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October 24, 2013

National Science Foundation awards $1M to CSU professors

By Robert Bray

A team of professors at Cleveland State University were awarded a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
The purpose of the grant is to fund the training of teachers to instruct a new standardized AP course in computer science in high schools.

Training will provide a more effective way of educating students at the high-school level about computing.
The set of school partners will be identified once the project begins but they know for sure that they will be working with Cleveland schools.

“We have also a couple of school districts in Northwest Ohio and a couple in Southeast Ohio that will participate as well,” said Dr. Nigamanth Sridhar, associate professor of CSU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

He’s leading the group as principal investigator. There are four other professors collaborating on the Computing in Secondary Schools project.

They are Dr. Santosh Misra, chair of CSU’s Department of Computer and Information Science; Dr. Debbie Jackson, associate professor of STEM teacher education; Dr. Karla Hamlen, assistant professor of educational research; and Dr. Beth Simon of the University of California, San Diego.

The CISS project is a joint effort by the NSF and the U.S. Department of Education to train 10,000 computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the United States.

For computer science teachers in secondary schools, the focus will be on increasing participation among minorities and women.
“What we’re going to do is train 8 teachers for a year,” said Dr. Misra.

The first group of teachers will attend an introductory workshop in the summer of 2014, and will receive follow-up support throughout the year.

The project also will create an online course on computer science education to train a large number of other teachers who interested also in teaching computer science.

Both the groups are going to get the same training with the only difference between the two groups being that the first group will learn face to face and also be committed to teach immediately.

The second group may not teach immediately but they are expected to teach as soon as their schools are able to offer the courses.

They will also provide support for the teachers by building an electronic site where teachers along with the whole population can post their experiences, also there will be technical support.

“The concept will be like a call center,” said Dr. Misra.
The CISS program was developed with the help of CSU’s Fenn College of Engineering, Monte Ahuja College of Business, College of Education and Human Services, and CSU’s Office of Research.