In his keynote at SIGCSE 2007, Grady Booch exhorted us to share the "passion, beauty, joy and awe" (PBJA) of computing. This led to a series of room-packed sessions at the following six SIGCSE symposia to explore that idea from different angles. They have provided a forum for sharing: What we've done: Highlighting successful PBJA initiatives the presenters have undertaken or seen and wish to trumpet. What we should do (curriculum): Pointing out where our curriculum is lacking in PBJA, and how to fix it. How we should do it (pedagogy): Sharing how a change in attitude / focus / etc. can make strides to improving PBJA.
While the initial PBJA sessions evolved from a need to understand and combat the enrollment crisis of eight years ago, we are now seeing an incredible resurgence in interest in our field, partially because --coders are hip and computer science is hot?. There are colleges where the numbers have exceeded historic highs, and some rightfully claim the crisis is over. This PBJA "movement" was born out of this enrollment crisis, but is not tied to it. There is always value in sharing novel best practices and advocating techniques that make computing fun for beginners.
In the past, we either tried to gather educators who brought a wide variety of perspectives, who would focus on a particular issue, or who have instituted very creative and successful paths into the major. This year we have gathered three seasoned educators who have taken the leap and built online classes for introductory computing on three different platforms. What innovative ideas did they employ to support collaboration? Does the need to auto-grade mean students can no longer choose their own final projects, and how does that stifle PBJA? Do these auto-graded formative assessments feel like drill-and-kill? The hope with this panel is to explore how online offerings, in these crucial early years, extol (and perhaps suppress!) the PBJA of computing.
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