SICSA Education Distinguished Speaker Seminar at The University of Glasgow: Dr Lauren Margulieux

6 May 2022

by Dr Mireilla Bikanga Ada, SICSA Education Champion and SICSA Education Distinguished Speaker Seminar organiser at UofG.

The School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow held a SICSA Education Distinguished Speaker Seminar on 30th March 2022. The event was organised by the University’s SICSA Education Champion, Dr Mireilla Bikanga Ada.

The Centre for Computing Science Education (CCSE) team in the School of Computing Science, led by Professor Quintin Cutts, were very pleased to receive an international expert, Dr Lauren Margulieux, a professor of Learning Sciences at Georgia State University. Dr Margulieux received her PhD from Georgia Tech in Engineering Psychology, the study of how humans interact with technology. Her research interests are in educational technology and online learning, particularly for computing education. She also coordinates an initiative in Georgia State’s teacher preparation programs to integrate computing into pre-service teacher training in all disciplines and directs a computer science endorsement to certify in-service teachers to offer computing courses. She focuses on spreading computational literacy and the use of computing to achieve personal and professional goals.

Dr Margulieux gave two great talks on the following topics:

Title: Building Theory in STEM Education Research: Multiple Conceptions Theory
Abstract: The computing education research field frequently calls for theory-building work to better explain the mechanisms of how people learn computer science. This talk discusses a theory that has been developed based on a synthesis of work across multiple fields to explain phenomena frequently seen in computing education. Multiple Conceptions theory proposes a mechanism to explain how both direct instruction and constructivist instructional approaches can be designed to guarantee successful results. It draws upon instructional approaches from various STEM fields and educational psychology.

Title: Computing Education Research Methods and Design
Abstract: Computing education research draws from methodology in the social sciences, like education, psychology, and learning sciences, to conduct research with learners. Learners aren’t like molecules in a beaker or mice in a cage; they bring a lot of variability to the research environment, both from learner to learner and within learners from context to context. Social sciences have developed methods to deal with this variability, which we will discuss in this talk. We will also discuss other features of research design related to reliability, validity, and generalizability of results. The talk will focus on methods and designs particularly relevant in computing education.

The hybrid event generated interest from and was attended by members (n = 36) of various Scottish universities and beyond, including The University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, University of St Andrews, Edinburgh Napier University, The University of Edinburgh, Robert Gordon University, University of California San Diego, Georgia State University.

Delegates learned about variation and the application of theory in our practice. It was also an opportunity to reconnect with others and increase the opportunities for collaborative work within the SICSA community in Scottish universities and beyond, focusing on Computing Science Education Research. We are looking forward to holding a similar event again.