Distributed Expertise in Enhancing Computing Education With Connections to the Arts

I’ve written quite a bit about my work on the IJIMS project, but it’s not my only major research project. I’m also co-PI on another exciting NSF-funded project (Award #0829616) that involves creating model curricula and resources that connect computer science education with other disciplines. The formal name of the project is Distributed Expertise in Enhancing Computer Science Education With Connections to the Arts, or Distributed Expertise for short.

The PI for the project, Lillian Cassel, has been thinking about these issues for a long time.

Last spring, I team-taught a game production class with my TCNJ colleague Ursula Wolz, in parallel with a game development class at Villanova taught by our colleague Tom Way. We used a PBworks Wiki and Skype to manage the distance collaboration. You can explore the documentation here:

Meanwhile, our colleague at Virginia Tech, Deborah Tatar, team-taught an ethics class with a colleague in Ireland. I’ll post a link to more information about that project soon.

This semester, I’m working with Wolz and Way again, coordinating my interactive storytelling class with Wolz’s game production class and Way’s software engineering class. Wolz will also be working with Way’s computing with images class. We are running separate classes, but will use material generated by each other’s students to form the basis of specific assignments. It’s going to be an interesting and exciting semester.

I also want to start a series of conversations about how to make these kinds of collaborations work, and extend them to to more institutions. Part of our vision is that this could be a way of providing CS expertise to disciplines that are becoming computing dependent, such as journalism, while helping CS students understand the nuances of working with content from different knowledge domains. Also, we hope that this can become a model for augmenting the resources of financially strapped institutions, such as small liberal arts colleges and HBCUs.

I plan to do some blogging in this space about our experience, as well as the general concept of our these kinds of collaborations can work. I really look forward to comments and feedback.