Tag Archives: ott

Tech Seeking Teachers Who Want to Bring Computer Science into their Classrooms

CS4All group photoMichigan Technological University is inviting K-12 teachers and administrators to a workshop in August, to help them find ways to bring computer science and programming into their classrooms. The workshop, supported through a Google CS4HS (Computer Science for High Schools) grant, exposes teachers to exciting new ways to bring computer science into schools.

This is the third year Google has supported a computer science workshop at Michigan Tech for teachers.

“As computer technology becomes an ever more powerful and pervasive factor in our world, students need instruction in the creative problem-solving skills that are the basis of computer science,” explains Linda Ott, professor of computer science at Michigan Tech and director of the workshop. “Software design and programming skills, along with an understanding of the principles of computer systems and applications, are tremendously valuable in a wide range of future careers, and the problem-solving process of computational thinking can be used to enrich a wide range of K-12 courses. New tools and teaching materials make it possible to bring the creative spirit of computing into K-12 classrooms.”

“From a teacher’s perspective, however, bringing computer science into the classroom can seem intimidating,” Ott goes on to say. “We want to help teachers develop confidence in their own computer science literacy and help them craft a computing curriculum that meets their teaching missions.”

The workshop will cover a basic understanding of computer science principles, help teachers integrate programming into new and existing courses, disseminate K-12 computer programing course materials developed at Michigan Tech and provide tools for increasing interest in computing among young women.

Participants will receive lunches, a stipend to help with travel and other expenses and a year of assistance in course development from a Michigan Tech computer science graduate student. Out-of-town teachers will receive free accommodation at the Magnuson Franklin Square Inn.

Visit the article in Tech Today http://www.mtu.edu/ttoday/ by J. Donovan for a link on how to apply.


Creating Opportunities for Women in Computing

For Linda Ott, debugging a program is like solving a mystery. “We don’t tell girls about computing when they’re young, so they don’t see how fun computing can be,” Ott explains. “They hear about biology and chemistry, but computing seems abstract.” And very few middle and high schools have computing courses or instructors. “Girls don’t see role models,” she adds.

Computer science is no longer lone individuals sitting in a dark room on a computer. It’s vibrant, team-based, and a lot more fun.

Ott studied computer science at Purdue University in the 1970s—a time when there were few other female computing scholars. At Michigan Tech, she is
devoted to giving more women the opportunity to discover computing.

Ott observes that when girls do have the chance to program—to create something out of nothing—they often really enjoy the experience. “It’s problem solving. They get to express ideas by writing code.”

With a grant from the Jackson National Life Insurance Company, in 2014 Ott helped restart the Women in Computer Science Summer Program. She is integral in the fundraising, curriculum, instruction, and coordination of the weeklong program that offers 36 girls from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania the chance to discover computer science.

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Through the National Center for Women and Information Technology Pacesetters, Ott works with a cohort of academic and industry professionals who are committed to dedicating resources, brainstorming, and marketing to recruit more women into the computing fields. “There’s a spectrum of possibilities for women in computing—they may work in the user experience end or be involved as a project manager,” Ott says.

Through her work with students, Ott observes that typical computer science job descriptions are obsolete and career assessments can be misguiding. “Women might not enter this field because an assessment directs them to other areas. What they don’t realize is the wide array of skills useful in this field.” She has convinced NCWIT to take a look at this problem—and to reevaluate career assessments, too.

“Computer science is no longer lone individuals sitting in a dark room on a computer. It’s vibrant, team-based, and a lot more fun.”


Teachers plan to educate computer sciences to all ages

Tech+WorkshopHOUGHTON Teachers are spreading knowledge of computer science into their classrooms. More than 30 teachers are on Michigan Tech’s campus to learn how.

A three day workshop is taking place for teachers from all grade levels across the state and surrounding areas. They’re learning the basic understanding of computer science. Including programming and coding. Teachers are also being taught how to increase interest in computer science among girls.

“More women are becoming involved because they’re required to take computer science and they discover that they enjoy programming,” said workshop instructor, Linda Ott.

“When they’re not required to take it they often shy away from it and they don’t realize that they might be interested.”

Read more at Upper Michigan’s Source, by Aleah Hordges.


Linda Ott blogs on STEM

linda-garden-small

Linda Ott, Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Special Initiatives in the College of Sciences and Arts, was welcomed as a guest blogger on STEMconnector.org.

STEMconnector.org seeks to bring science, technology, engineering, and math educators a way to connect their ideas to improve STEM education. In The Thrill of Computer Science For All, Ott details her excitement around President Obama’s initiative to expand K-12 computer science education funding.

“We can make a difference more quickly through a concerted effort to attract more students today.  Here are some of the things we are doing at Michigan Tech.  Perhaps others will find inspiration here for immediate action:

If all of us involved in computing do something—help advise a local FIRST Robotics team, teach a Saturday class on programming at a local library, talk to a local Girl Scout troop, invite area students and parents to see how you actually use programming—there will be an immediate impact.”


Pacesetters and Michigan Tech

Linda Ott Pacesetters
Interview with Linda Ott

University selected for program targeted at women in computer science

HOUGHTON — A national organization is committed to inspiring young women to enter the field of Computer Science and Michigan Tech is taking part in the effort.

Michigan Tech Professor Computer Science Dr. Linda Ott said, “We’re faced with a situation that most students haven’t had the opportunity to learn anything about computer science. They may have used computing but they haven’t been part of creating new software, creating computing tools and things like that.”

Read more and watch the video at ABC 10 UP News, by Rick Allen.

Three Michigan Universities Receive Pacesetters Awards to Attract More Women to Computer Science

Michigan Technological University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan have been selected for the National Center of Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Pacesetters program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Google and Qualcomm. Pacesetters is a 2-year program under which participating institutions develop aggressive and measurable goals for increasing the number of women in the US computing and technology workforce.

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Jennifer Donovan.


Ott Quoted in GoodCall

Linda Ott
Linda Ott

Professor Linda Ott (CS) is quoted extensively in an article on GoodCall, a website on education and consumer news, in an article on what factors predict success in a career in computer science.

From Tech Today.

Recent Survey Predicts Whether You Would Do Well in Computer Science

“A high percentage of the high school women who apply to our Women in Computer Science summer workshop are involved in music, and many are very accomplished musicians.” Ott says that campus musical groups will frequently have a disproportionately high number of computing majors as compared to other majors.

“I have heard numerous stories from young women who were surprised to discover how much they enjoyed coding.” Ott says that sometimes this occurred in a required computing course, but since most K-12 students are not required to take a computer science course, it usually occurs in an informal educational setting, such as a summer math or science camp, or an after school program.

Read more at GoodCall, by Terri Williams.


K-12 Teachers Computer Science Workshop at Tech

Google Computer Science for High SchoolTwenty school teachers from across Michigan will be at Michigan Tech for a three-day workshop Monday through Wednesday.

The workshop, called CS4all, will help teachers learn to integrate computer science and computational thinking into their classrooms.

Sponsored by grants from Google, the workshop is the first step toward establishing an online “community of practice” to introduce computer science principles into schools.

The workshop will cover topics such as What is Computational Thinking, Student Engagement Activities, Encouraging Diversity in Computing and Computing Careers in Local Industry.

A guest speaker, Shannon Houtrouw, is part of Tuesday morning’s program. He is a former professor and software systems engineer who has taught computer science at the Kalamazoo Area Math Science Center, a magnet school.

“Preparing students for life in a fully computerized 21st century is one of the most important problems facing educators today,” says Leo Ureel, a lecturer in computer science at Michigan Tech and organizer of the workshop. “We are working to build a grassroots community of K-12 teachers who will support each other in achieving this goal.”

Ureel and two other Tech computer science faculty members, Associate Professor Charles Wallace and Professor Linda Ott, will teach the workshop.

CS4ALL CS4ALL CS4ALL CS4ALL

Michigan teachers learn all about computer science in Houghton

“Computer science is solely lacking from most k-12 educational opportunities,” says Michigan Tech University’s Computer Sciences Associate Dean, Linda Ott. “Particularly in the upper peninsula, very few schools offer any programming.”

Read more and watch the video at Upper Michigan’s Source, by Aleah Hordges.

Tech hosts computer science workshop for K-12 teachers

HOUGHTON – Computer science is one of the most useful skills a student can acquire as they prepare for the world.

Classes began with basic coding skills, including visual programming, where they input code not through language command, but by manipulating graphical elements.

“It’s easier to use, and it’s great for students, because the pieces of the code fit together like puzzle pieces, so you know if you’re putting things together correctly,” said Linda Ott, professor of computer science at Michigan Technological University and associate dean for special initiatives of the College of Sciences and Arts.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese (subscription required).



CS4ALL 2015: Workshop for Teaching Computer Science in K-12 Classroom

Google Computer Science for High SchoolCS4ALL Workshop

Michigan Tech, August 17-19, 2015

APPLICATION: Deadline is June 25, 2015.

WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE: Upper Peninsula teachers and administrators interested in teaching computer science and programming in their school or classroom.

COST: Attendance is free.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT: Meals will be provided while the workshop is in session. A stipend will be provided to cover travel and other expenses. Free accommodations are available for out of town participants.

FOLLOW UP SUPPORT: One year of assistance in CS instruction and course development from a Michigan Tech Computer Science graduate student.

Visit the Michigan Tech CS4ALL workshop website and apply for participation.

If you have questions about the workshop, please contact Prof. Charles Wallace at wallace@mtu.edu.

This workshop is made possible through a Google CS4HS grant. Learn more about Google Computer Science for High School.

Google Grant Supports Computer Science Training for Teachers

Three Michigan Tech faculty members have received a Google Computer Science for High School grant to develop a UP-wide community of K-12 teachers trained to teach computer science and programming.

Faculty members who developed this initiative and received the Google grant are Professor Linda Ott (CS), Associate Professor Charles Wallace (CS) and Lecturer Leo Ureel II (CS).

Google, like other Silicon Valley tech companies, is actively promoting computational thinking as a skill that needs to be taught to pre-college students.

The kick-off event is a workshop for K-12 teachers on computer science and computational thinking, August 17-19 at Michigan Tech.

The workshop is free and includes meals, a hotel room for teachers from out of town, a stipend to help cover travel expenses and a year of support from Michigan Tech’s Computer Science Department for computer science course development and instruction.

The workshop will begin with basic computer science principles, so teachers with little or no computer science experience are eligible. Up to 40 teachers can attend.

One of the workshop’s goals is to help teachers integrate computer programming into new or existing courses.

From Tech Today, by Jennifer Donovan.


Linda Ott appointed Associate Dean in CSA

Linda Ott
Linda Ott

The College of Sciences and Arts is very pleased to announce the appointment of Linda Ott as associate dean for special initiatives, focusing on diversity in computing. Ott’s appointment signals a renewed effort to increase the diversity of students in computing and information. The under-representation of women and ethnic minorities has been little affected by significant national efforts to introduce changes—indeed, there has been some backsliding on earlier gains.

National attention for the difficulties came from recent attention to the poor record of largest firms in Silicon Valley in recruiting and retaining women in these firms. Michigan Tech, like many universities, has worked steadily to increase the number of women enrolled in computer science, software engineering and computer engineering, but the five-year average enrollment of women stands at only 7.5 percent of the total student population in computer-related degree programs. Morevoer the situation has changed only a little since 2009. Clearly, progress is elusive.

Ott’s appointment will bring much more energy to efforts to recruit a more diverse population of students into computing fields. Bruce Seely, dean of the college, notes how the appointment builds off Ott’s long-standing commitment to addressing the lack of diversity in the field. Over the past two years, Linda led the effort to bring Michigan Tech into the Pacesetters progam of the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT). And for a much longer time she has engaged in activities with the Summer Youth Program and other outreach efforts at the state-level to raise the awareness of female students concerning the opportunity in computing. Seely noted that “Linda is perfectly positioned to explore and help implement ways to bring more students from diverse backgrounds to campus. This is her true passion.” She will continue these programmatic efforts and outreach initiatives while also studying the lower retention and persistence rates for all students—not just women—pursuing Tech degrees in computer science, computer engineering, network and systems administration and software engineering. In addition, she will compare and benchmark Tech’s efforts against other schools and national patterns, understand the retention of students in computing-related fields and seek external funding to support programs to address these issues.

Because many groups on campus are working on these questions, Ott will collaborate with different groups on campus, including academic departments, schools and colleges, admissions, development, alumni relations, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and WISE.

By allowing her to devote all of her time and effort to these tasks, Seely added, he hopes Michigan Tech can make real progress on diversity. “I am thrilled Linda is going to devote her time and energy to these important and challenging problems.”

She will begin her efforts Monday, March 16.

From Tech Today, by College of Sciences and Arts.