidence for Broadening Participation

Presentation video:

WG 3 Leaders:
Briana B. Morrison University of Nebraska Omaha USA
Beth A. Quinn University of Colorado Boulder USA

We are all aware that computing has, for many years, been one of the least demographically diverse STEM fields. Addressing the content and method of teaching computing is one means for broadening participation. Changes to teaching are particularly promising because many can be implemented by individual instructors at their own initiative. The last decade has seen a proliferation of research exploring new pedagogical innovations and their effect on the retention of historically excluded students. But how can an instructor who wants to teach inclusively know the best research-based practices for inclusion?

The goal of this working group is to find, vet, and consolidate relevant research on broadening participation in computing through changes to teaching into a distillable format for practitioner use. The working group will use the existing NCWIT Engagement Practices Framework as an organizing tool. The working group will deliver a report summarizing the findings from existing research, an annotated bibliography of this research, and a set of specific, actionable practices for the classroom instructor. Because of the nature of the problem, we are seeking an interdisciplinary and diverse group of individuals. Individuals will be able to focus on areas in which they are most interested or have expertise.

After an initial meeting the first week of April, members will conduct a thorough literature search based upon assigned areas, entering results into a provided tool. In June, area groups will begin drafting the research paper and distilling the research into practitioner tips.

WG 4: Exploring and Assessing Practical Computing Competencies

Presentation video:

WG 4 Leaders:
Rajendra K. Raj Rochester Institute of Technology USA
Mihaela Sabin University of New Hampshire USA
John Impagliazzo Hofstra University USA

Competency-based learning has been a successful pedagogical approach for centuries, but only recently has it gained traction within computing education. Building on recent developments in this space, this working group will explore competency-based learning from practical considerations and show how it benefits computing. With many working group experiences behind them, the group leaders plan to leverage results from recent publications, identify existing computing competencies, and provide a pathway to generate competencies that can directly be used in the field. The working group will also investigate appropriate assessment approaches, provide guidelines for evaluating student attainment, and show how degree program accrediting agencies can use these working group studies to assess the level of achievement of competencies reflected in their standards and criteria. Recommendations from the working group report are intended to have practical and useful applications in computing education.

WG 5: Planning a Conceptual Framework Approach for Teaching Cloud Fundamentals

Presentation video:

WG 5 Leaders:

Joshua Adams Saint Leo University USA
James Paterson Glasgow Caledonian University Scotland
Laurie White Google LLC Seattle, USA

Three previous working groups have met to explore ways of incorporating cloud computing into courses and curricula by mapping industry job skills to knowledge areas (KAs) and KAs to student learning objectives (LOs) and using these as the framework for a repository of learning materials and course exemplars. The ongoing value of the work of these WGs would be enhanced by validating the KAs and LOs and their mapping to current job skills and continuing to build a community of educators who will contribute to and benefit from the repository.

This WG will contribute to the achievement of both aims. It will focus on planning for a wider, ongoing research study for validation of the mapped KAs and LOs which can be ongoing to ensure continuing relevance and value. The WG will create and test a workshop model which will include a mix of live and recorded content, together with methods of gathering data from workshop participants (e.g. survey, interview) which will form a pilot to help frame the research plan, and will promote and facilitate a series of instances of this in advance of the conference. The WG will then review the findings and use these to refine the previous work of the working groups (including KAs, LOs, and repository design) and to define the research study methodology and instruments, and will report on the workshops and the research plan.