Monday, November 01, 2010
11:00 AM
Computer Studies Bldg. Room 209
Dr. Susan Horwitz
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Using Peer-Led Team Learning to Increase Participation and Success of Under-Represented Groups in Introductory Computer Science
Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL), involves students working cooperatively in small groups run by a trained undergraduate student leader. As part of a collaborative NSF project, PLTL was used in introductory computer-science classes at eight universities starting in the fall of 2004. The main goals were to help increase the participation and success of women and minority students. There have been some impressive results:

o We succeeded in attracting under-represented students who would not otherwise have taken a computer-science course.

o Participation in our program significantly improved retention rates and grades, especially for women.

o Students in the program, as well as the students who served as peer leaders, are uniformly enthusiastic about their experience.

This talk will describe our experiences with PLTL, including how to start your own program, and some hands-on sample group exercises. Susan Horwitz received her Ph.D in Computer Science from Cornell University in 1985. She has been on the faculty of the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin since September, 1985, serving as Associate Chair from 2004 to 2007.

BIO: Professor Horwitz's research has mainly focused on the design and implementation of language-based programming tools that help programmers understand, debug, test, and restructure existing programs, as well as to create new programs by specializing and combining pieces of old programs. This work has included the design of new static-analysis algorithms, including new algorithms for program slicing, on-demand dataflow analysis, clone detection, and the analysis of programs with pointers.

Professor Horwitz has received many research and teaching awards, and has given numerous invited talks about her research at conferences, universities, and industrial research labs. She received an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1989 and her research has been funded by ARPA and NSF since 1986.

Refreshments will be provided at 10:45 AM