Tag Archives: ureel

Computer Science Undergrads Publish Book

A World of Java Programing SmCopper Country Coders (CCCoders) is an organization that introduces local students in middle and high school to the world of computer science and programming. Michigan Tech undergraduate and graduate computer science students volunteer as instructors and mentors under the guidance of Computer Science faculty members Leo Ureel and Charles Wallace.

Last year, volunteers Marissa Walther and Shaun Flynn focused on teaching students how to develop in Java and create games using JavaFX. What began as a class assignment for CS 4099 Directed Study in Computer Science Education developed into a book based off of the CCCoders curriculum. The book, “A World of Java Programming” has since been published and is now available on Amazon.

About the authors:  Marissa is a third year Computer Science major who participates in the Husky Game Development Enterprise. She is a member of CCCoders, the Huskies Pep Band and the Superior Wind Symphony. Marissa is also a Computer Science Learning Center Coach and the office assistant for the Engineering Fundamentals Department.  Shaun is a third year Computer Engineering major. He is a project manager for Blue Marble Security Enterprise and vice president of Eta Kappa Nu (HKN). On the weekends, Shaun teaches a middle school programing class through CCCoders with Marissa. He also works as a lab assistant for CS 1121 Introduction to Programming.


Student Success in Computer Science

Redeveloping Michigan Tech’s introductory computer science courses has not been an easy feat. But for Leo Ureel, it’s meaningful work. “It’s about setting the right environment,” he says.

Humans learn best when we communicate with others. We’ve taken what we know works in industry and applied it to the classroom.

In the old model, instructors lectured, then assigned independent tasks. Teaching assistants graded the projects and returned them to students two or three weeks later. In a new model Ureel helped create, students work in groups of two to four to mimic workforce settings. “We are no longer just feeding information. Humans learn best when we communicate with others. We’ve taken what we know works in industry and applied it to the classroom,” Ureel explains.

With support from a Jackson Blended Learning Grant, Ureel implemented a web-based teaching assistant to tighten the feedback loop for students. Students submit code via a web portal and receive instant feedback. “They continue submitting work until they get it right. It’s mastery learning,” Ureel adds.

Authentic Learning Experiences

When first-year Michigan Tech student Lauren Brindley received a Google Ignite Computer Science grant to provide funding for 10 robots, Ureel knew it was an opportunity to provide a rich learning experience for students. “After graduation, it’s likely students will build robots in their careers; we’re providing real-world, hands-on learning from day one.” Ureel is developing inquiry curriculum where first-year computer science students will explore how to program the rover robots to move about the room.

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Ureel’s next challenge is to assess each first-year student to ensure they’re in the proper course. “Nonmajors often come in with little to no programming experience; meanwhile computer science majors are off and running, ready for a challenge,” Ureel says. To help several hundred students determine the best courses, Ureel is creating an online course sample so students get a taste of
course content before making any decisions.

Preliminary data indicates Ureel’s efforts are working. “Engagement, retention, and grades are improving.”


Computer Science Faculty, Students Teach Kids to Code

1481146201Charles Wallace and Leo Ureel, along with two of their graduate students and six undergraduates in Computer Science, are spending time in Houghton and Hancock schools this week, giving elementary, middle and high school students hands-on experience with computer coding.

The programs are in observance of Computer Science Education Week. They include two Hour of Code events at Houghton Elementary School, one multi-day event at Houghton High School and one at Hancock Middle School. At each Hour of Code, students learn to write code, primarily using the Scratch programming language.

“We are using a tutorial developed by Michigan Tech alumna Nichole Yarroch,” Wallace said. “We are also letting students know about Computer Science and Software Engineering degrees at Tech, as well as our Copper Country Coders group that meets on the weekends.”

This is the third year that CS faculty and students have conducted Hour of Code programs at local schools.


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).


Funding on Agile Communicators for Charles Wallace

Charles Wallace (CS) is the principal investigator on a research and development project that has received a $218,735 grant from the National Science Foundation. The title of the project is Agile Communicators: Preparing Students for Communication-Intensive Software Development through Inquiry, Critique and Reflection. Also involved with the project are Leo Ureel (CS) and Shreya Kumar (CS).



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.


Brown, Ureel Selected as C-4 Winners

Canvas courses taught by Dr. Laura Brown and Leo Ureel (CS) were selected as two of the eight spring 2015 CTL Creative Canvas Course Contest (C-4) winners. Their Canvas courses were recognized as effective by both students and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). Both instructors will have the opportunity to record  a “video tour” of their courses to share as a model for new instructors or those looking for ideas to improve their Canvas courses. Please join us in congratulating Laura and Leo on creating courses that were so well received.


Recent Grants

Philart Jeon: PI, National Health Institute. “NRI: Colloborative: Interactive Robotic Orchestration – Music-based emotion and social interaction therapy for children with ASD,” 2014-2017.

Philart Jeon: Co-PI, US DOT-OST, National University Rail Center Project. “NURail-Tier I,” 2014-2017

Robert Pastel & Charles Wallace: CI-Team, National Science Foundation.”Environmental CyberCitizens: Engaging Citizen Scientists in Global Environmental Change through Crowdsensing and Visualization,” 2011 and on-going

Laura Brown & Zhenlin Wang: Co-PI, National Science Foundation. “Adaptive Memory Resource Management in a Data Center – A Transfer Learning Approach,” 2014-2017

Leo Ureel: Recipient, Jackson Blended Learning Grant. “Canvas TA: Auto Program Feedback,” 2014-2015