There's a Class for That!
Computer Science faculty members Asst. Prof. Suleyman Uludag and Associate Prof. Stephen Turner collaborated with UM-Flint student Murat Karakus on research and a paper that received a Meritorious Paper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in late October.
The paper titled “Implementing IT0/CS0 with Scratch, App Inventor for Android, and Lego Mindstorms” is an outline for a proposed course to help attract students to the area of computer science, and help reverse the trend of declining enrollment and interest in computing fields.
“Another goal of the project is for the non-majors,” according to Uludag. “It is generally agreed that in today’s digital world familiarity with computing and Information Technology (IT) beyond a mere usage is a requirement in order to effectively and confidently participate and contribute regardless of the area of study.”
In developing the course proposal, the trio selected to build it on what was already familiar for many students even before coming to campus: Android and Lego Mindstorm.
The research for the paper was started in January 2011. Uludag admits that working with a student “has been great and very rewarding.”
“Sometimes, it feels like ‘Students are from Saturn and Professors are from Pluto.’ With his involvement, especially in this kind of pedagogical research, we were able to keep the students’ perspective in focus more actively without losing track,” recalled Uludag. “His (Karakus) research also revealed that there is not a good, comprehensive published work that can summarize, classify, and analyze the introductory computing material to majors and non-majors. That’s going to be our future work.”
For student Murat Karakus, working on a paper with faculty proved to be a major learning experience-especially since this was his first paper.
“I acquired experience in research methods, literature review, the peer-review process, and of course, the very useful conference and its presentations and discussions,” said Karakus. “This
research experience and peer-reviewed paper with the award will help tremendously for getting admittance into a doctoral program.”
Karakus admits that he and other students would like to see a Computer Science doctoral program developed at UM-Flint.
Funding will be requested from the National Science Foundation to enhance and expand the program beyond the university to high schools and community colleges.
For those eager to get their hands on this programming environment, this Winter semester Professor Uludag will be offering a new Master’s course with minimal prerequisites (CIS 525 – Wireless and Mobile Computing) that utilizes Google App Inventor for Android.
Take a moment to read the actual Uludag-Turner-Karakus paper and ask yourself…
What world-changing app would you create?
Submit your inventive ideas, brainstorms, and breakthroughs to Pillars!