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    Briana Bettin, Part II: Research, Mentors, and Creative Energy

    Briana Bettin, front, far right, with fall 2019 Computer Science dept. teaching assistants

    Michigan Tech 2020 Ph.D. graduate Briana Bettin, Computer Science, is among six new faculty members the College of Computing welcomed this fall. Bettin is an assistant professor for the Department of Computer Science and the Cognitive and Learning Sciences department.

    This semester, she is teaching courses including CS1121 Introduction to Programming in C/C++, and pursuing research and other projects with faculty and students.

    In this, Part II of this profile of Briana Bettin, Bettin and her faculty mentors talk research, education, and novel ideas.

    Read the first installment of this article, ‘Briana Bettin, Asst. Prof., Part I: Neopets, HTML, Early Success Part I”, published Oct. 28, 2020, here.

    Mental models, constructing knowledge, programming analogies.

    Briana Bettin’s research interests are many. They include user experience, human factors, human-computer interactions, mental models, information representation, rural digital literacy, education, engagement, retention, and digital anthropology. Her Ph.D. dissertation aims to better understand how novice programmers approach learning programming, and how their construction of programming ideas might be better facilitated.

    “I delve into mental models research and explore theories for how students might construct knowledge,” she explains. “Specifically, the major studies in my dissertation explore how prior applicable knowledge might allow for transfer to programming concepts, which can feel very novel to students who have never programmed before.”

    Bettin is also exploring methods for designing programming analogies, testing their application in the classroom, and observing how their use may impact student understanding of specific topics. “I take a very user experience-oriented approach, and work to apply methods and ideas from user-experience research in the CS classroom space,” she says.

    Creative energy, insight, and humanity.

    With Computer Science department faculty members Associate Professor Charles Wallace and Assistant Professor Leo Ureel, Bettin has worked on projects studying how novice programmers communicate. She and Ureel also worked on several ideas in the introductory CS classrooms, including exploring pair programming obstacles in the classroom and in research.

    “I got to know Dr. Wallace during my Ph.D., and I love getting his perspective on research ideas,” Bettin says. “He has so many interesting ideas, and he’s so fun to talk to!”

    “Briana brings loads of creative energy, insight, and humanity to everything she does,” says Wallace. “We are very fortunate to have her with us.”

    Passionate about Computing Education.

    Other research collaborators include Lecturer Nathan Manser, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, and Senior Lecturer Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, Engineering Fundamentals, College of Engineering, with whom Bettin has explored topics in technology acceptance across engineering and computer science.

    “Briana has been an enthusiastic addition to our research group,” Jarvie-Eggart says, who is working with Steelman and Wallace on improving engineering students’ acceptance of programming. “She really is amazing!”

    Jarvie-Eggart sat in on Bettin’s Intro to Programming class in fall 2019, and noted that Bettin’s. approach of teaching algorithmic thinking and logic—before students begin programming—helps make programming more accessible to all.

    “It builds foundational knowledge from the ground up,” she says. “Our research team is very excited about using her progressive CS education approaches to teach engineers programming.”

    Stefka Hristova, in Michigan Tech Humanities, has always been supportive, helping me cultivate an interdisciplinary research vision and voice,” Bettin says. “Dr. Robert Pastel has also been so valuable in helping me approach my research with strong design. He has given me a lot of insight and I am so appreciative!”

    “Briana is passionate about Computing Education, and she is invested in infusing equity and diversity into the STEM field,” Hristova says.


    In Part III of this article, to be published soon, Briana Bettin talks about peer mentors and friends … and they say a few words, too.


    Read the first installment of this article, ‘Briana Bettin, Asst. Prof., Part I: Neopets, HTML, Early Success Part I”, here.


    College of Computing Welcomes Six New Faculty Members

    The Michigan Tech College of Computing welcomed six new faculty members this fall to the Departments of Applied Computing and Computer Science.

    College of Computing Dean Adrienne Minerick says the new hires reflect the early growth of the new College, which was launched July 1, 2019.

    “We are thrilled to welcome these six talented new faculty members,” Minerick says. “Even amid the challenges we are all facing, our proactive recruitment and retention activities are making a difference.”

    Assistant Professor Briana Bettin, Computer Science, has a Ph.D. in computer science from Michigan Tech. She is also an affiliated assistant professor for the Cognitive and Learning Sciences department. Bettin’s research interests include user experience; human factors; human-computer interactions; mental models; information representation; rural digital literacy; education, engagement, and retention; and digital anthropology. Bettin is a member of the ICC’s Computing Education Center.

    Assistant Professor Sidike Paheding, Applied Computing, has a Ph.D. in eelectrical engineering from University of Dayton, Ohio. Prior to joining Michigan Tech Paheding was a visiting assistant professor at Purdue University Northwest. His research interests include image/video processing, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and remote sensing. Paheding is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

    Assistant Professor Junqiao Qiu, Computer Science, has a
    Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from University of California Riverside. His research focuses on parallel computing, programming systems, and compiler optimization. Qiu is a member of the ICC’s Center for Scalable Architectures and Systems.

    Assistant Professor Ashraf Saleem, Applied Computing, has a Ph.D. in mechatronics engineering from DeMontfort University, UK. He comes to Michigan Tech from the electrical and computer engineering department at Sultan Qaboos University, where he served the mechatronics engineering program. Ashraf will be on campus starting in the spring 2021 semester.

    Saleem’s research interests are in autonomous systems, vision-based unmanned vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, control of Piezoelectric actuator, and servo-pneumatic systems.

    Assistant Professor Leo Ureel, Computer Science, has a Ph.D. in computer science from Michigan Tech. He has been teaching at the college level for 10 years, and has over 20 years of industry experience. Ureel is also coordinator of the College of Computing Learning Center. Ureel is a member of the ICC’s Computing Education Center.

    Ureel’s research focuses on a constructionist approach to introductory computer science that leverages code critiquers to motivate students to learn computer programming. His
    areas of expertise include software engineering, computer science education, and intelligent tutoring systems.

    Assistant Professor Brian Yuan, Applied Computing and Computer Science, has a Ph.D. in computer science from University of Florida. His areas of expertise include machine learning, security and privacy, and cloud computing. Yuan is a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity and Center for Data Sciences.


    Computer Science, Software Engineering B.S. Programs Granted ABET Accreditation

    The Computer Science and Software Engineering bachelor of science programs in the Michigan Tech College of Computing have recently been granted ABET accreditations through ABET’s Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) and its Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC), respectively.

    ABET accreditation, which is voluntary, provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates.

    The Computer Science and Software Engineering ABET accreditations join two additional College of Computing ABET-accredited undergraduate programs: Computer Network and System Administration and Electrical Engineering Technology.

    The announcement follows an 18-month ABET accreditation process, which included an in-depth self-study and report and an on-site visit from the ABET review team, which occurred in fall 2019. A lengthy readiness review was also prepared by the Computer Science department prior to the start of the accreditation process.

    “I am grateful to all the faculty, staff, and students, as well as our alumni and advisory board members, who participated in this process,” says Department Chair Linda Ott, Computer Science. “It is time-consuming, but well worth the effort, to give our students even greater assurance that they are getting the quality education that they deserve and expect from us.”

    “Linda, Nilufer Onder, Chuck Wallace, and so many others contributed to this accomplishment,” says College of Computing Dean Adrienne Minerick. “This accreditation status is one of many quality indicators that potential employers can use to assess the breadth and depth of our graduates’ knowledge.”

    Associate Professor Nilufer Onder is the undergraduate program director for the Department of Computer Science. Associate Professor Charles Wallace, Computer Science, is the College of Computing’s Associate Dean for Curriculum and Instruction.

    “With these accreditations, prospective and current students and their parents know that our programs are rigorous, and that our high quality curricula embrace continuous improvement,” says Minerick. “It reaffirms that as the Computing fields evolve, so do College of Computing academic programs.”

    “The self-study process at the heart of accreditation is laborious and no one’s idea of a good time,” shares Wallace. “But the results of that intensive reflection have already led to constructive changes in our Computer Science and Software Engineering curricula. I appreciate the extraordinary efforts of my colleagues Nilufer Onder, Zhenlin Wang, Gorkem Asilioglu, and James Walker in pushing the process through to completion.”

    “It is fantastic to see that ABET has recognized what we have known all along: Michigan Tech’s Computer Science and Software Engineering programs meet the highest quality standards and are committed to continuous improvement,” says Leonard Bohmann, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in Michigan Tech’s College of Engineering. “Students, and the companies that hire them when they graduate, can be confident that their Michigan Tech education meets exacting global standards in these high-tech fields.”

    “Our graduates have always been in high demand by industry,” Ott confirms. “The ABET focus on continuous quality improvement, core to the accreditation process, further ensures that our graduates’ knowledge and skills will continue to meet industry’s expectations into the future.”

    The Computer Science and Software Engineering undergraduate programs were offered through the College of Engineering prior to the establishment of the College of Computing in July 2019.

    “ABET accreditation demonstrates the direct involvement of faculty and staff in the self-assessment and continuous quality improvement processes, and validates that the pedagogical practices used in Computer Science and Software Engineering courses–and in all courses in ABET-accredited programs–are based upon learning outcomes, rather than teaching inputs,” Bohmann says.

    ABET is considered the gold standard of accreditation in engineering and related programs. ABET accreditation has been granted to exceptional academic programs since 1932. (https://www.abet.org)

    The Michigan Tech College of Computing, established July 1, 2019, offers undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs in Computer Network and System Administration, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Electrical Engineering Technology, Health Informatics, Mechatronics, and Software Engineering.


    College of Computing Focus of HostingAdvice Article

    The College of Computing and the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) are the subjects of an article published today (Sept. 2, 2020) on HostingAdvice.com, a website and blog that educates visitors to the site about the world of web hosting.

    The article, for which College of Computing Dean Adrienne Minerick was interviewed, provides a close look at the new College, its well-established Computer Science and Software Engineering degree programs (BS, MS, and Ph.D.), new Cybersecurity and Mechatronics undergraduate programs, as well as faculty research and the ICC.

    Special emphasis is placed on the Computer Network and Systems Administration undergraduate degree program, in which students prepare for careers as network and computer systems administrators, commonly referred to as a “sysadmins.”

    Read the full article here.

    “Our readers know that a lot goes into finding the best providers of shared, dedicated, and virtual private servers,” said Sean Garrity, managing editor at HostingAdvice.com. “The article provides information about how to prepare if you want to to break into the industry as a professional, not just a consumer.”


    New Computing Bits Session is Wednesday, August 5 at 6 pm

    A second College of Computing Computing Bits session will take place Wednesday, August 5, at 6:00 p.m. via online Zoom meeting. A link to the event has been emailed to students.

    This week’s session will include presentations by two student groups: the cybersecurity RedTeam and the Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE). Following, students are invited to join conversational breakout rooms with College of Computing faculty members, and advisors and representatives from College of Computing student groups. Students may move from room to room according to their interests.

    Join the Computing Bits session here.

    We really enjoyed visiting with you at the first Computing Bits sessions, so we calibrated content for this next week to emphasize discussion time with faculty. We will also have returning Computing Huskies join in conversations.

    New students: This is your chance to ask that question you’ve been wanting to ask–about computing, college, degree programs, careers, snow, pasties — anything!

    Dean Adrienne Minerick

    At the first Computing Bits session, July 29, 2020, new Assistant Professor Briana Bettin, Computer Science, and Senior Lecturer Todd Arney, Applied Computing discussed introductory Computing courses. Additional presentations included the Copper Country Coders student outreach group and conversations with department chairs Dan Fuhrmann, Applied Computing, and Linda Ott, Computer Science.

    Additional Computing Bits sessions will be scheduled in the weeks ahead; topics will be announced in advance. Sessions will include breakout rooms in which faculty members will discuss a unifying topic, such as A.I., cybersecurity, health informatics, or even “what do I need to know about computers before I start?”


    Michigan Tech Produces Best Software Engineers in U.S.

    Michigan Tech ranks 5th on a list of 13 non-ivy league schools that produce the best software engineers in the U.S., as recently published by DesignRush.

    The demand for software developers is steadily increasing, with 21% expected growth from 2018 to 2028. To help industry meet this need, DesignRush has published a list of non-ivy league schools that produce the best software engineers in the U.S.

    1. University of California, Irvine
    2. Stevens Institute of Technology
    3. California Polytechnic State University
    4. Iowa State University
    5. Michigan Technological University
    6. Milwaukee School of Engineering
    7. The University of Texas at Dallas
    8. Drexel University
    9. Auburn University
    10. Miami University
    11. Grantham University
    12. University of Louisiana Lafayette
    13. Robert Morris University

    DesignRush.com is a B2B marketplace connecting brands with agencies. DesignRush features the top agencies around the world, including the best Digital Agencies, Software Developers, Logo Design, Branding, Digital Marketing, Website Design, eCommerce Web Design Companies and more.