Getting CS undergraduates to communicate effectively

Andreas Karatsolis, Iliano Cervasato, Khaled Harras, Yonina Cooper, Kemal Oflazer, Nael Abu-Ghazaleh, Thierry Sans

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the last decade or so, the ACM, the IEEE and other organizations have acknowledged that there is a problem with the way communication is taught in the Computer Science curriculum: the writing, speaking, and presentation skills students learn in the classroom do not match what is expected of them in the workplace. The proposed solution, adopted by many undergraduate colleges, was to add a technical communication course to the CS curriculum. This does not appear to be enough, as mainstream accreditation boards are still emphasizing the need for improvement of communication skills instruction in their recent reports and recommendations. For the last two years, we have experimented with a complementary transversal approach where many "traditional CS" courses in our program have added a communication component to their syllabus, while at the same time our technical communication course has been revamped to expose students to realistic practices as promoted by situated learning theory. The results, so far anecdotal, point to improved student performance and attitude across several communication dimensions, in particular writing and presentation. We plan to develop this experiment by spreading it across more classes and by starting to collect rigorous measurements of students' communication performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationITiCSE'11 - Proceedings of the 16th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science
Pages283-287
Number of pages5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event16th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science, ITiCSE'11 - Darmstadt
Duration: 27 Jun 201129 Jun 2011

Other

Other16th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science, ITiCSE'11
CityDarmstadt
Period27/6/1129/6/11

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Keywords

  • applied communication
  • curriculum alignment
  • situated learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this

Karatsolis, A., Cervasato, I., Harras, K., Cooper, Y., Oflazer, K., Abu-Ghazaleh, N., & Sans, T. (2011). Getting CS undergraduates to communicate effectively. In ITiCSE'11 - Proceedings of the 16th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science (pp. 283-287) https://doi.org/10.1145/1999747.1999827