Innovations and Opportunities

SIGCSE 2022 Affiliated Event by the SIGCSE Committee on Computing Education in Liberal Arts Colleges

Cross-listing courses to engage multiple departments

Contributed by Mario Nakazawa, nakazawam@berea,edu, Berea College Additional contributors (if any): None

Brief summary of topic

Cross-listed courses are a great way to encourage faculty members from different departments to work together in designing courses that synthesize the different learning outcomes of their disciplines. The principles and technology for computer science are increasingly being used in other traditionally unrelated disciplines, thus creating the need for expertise in both fields.

The areas of inquiry are varied; How do we approach trying to create such a course? Are there “best practices” for talking to colleagues who seem interested? To chairs of departments? How do we talk about teaching load and advertising to students? How do we know what topics are of interest to get enough students to register?

Description of session structure

The participants will spend the first 10 minutes to set the target outcomes and to decide 3-4 themes/topics they want to explore (such as common learning outcomes, strategies to approach chairs of different departments, how to start conversations with colleagues of possible collaborations), followed by 45-60 minutes where people discuss in small groups of 4-5 at individual tables on these topics. After that time, the participants will have an opportunity to change the topic they want to explore for another 30-45 minutes. The last 15 minutes will be spent creating drafts of deliverables to share.

There will be Google docs prepared to record the deliverables that will be shared to anyone with a link during the group discussions and wrap-up, and a copy will be created for the event coordinators to preserve the work as a snapshot of the workshop. The original document will stay accessible to the participants throughout the year as a living document that can be enhanced

Space or resource considerations

Tables, post-it notes, markers, a board to place ideas per table for those who want to jot down ideas. Because this workshop is thematic, it may be more effective for members in the teams to write their ideas down and then cluster them together physically in space before writing them into a linear format like Google Docs. Of course, that should not prevent those who wish to use their laptops or tablets to record ideas after the discussions.

During the wrap up phase, a single person from each group will volunteer to officially take notes, and they would have a laptop to record the conversation or the ideas in the post-its into the Google Doc for their topic. This doc will consist of four sections:

  1. Contact information for participants who are interested in this topic, if they choose to add it.
  2. Summary and individual ideas/notes generated during the discussion
  3. A “parking lot” for future ideas added by interested community members, initially empty but may be filled in the subsequent months
  4. A set of actions that participants can tentatively commit to doing in the coming year.

Ideal Audience for Session

Department chairs and faculty who are interested in starting conversations about or are already teaching cross-listed courses. Faculty in disciplines that do not traditionally collaborate with CS (such as the sciences, nursing, or professional) would get the most out of this experience.

Intended Outcomes or Products

Ideally, there will be a Google Doc per discussion group that will be editable by the coordinators of the workshop and viewable by anyone that has the notes from the ideation process. There will hopefully be some groups that have concrete actionable plans as the last part of their document. As living records, the community can place ideas in a section of the document functioning as a “parking lot” that may be topics for a future unconference to deepen the conversation.