CPACE Publications and Resources

Project Publications

Aligning Computing Education with Engineering Workforce Needs:

2009 Business and Industry Report

April, 2009

To identify the workforce computational skills needed by the engineering workforce, the CPACE research team conducted interviews with 28 small to large public and private employers across various industries within Michigan and surveyed 181 engineering employees working in these companies.

Industry Report Executive Summary Three page executive summary; PDF 

CPACE Business Industry Report Full report, 28 pages; PDF

Conference Publications

Frontiers in Education, 2009

Vergara, C. E., Urban-Lurain, M., Dresen, C., Coxen, T., MacFarlane, T., Frazier, K., et al. (2009, October 18-21). Aligning Computing Education with Engineering Workforce Computational Needs: New Curricular Directions to Improve Computational Thinking in Engineering Graduates. Paper to be presented at the Frontiers in Education, San Antonio, TX.

Abstract

In this global economy, the preparation of a globally competitive U.S.workforce with knowledge and understanding of critical computing concepts is essential. Our CPACE (Collaborative Process to Align Computing Education with Engineering Workforce Needs) vision is to revitalize undergraduate computing education within the engineering and technology fields. Our objective is to design and implement a process to engage stakeholders from multiple sectors and identify the computational tools and problem-solving skills and define how these skills - directly informed by industry needs - can be integrated across disciplinary curricula. By explicitly integrating computing concepts and disciplinary problem solving, engineering graduates will enter the workforce with improved and practice-ready computational thinking that will enhance their problem-solving and design skills. We present the analysis of the computational skills and the strategies that we are using to map the workforce problem-solving requirements onto the foundational computer science principles. We outline the framework that we are using to identify opportunities for curricular integration between computer science concepts and the disciplinary engineering curricula. By documenting, evaluating, and making the process explicit, this process can serve as a model for national efforts to strengthen undergraduate computing education in engineering.

FIE 2009 PowerPoint Presentation. PowerPoint slides from FIE 2009 Meeting

American Society of Engineering Education, 2009

Vergara, C. E., Urban-Lurain, M., Dresen, C., Coxen, T., MacFarlane, T., Frazier, K., et al. (2009, June 14-17). Leveraging workforce needs to inform curricular change in computing education for engineering: The CPACE project. Paper presented at the ASEE Conference and Exposition, Austin, TX.

ASEE PowerPoint Presentation PowerPoint slides from ASEE presentation; PDF.

Abstract

Traditionally, industry computational needs have been couched in terms of proficiency with specific applications rather than around functional computational capabilities. In this global economy, the preparation of a globally competitive U.S. workforce with knowledge and understanding of critical computing concepts, methodologies, and techniques is essential. A Collaborative Process to Align Computing Education with Engineering Workforce Needs (CPACE) is an NSF-funded community-building initiative that brings together Michigan State University (MSU) in partnership with Lansing Community College (LCC) and the Corporation for Skilled Workforce (CSW) to design and implement a process to transform undergraduate computing education within the engineering and technology fields. We envision that this process will serve as a model for national efforts to revitalize undergraduate computing education in engineering.

In this paper we detail the process we developed to engage a wide variety of stakeholders - business, community leaders and post-secondary educators - to collaborate on research to identify computational skills needed by the engineering workforce. We also discuss the results from our employer interviews and employee surveys. The aim of these analyses is to determine the stakeholder's assessments of the computational skills needs in their business sectors.

Frontiers in Education, 2008

Vergara, C. E., Urban-Lurain, M., Briedis, D., Buch, N., LaPrad, J., Paquette, L., et al. (2008, October 22-25). Work in Progress - Computing and Undergraduate Engineering: A Collaborative Process to Align Computing Education with Engineering Workforce Needs (CPACE). Paper presented at the Frontiers in Education, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Abstract

This NSF-funded community-building (CB) project brings together Michigan State University (MSU), Lansing Community College (LCC), and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) to design and implement a process to create a collaborativelydefined undergraduate computing education within the engineering and technology fields in alignment with the computational problem-solving abilities needed to transform mid-Michigan's economy and workforce. In this WIP we outline the process we are developing to ensure that a wide variety of stakeholders - business, community leaders and post secondary educators - collaborate to identify workforce computational skills, define how these skills can be integrated across a curriculum, and develop revised curricula that integrate computational problem-solving across engineering departmental courses. By documenting, evaluating and making the process explicit, this process can serve as a model for national efforts to revitalize undergraduate computing education in engineering, and should be extensible to other computing education reform efforts.

Project Resources & Research Tools

Great Principles in Computing

Peter Denning: Great Principles of Computing, Communications of the ACM,  November 2003/Vol. 46, No. 11, p. 15

Peter Denning's Great Principles of Computing web site: contains elaborations of the above article and other links 

Computational Thinking

Jeanette Wing: Computational Thinking, Communications of the ACM March 2006/Vol. 49, No. 3, p 33

Jeanette Wing: Computational Thinking and Thinking about Computing. Video in the Evening Lecture Series Human Machine Cognition

Articles

What should we teach new software developers? Why? Bjarne Stroustrup Communications of the ACM Vol. 53 No. 1, Pages 40-42

The Research Agenda for the New Discipline of Engineering Education. Journal of Engineering Education October 2006

Computing Education Blog

 Adele Goldberg: Modeling not programing: From Adele Goldberg's chapter "Alan Kay and the Search for the Holy Grail" in Points of View: A Tribute to Alan Kay

Computing Research Association Report: The CRA-E report on issues critical to the future of CS Education was presented and released at the Snowbird meeting last month. 

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