Introspective and Extrospective Computer Science Education

(CSE Colloquium Lecture Series)

Introspective and Extrospective Computer Science Education

Jeff Forbes, Duke University

Speaker: Jeff Forbes, Associate Professor, Duke University
Date: Friday, May 19, 2017
Time: 11:00am
Location: Room 1202, CSE Building
Host: CSE Prof. Christine Alvarado (

Abstract: Enrollment trends in computer science present new challenges for the computing community as we look inward and outward. Departments are asked to respond to student demand for computer science across majors, while maintaining and promoting a focus on inclusion of underrepresented groups. In order to support better student learning outcomes, departments must be introspective by seeking and using evidence-based program evaluation to support curriculum and pedagogy design. As students’ pre-college experiences evolve due to the success of efforts such as CS for All, departments also need to go beyond domains that primarily interest computer scientists such as data processing (e.g., searching, sorting, and file manipulations) and consider pathways that combine with computer science with other disciplines (i.e., CS + X). I propose that a more outward-looking or "extrospective" approach to computer science will better engage and prepare students from a variety of backgrounds. In this talk, I will present examples of extrospective approaches to computing and provide a vision for the future of computer science education.

Bio:    Jeff Forbes is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Computer Science and an Associate Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University.  He received his B.S. and Ph.D. Degrees in Computer Science from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively.  His research interests include computer science education, social information processing, and learning analytics. As an Academic Dean, he is responsible for interpreting and applying the policies of the college and monitoring students' progress towards graduation. Dean Forbes serves as the Director of the Office of Curriculum & Course Development. As Associate Dean for Curriculum, he is responsible for monitoring and promoting the ongoing process of curriculum development in Arts and Sciences with regard to general education, education in the major, and interdisciplinary studies. Prof. Forbes is involved with a number of leading efforts to improve and broaden access to computer science education via organizations such as NSF, ACM, CMD-IT, and CRA.