Location

Stanford, CA

Keywords

introductory programming, belonging, broadening participation, retention

Abstract

A brief social-belonging intervention was tested in two introductory computer science (CS) courses. This intervention used storytelling to help improve a sense of belonging and establish the importance of persistence in the classroom. In previous experiments using this one-time intervention, there were significant results (Walton & Brady, 2017). Recent CS graduates were interviewed about their own struggles and failures in their computer science courses. These interviews were videotaped and edited to follow the storytelling pattern of a struggle, followed by an attribution, and concluding with redemption. Interviewees were selected to represent a diverse group of students including both dominant majority and under-represented minority populations. Storytelling videos (as well as control videos) were viewed by approximately 300 introductory-level students during small group recitation-like sessions. Survey data was collected that measured student’s perception of their own belonging to the field of CS. Additionally, students were asked to respond to mock scenarios, gathering data on their attitudes and beliefs on how much other students belong in CS. This paper focuses on the design and implementation of this type of intervention, including a sample transcript of some of the stories. It also summarizes the preliminary results from testing this out in the summer 2018 term. Quantitative results are presented based on students who saw the storytelling videos and those who did not. Also, open ended responses are summarized to demonstrate the effectiveness of this intervention.

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A Storytelling, Social-Belonging Intervention in an Introductory Computer Science Course

Stanford, CA

A brief social-belonging intervention was tested in two introductory computer science (CS) courses. This intervention used storytelling to help improve a sense of belonging and establish the importance of persistence in the classroom. In previous experiments using this one-time intervention, there were significant results (Walton & Brady, 2017). Recent CS graduates were interviewed about their own struggles and failures in their computer science courses. These interviews were videotaped and edited to follow the storytelling pattern of a struggle, followed by an attribution, and concluding with redemption. Interviewees were selected to represent a diverse group of students including both dominant majority and under-represented minority populations. Storytelling videos (as well as control videos) were viewed by approximately 300 introductory-level students during small group recitation-like sessions. Survey data was collected that measured student’s perception of their own belonging to the field of CS. Additionally, students were asked to respond to mock scenarios, gathering data on their attitudes and beliefs on how much other students belong in CS. This paper focuses on the design and implementation of this type of intervention, including a sample transcript of some of the stories. It also summarizes the preliminary results from testing this out in the summer 2018 term. Quantitative results are presented based on students who saw the storytelling videos and those who did not. Also, open ended responses are summarized to demonstrate the effectiveness of this intervention.