Could the Humanities Separate our STEM Degree Programs from Bootcamps?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Anne-Marie Núñez, Professor of Educational Studies at The Ohio State University, joined the podcast to talk about the ethical questions our society asks STEM technologists to determine for us today, and whether or not they have the global citizenship awareness to answer them well. 

A lot of individuals do go into sciencewanting to address social problems and the curriculum may be less culturallyrelevant and allow less opportunity for that kind of exploration, you're,listening to enrolment growth, university from helic education, thebest professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking togrow in Roman at their college or university, whether you're looking forfresh and Roman growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources.You've come to the right place. Let's get into the show, welcome back to enrolment growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network, I'm EricOlesome with helic education and we're here today with Dr Anne Marine Nones,professor of educational studies at the Ohio State University Dor Noney, haswelcomed the show. Thank you. So much really excited to talk with you todayabout a big potential value prop for our stam computer science andtechnology programs in comparison with coding, BOOT camps and other altocredential providers. But before we dig into that, can you give the listeners alittle bit of background on on both the Ohio State University and your rolethere? Yes, the Ohio State University is the only urban land grant universityactually in the country and one of the largest universities in the country aswell- and I am, as you said, a professor of educational studies thereand my emphasis is in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program,so I work with students who want to work with college students, whetherthat be in residence, false or in advising or in multi cultural affairs,and also with students who want to becomescholars of higher education or who want to pursue policy work in that areagreat background. For this conversation, I'm convinced you, the right person tobe leading this conversation to kick soft taaken Nias. Can you give this ahigh level overview of in a reminder, perhaps of the ethical questions thatour society is currently asking technologists to determine for us today?Yes, so I think one question that is really important is: What's the purposeof technology in the first place. So if we're thinking about a givenapplication, is it really necessary to have that kind of technology? So a lotof times there's an assumption right, like a technology optimism thattechnology can address a lot of problems, but is it really needed inthe first place? Are there other approaches because there's a non humanelement that can be introduced that can lead to a lack of humanistic controlthat can lead to some ethical issues that we've certainly seen in the news?Another one would just be: What are the potential unintended negativeconsequences or ethical implications of...

...a given technology, and so once thoseare identified, what crins of steps can be taken to mitigate those so, forexample, algorithmic bias there off, for example, as an advising programright now with analytics that predicts black and Hispanic students as highrisk for leaving stuff fields, and if advisors are relying on that. Inaddition to other information, they may be advising black and Hispanic studentsout of stunt fields and losing talent that otherwise, you know, might havemade a contribution and the stem fields. So how can, in this case, algorithmicbias be minimized, and even there was even a case at the University of TexasAustin, where their graduate department of Computer Science was using analgorithm in its submissions process and they found that it might be biased,and this is the computer science department and still they stopped usingit in favor of other information. So I think that those are really keatequestions and I think I'll probably turn back to this, but just reallybroadly, how can social, humanistic and moral context be integrated intotechnology? Work is really. How do we bring in that context in order to maketop technology that is more humane and won't have as many unintended negativeconsequences? I think one of my bigges when reviewing your research was notjust this realization of remembrance about the ethical decisions were askingtechnologies to make, but potentially what kind of people were tracking tothese fields? What is your research say about how computer science studentsshift their beliefs on things like a global citizenship during their degreeprogram in comparison to other kinds of mmajors? Well, Arake, forgin, a reallyinteresting question. So our research didn't address sort of what studentsactually wait. We did do pretest and post test. So, yes, actually we didcontrol. There may have been some more sophisticated factors that we didn'tcontrol for, but basically what we found is that in this globalcitizenship measure, which is four measures, it integrates like fourattribute statements for students reporting, I am actively working tofuster justice in the world. I frequently think about the globalproblems of our time and how I will contribute to resolving that. The thirdis I'm currently taking steps to improve the lives of others, and thefourth is I'm actively learning about people across the globe who holddifferent re, religious and cultural perspective from me. So we had thatmeasure in the survey than then the National Study of college students at ahundred and twenty two institutions...

...around the country we surveyed them intheir first year and then at the end of their college careers and most majors.We were able to disaggregated this data by major, which, in and of itself, isvery helpful for understanding. You know different departments anddifferent programs, most majors improved a particular measure right,you know most of them we had a bark shard and most of the you know, bars swent up and for computer scientists not only did they decline, but theydeclined the most, and so it could be that they come inand then you know the the college. Education doesn't help them, and youknow, then their beliefs decline even more or their global citizenship skillsdecline. It's something that they're encountering in the curriculum that youknow, they're not being exposed to the same sorts of skill, building andcurriculum that some of the students and the other majors might be exposedto that's what we're sort of exploring yeah and your kind of exploration iswhere my mind went in terms of what's the chicken versus the egg here. Arethese inherently more solitary people? Is that why they like the independenttype of pursuit like computer science, just computer science, some coding leadto a greater focus on the individual versus the collective? I guess I'mcurious, as you and your team talk those things out, and you come to anytheories that you like the most behind those findings. So it's important toknow again that that their global citizenships fore declined. So even ifthey came in with you know, expressing a certain level of global citizenship,it actually declined over four years, so there's something that might not begoing on in the curriculum for them that could be going on in other majors,and so one of them is just that. Computer Science is a veryindividualistic and competitive major, even more so than some of the otherscience technology, engineering and Mathmatics and medicine. You knowpremed it's even more individualistic than some of those. There are someweadock that sometimes students, you know, can'tmake it past certain kinds of introductory classes that might noteven necessarily be important for pursuing computer science. So sometimesit's hard to change college curricula. There may be like outdated math courses,a curricula having been updated, and if students fail those and theirrequirements, they may not be able to...

...continue in that particular field. Ithink also something else to remember is that even in comparison with othermajors computer science tends to have a more rigid course sequence so, likethere are fewer oportunity es for computer science, majors to takeelectives and so students. You know I readrecommendations that students take more electives but a lot of times thereisn't room in their schedule, but what I could say even more importantly, thata lot of programs in computer science do have an ethics class, but thatethics class is often separate from the rest of the course work. So what I meanis you know, students may take this sort of ethics class on the side, buttheir course work and their assignments. I may not incorporate the or integrateapplying ethics to technical matters, so I think the lack of integration.There is a challenge in terms of developing globalcitizenship and then I think also a lot of individuals do go into sciencewanting to address social problems and the curriculum may be less culturallyrelevant and allow less opportunity for that kind of exploration. So I thinkthat there are several issues going on in the culture of departments and thediscipline that shape these particular trends. Yeah, like how you phrase thatas an opportunity that we have this integrative opportunity for thesestudents and when I think about how there are many students right now whoare thinking about a for your computer science degree versus a eight to twelvemonth coding, Bood camp and determining the value there they're making a valuechoice. But for us and the research that you have have found for us, weobviously see an opportunity here that we are potentially graduating thesecomputer science students with a big gap is this, where higher ed can shouldthink about positioning ourselves that, rather than trying to compete againstthe boot camps, we should really understand the difference, and perhaps,instead of adding more coating languages to our curriculum, we hadmore humanities. Instead. That's a great question does actually part I'm ascholar of higher education and the other people that I wrote that peacewith are also scholars of higher education. So your question is whatmotivated us right to write this piece and and then higher education itself incomparison with more narrow, targeted...

...programs like coin boot camps does havethe opportunity and more flexibility and to re imagine what computingeducation looks like. That's really one of its strength that you haveprofessors from different disciplines, social sciences, humanities andcomputer science, other stem fields who can come together and really perhapsrethink the curriculum, and that is going on at some places around thecountry. So I think that that's really important for higher education to keepin mind that higher education when done what we think it is in a more growthoriented way, focuses holistic, ally on the whole student and so computingcurricula can definitely be re imagined to address the whole student to agreater degree. So I think you ask the question: should more humanities berequired and I think, in an ideal world, more humanities should be required inreality. So you know where we are right now, I'mthinking about little next steps were a lot of computer science. Programs areright now I was alluding to this earlier. There isn't a lot of room forelectives, there's not there's, definitely more rigid course sequencesthan in other majors, in other words, just really fundamentally lessflexibility to add in humanities and so that kind of additive approach. Whilein an ideal world it made sense in reality, it's hard to carve out thatspace in terms of requirements in the curriculum. So what's most realistic,is to integrate within the existing curriculum, some classes that haveassignments that focus on, for example, in some of the campuses I visited thatserve a lot of latine students. Perhaps they have culturally relevantassignments like generating a program that translates language into Spanishor opportunities like that. That, I think, are good to keep in mind. Thatkind of flexibility is something that computer science curricula can address,and one more I'm Goin t say one more thing: That I've observed in thecampuses that I visited that sometimes having one credit courses instead ofthe typical three R or four unit classes, can also provide kind ofshorter term career, oriented or supplemental material that might exposestudents to other areas other than technically whatthey're learning. I love that you're...

...bringing us back to practical nextsteps, because there's so much to take from this, including despair anddespondence. I love that you're talking us off the ledge here and maybe maybeleave us there so for those institutions. Listening thinking aboutthis research thinking about how should they approach developing rethinkingtheir existing stem program curriculum, given the current constraints thatyou're hyper aware of what are some of those baby next steps as they bringthis conversation to you know the curriculum experts at their university.So it's really important to emphasize here that the talent pool for jobs inthe US, the demographic of the US, are changing and so consider that bythousand and forty five no racial and mic group is going to be in themajority and higher education and computer science in particular, havebeen designed from a more white dominant standpoint right thatprivileges, male perspectives. If we think about you know, the way is thatinstitutions like Harvard were founded, so I'm burning in history because it'simportant to kind of re imagine this to how can stem environments be designedto support women and people of Color, who might not see themselves reflectedin their faculty right? They might not have as much exposure to role miles. Itmay be harder for them to imagine themselves as scientists, so someimportant strategies and I'm going to talk a little bit about a program that I have been involved inresearching and that's the Computing Alliance of Hispanic servinginstitutions and for listeners who may not know about Hispanic servinginstitutions. Those are federally designated institutions that enrolltwenty five percent or more latine students, and so I've been working withthe network of over forty of Cassius. The acronym Computing Alliance ofHispanic serving institutions and I've been working with them and here some ofthe things that I've seen them engage in, and these are also born out byother research and other literature, so just to create more welcomingenvironments for students to create more welcoming cultures. And whatinteresting thing I should plan out is that I've been also involved in workwith minority serving institutions, more generally, but sometimes evencomputers, computer science and Stefens within those institutions. Studentsreport less welcome climates, so there's something going on in thediscipline to right or the department, so engaging in strategies that havebeen shown to be effective for women...

...and people of Color is important andmeeting those strategies into the curriculum, and so this could be activelearning. You know active problem solving and since a lot of women andpeople of color might be drawn to stem fields to address the CITL problems,maybe active learning involves some kind of you know assignment to addressa problem. That's going on out in the world that involves their communities.Another one is collaborative learning, so integrating more team work intoassignment and that I know earlier. I talked about how computer science tendsto be a very competitive environment, and so involving teamwork, can e someof the competitiveness and promote collaborative thinking and cooperation that actually employerswant to see a right that those kind of skills and then, as I was talking aboutearlier, culturally responsive approaches that allow students to seethemselves in the curriculum- and I can absolutely hear listeners say well. Howdo we do that with computer science? Well, in some of the Hispanic Serviceinstitutions that I've observed? I already talked about an example wherethe professor asked students to translate the program, develop aprogram to translate English and to Spanish or to generate Spanish orientedmusic. So there was one where the professors had students develop aprogram to play salsa, so there are ways that it can be integrated thatthat students backgrounds can be integrated, also, internship offeringsstudents opportunities to participate in internship with industry. So thisnetwork that I work with, does have opportunities to for students to workat Google and other related employers, whether they be local or national, andI think also, if institution so, allowing. I guess what I should say.Maybe allowing internship credits trying to sort of weave that, in as aform of active and experiential Learnin and also hiring more diverse faculty,is really important, and institutions have to be very intentional about this.But one of the other things that I'm also observing with the network thatI'm working with is that that, in the departments faculty can maybe developnational networks where they're exposing students to students in otherinstitutions who are also working in...

...computer side. So students might bemore likely to see faculty or students like themselves, and that is somethingthat higher education in comparison to coding, Boot Ham, I mean building thosesocial networks is stuff. Something that higher education can facilitate.So I think that those are some important issues to think about. Ithink another one is rethinking certain classes that might be weeto classes,whether it be revising pataca in those classes or whether it be getting rid of the classes right comingup with different kinds of requirements, just rethinking what is it thatstudents really need and want to know- and I think I'm also just going to addas well- to provide opportunities for students to form their own associationsaround these issues. So, for example, I've seen students in departments that,with these classes, that may not have a lot of team work right, but, like maynot have a lot of what I'm talking about. Whoever these students willsometimes might form a professional club themselves and they might form agaming club and they've told me. Well we in our gaming club, we do somethingtogether and we make friends and that helps us with study groups and thathelps up with the team work. The employers want- and I could a conclude, maybewith mentioning that, because I also think that that's something that highereducation can uniquely offer. You mentioned the stem curriculum, but theCO curriculum as well is what higher education can offer. That's broader, DrNonius. Thank you so much for your time and your thoughts today. What's thebest place for listeners to connect with you if they have any follow upquestions, so you can reach me by email and my email is Nunez, a zero at OsuDot Edu and you can see what I'm up to on my website: Anne Marine Nunas, AnneMarie and UNESCO awesome buckies thanks so much for joining us today. Thank youso much Eric attracting today's new post, traditional learners, meansadopting new enrolment strategies. helic educations data driven enterprise,wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new education landscape and he lox has justpublished the second edition of their enrollment growth play book with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing, enrolment growth challenges download it today for free at HelosEducation Com play book,...

...you've been listening to enrolmentgrowth university from helic education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Iton or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time. I.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (217)