5o Years of Software Engineering – Challenges, Results and Opportunities in Education: Panel Discussion @ the conference ITiCSE 2018 in Cyprus

I have been invited as a panelist to discuss “50 years of software engineering – challenges, results and opportunities” at the 23 annual conference of Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE 2018) that will take place in Larnaca, Cyprus.

I will be on the panel with Stephan Krusche, Bruce Scharlau and Janet Hughes and we have submitted a short paper describing our different positions. In my talk I will focus on two ways in which software engineering educaiton needs to change to address future challenges. The first is that we need a stronger focus on development of professional competencies for our students to be able to address complex and wicked problems. The second is that we need to address the gender stereotyping of ICT as a male subject, as this is really hindering development of the field. To be able to change the male stereotyping we need to understand carreer trajectories and choises of women in technology driven areas – which is exactly what NordWit is focusing at. We also need to work with change preferrably driven by action research collabroations – we have that in NordWit too :-). We’ll see what comments and new insights I will get through the discussions and the panel. Looking forward to a nice conference and a nice discussion!

My position statement:

To develop and deploy information and communications technology (ICT) in organizations is difficult and often users think that the ICT is too complex and has major flaws. We are indeed getting better at software engineering, and we know that today’s approaches such as Agile work better than their predecessors. If we could make use of todays’ knowledge on the situation we had 50 years ago we would be fine. However, the complexity of ICT has grown substantially. Many users are engaged with around 15-25 different software systems in their work, and we have an ecology of different devices. The future is increasingly complex with virtual reality, robots and automation. We need to address these challenge in education in at least two different ways. First, we need to prepare our students to work with complex, wicked problems that are not easily solved. Second, the gendered stereotyping of ICT as a male subject means that we fail to realize the full potential of ICT talent in the population. Men and women have different, gendered experience, and can contribute with different perspectives.

Åsa Cajander

Paper Accepted for Frontiers in Education: “Why are We Here? The Educational Value Model (EVM) as a Framework to Investigate the Role of Students’ Professional Identity Development”

Sometimes papers materialize quickly based on many hours of discussions in good collaborations with people you share ideas with. A few weeks ago, one such paper that emerged from furious discussions of identity, gender and professional identity was accepted for Frontiers in Education.

Frontiers in Education is a well-known and highly ranked conference in computer science education that has a track on gender and computing. The conference will run in Uppsala in the fall 2020 and NordWit will most probably be involved in organizing it as my colleagues Mats Daniels and Arnold Pears are in the committee for the conference.

The paper is a discussion paper related to our experiences of development of professional identitues, and professional identity formation.

The paper was written together with Aletta Nylén, Mats Daniels, Arnold Pears, Roger McDermott and Ville Isomottonen and will appear online after the conference in the fall 2018.

Here is the abstract:

Education can be seen as a preparation for a future profession, where some educational programs very clearly prepare their students for a certain profession, e.g. plumber, nurse and architect. The possible professions for students following education programs in computing is quite varied and thus difficult to cater for, but to educate towards a professional life is still a stated goal in most higher education settings. We argue that this goal is typically not even closely reached and provide an analysis indicating factors explaining this situation. The analysis is based on the concept of professional identity. In earlier work [anonymous] a framework with which to reason about student interactions with the regulatory structure of higher education and teachers was developed. In that paper we developed a compound model which not only relates these players to one another, but also provides approaches to reasoning about misalignments which arise when students and teachers approach their shared learning context from different perspectives. This framework is in this paper applied to address different aspects of professional identity with the intent of bringing forth deeper insights into challenges with educating towards professions. This issue is highly complex and the framework provides a structure that is beneficial for analysing different aspects in a more holistic manner.

Åsa Cajander