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BPEC: Broadening Participation in Computing through a Community Approach to Learning: 1441057

Principal Investigator: Nichole Pinkard
CoPrincipal Investigator(s):
Organization: DePaul University

DePaul University will explore how to engage underrepresented youth in computational thinking activities both in and out of school. The project staff will explore how youth from different backgrounds engage in a citywide initiative called Chicago City of Learning (CCoL). CCoL provides STEM learning experiences both online and face-to-face with over 130 organizations. This project seeks to understand what types of factors are most likely to engage youth in computer science online learning opportunities. The project staff hope to discern how to string together computer science learning opportunities that lead to all youth developing the interest, knowledge and skills to take computer science courses in high school and pursue careers in college.

DePaul University will implement a design-based research agenda to design, implement and study the CCoL initiative. CCoL is designed to make visible to students and parents a network of organization-led and self-paced learning opportunities for youth. Students who participate in CCoL earn digital badges that visually represent their learning, achievement, and skill development from both face-to-face and self-paced learning opportunities. This project will develop 1) a set of self-paced, online learning activities that can then be shared and iterated upon by the larger community, 2) design principles around how to issue digital badges to support community engagement for underrepresented youth, 3) an anonymized dataset of the learning journeys of Chicago’s youths through a shared set of computation face-to-face learning activities that can be analyze for patterns across gender, race, age, and geographic location and learning outcomes (e.g. specific badges earned), and 4) the scaling of the City of Learning initiative to other cities.

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