Best Computer Science Universities in Canada: 2017 Ranking – Macleans.ca

Computer science is one of the hottest fields in existence, with some of the best employment prospects. For the second year in a row, Maclean’s has ranked the best universities in 10 program areas—including computer science. Using hard data provided by academic publishing company Elsevier and our own reputation survey sent out to academics, we score where to best study to reach the top in your desired field.Click through the gallery above to see the top 10 computer science schools. For a better understanding of the rankings, check out our methodology. Click here to see more program rankings.

Why Girls Are Less Interested In Computer Science: Classrooms Are Too ‘Geeky’

Despite billions of dollars in outreach programs designed to lure women into computer programming, and companies mandating that more women be hired, most females would rather go into something involving people. Yet a new survey of 270 high school students concludes that three times as many girls would interested in enrolling in a computer science class if the classroom was redesigned to be less “geeky” and more inviting. So we can knock Barbie dolls and pink clothes, but they are appealing to the market that is rather than the market some academics would like it to be. The notion that women and men are the same has become passe. “Our findings show that classroom design matters — it can transmit stereotypes to high school students about who belongs and who doesn’t in computer science,” said lead author Allison Master, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning&Brain Sciences (I-LABS). “This is the earliest age we’ve looked at to study stereotypes about computer science. It’s a key age group for recruitment into this field, because girls in their later adolescence are starting to focus on their career options and aspirations.” In the study, high school boys and girls (aged 14 to 18 years) completed questions about:

  • Their interest in enrolling in a computer science class
  • Their sense of belonging in a computer science class
  • How much they thought they personally “fit” the computer science stereotype

Then, the UW team showed the students photos of two different computer science classrooms decorated with objects that represented either the “geeky” computer science stereotype, including computer parts and “Star Trek” posters, or a non-stereotypical classroom containing items such as art and nature pictures. Students had to say which classroom they preferred, and then answered questions about their interest in enrolling in a computer science course and their thoughts and feelings about computer science and stereotypes. Girls (68 percent) were more likely than boys (48 percent) to prefer the non-stereotypical classroom. And girls were almost three times more likely to say they would be interested in enrolling in a computer science course if the classroom looked like the non-stereotypical one. Boys didn’t prefer one classroom’s physical environment over the other, and how the classroom looked didn’t change boys’ level of interest in computer science. “Stereotypes make girls feel like they don’t fit with computer science,” Master said. “That’s a barrier that isn’t there for boys. Girls have to worry about an extra level of belonging that boys don’t have to grapple with.” Previously they reported that inaccurate negative cultural stereotypes about computer science deterred college-age women from the field and that altering stereotypes can increase girls’ interest. The researchers say that changing computer science stereotypes to make more students feel welcome in high school classrooms would help recruit more girls to the field, which has one of the lowest percentages of women among STEM fields. “Our new study suggests that if schools and teachers feel they can’t recruit girls into their computer science classes,” Master said, “they should make sure that the classrooms avoid stereotypes and communicate to students that everyone is welcome and belongs.” Read the entire article here

Education World: STEM News Roundup: Computer Science Organizations Collaborate to Create Framework that Outlines What K-12 Students Should Learn

As bringing computer science instruction to all U.S. K–12 schools rapidly becomes a national focus, a group of established computer science organizations have gathered to help schools better understand what they should be teaching. Called the K–12 Computer Science Framework, the guide was developed by the Association for Computing Machinery, Code.org, Computer Science Teachers Association, Cyber Innovation Center, and National Math and Science Initiative and is supported by big names like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon. The extensive framework includes standards, curriculum, course pathways and even professional development suggestions for all K–12 grade levels. The framework recommends that computer science be integrated into early education, as well. Computer science instruction “guides young learners to notice, name, and recognize how computing shapes their world. In this way, pre-K brings computer science to life, preparing kids for the larger K–12 framework,” the framework says. The high-profile individuals, organizations and institutions that have endorsed the framework signed onto a Statement of Support that reads:  “We believe that the K–­12 Computer Science Framework will provide an important foundation for increasing access and opportunity to high-quality computer science in every state, from kindergarten to twelfth grade. The framework holds promise to enhance the K­–12 experience of all students while preparing them for a wide variety of postsecondary experiences and careers.” (The framework and accompanying handouts are available for download here.)

STEM Tool Combines Comics, Computational Thinking

The creators of a STEM education tool that has found success in Sweden are seeking funding for an English version that will help U.S. children to “think like a programmer.” Called Curly Bracket – The Hidden Code, the graphic novel combines comics and computational thinking to spark student interest in STEM. (Read more here)