Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Increasing Female Participation – A CS Project Team Experience with a Difference
News from Turkey
(Ambassador: Reyyan Ayfer)

I have always dreamed of my students working with an international student team on a computing project. This dream became reality when I met Archana Chidanandan at the 2008 ITiCSE conference at Madrid. Archana is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Cary Laxer and Archana Chinandran have been carrying out such an international project course with Sweden and decided to collaborate with us too. With the support and dedicated work of my colleagues Lori Russell Dağ and İpek Sözen the project resulted in three products: A web page to teach children about their rights, a Google tool for following up the events related to child rights and games for children age 10-12 to teach them about their rights.

It was a great experience!

Students worked in teams, to analyze, design and develop software solutions for “Child Rights” for the International Children's Center (ICC) where the leaders of the center were very excited and supportive about the project.

Students from the Rose-Hulman Institute visited Bilkent with their supervisor twice during the semester for face to face meetings. At other times they communicated on line using Moodle course management system and other Internet tools like Skype, Facebook, MSN, email.Here is the news item at Bilkent News after the first visit:

And the second visit was at the end of the semester to present the final products. You can reach the finished site that includes the games from:

In addition to the successful results, what made me very happy is the representation of female CS students on the team: 6 to 5! I am sure that CS will be more attractive for female students when its use and the impact of computing in a global community is emphasized.

With my best wishes and warm regards.