A New CS Curriculum: Bridging the Gap Between In-Class Assignments and Real World Problems; Exploration of Online Learning Integration

Cheng, Edward, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Xu, Haifeng, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Heo, Seongkook, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Neeley, Kathryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

My technical work and STS research both address aspects of the sociotechnical challenge of implementing a streamlined and effective pseudo-asynchronous lecture-based class environment. In what follows I will describe in more detail what my technical work and STS research are about and the value of working on both projects at the same time instead of independently.
My technical work is on the development of the curriculum of an effective lecture based job interview preparation course geared towards computer science students looking for software engineering or data science positions. There exists resume reviews from the career center and algorithms knowledge from core classes, but nothing to bring the two together. This work provides a solution to the lack of formal interview preparation support at the University of Virginia.
My STS research is on the different social factors surrounding both the students and teachers and how those factors affect the quality of the class. I analyzed a case where Bachelor of Education Early Childhood and Primary degrees at Curtin University in Australia shifted their delivery method to be completely online. The case focuses on the support for the teachers and the teachers’ experiences. I used this in combination with data from the U.S Department of Education on minority higher education pipelines. I drew upon Actor Network Theory to synthesize these two cases to show that the success and failure of the class is not based solely on the teacher but on the teacher in conjunction with the students.
I was able to gain a broader perspective on technology issues and how they impact society by working on both these projects. By considering social factors such as socioeconomic status and the race structured society of the United States and how that can play into disadvantages in academic experiences across social lines. In 2020, this pandemic has caused further problems when students were forced to move to an online, synchronous format. By looking at how students and teachers interact in and with the online setting, I was able to recognize major factors to take into consideration when designing a new curriculum for interview preparation. There are, however, problems that cannot be easily improved from a central technological standpoint such as poor internet connectivity and broken electronics, which can negatively impact a student’s learning experience. By contextualizing these social factors, I was able to design a better algorithmic curriculum for a better academic experience for an improved interview preparation experience for the students looking for work opportunities.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Education, Computer Science

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Haifeng Xu, Seongkook Heo
STS Advisor: Kathryn Neeley
Technical Team Members: Edward Cheng, Ethan Choo, Anita Ho, Yuyang Wang

Issued Date: