CS 492/692 - Spring 2020 - Week 10 Readings Summary

Here are some notes to remind you of the Readings of the Week, on the topic of Gender Balance, with a set-up of our Gender Balance workshop.

A very brief summary of key points from the readings are below. For the most part, the readings may inspire you to react in certain ways during the workshop. Some papers mention a downturn in popularity of CS to women at one point in time. Some efforts have been made with first year CS. Increasing attendance at the Grace Hopper event each year has helped. Effort has been made as well to encourage those majoring in other subjects to explore the intersection with CS. There are real issues with retention of women in CS, however. We can target girls and industry can step up its efforts to make the workplace more accepting. I point out as well: UW has had a more general HeforShe promotion recently. You may or may not have noticed it.

Gender Balance Workshop
A series of questions to reflect upon. Readings are only very modest "food for thought". Draw on personal experiences and try to "think outside the box". As the class begins, I will do a poll to get our discussion going.

1) What is the reason for the gender imbalance in computer science? Think of the ONE reason that stands out the most in your mind. Note: I think I would like to hear first from students who do not identify as women and then find out how the women feel.
2) If we could take ONE new step forward to repair that imbalance what would it be (think creatively, try to imagine some unique solutions)?
3) What have you seen at UW that has encouraged you or discouraged you for the future? Here I would like to hear from those who identify as women first and then see what the rest of the class has observed (outside, looking in).

I am also interested in learning: 4) If a CS option in societal computing were available would you have been interested and do you think this may help to address the imbalance?

Other Underrepresented Groups in CS
Other subgroups of society face challenges in joining the ranks of computer scientists. I will open this topic up for discussion as well. You can choose to comment on any community whom you feel is underrepresented. At my end I can mention: I have attended the W4A (Web for All) conference which promotes accessibility on computers (a group of blind computer scientists attended, for instance), I have recently seen broadcasts from black computer scientists with reactions to ACM's efforts on equality, and students in CS492 last year talked about events organized each year from the LGBTQ community of computer scientists. We can discuss what we might be able to do in order to continue to encourage an inclusive environment in computer science.

Announcements: - A5 and A6 are on the go; July 29 is our last class - next week a workshop on video games (Jul20) and our guests on mental health (Jul22) : read the papers on video games (and you can find a video of the associated TV show Top Gun, Fifth Estate online as well if you are interested); view the 15 minute video from guest Golab (Announcements in LEARN) - on Jul 27 come to class for a speech, course evaluations and then time to complete A5B (will take Polls that all students should reply to and polls will stay open for asynchronous to reply) - Jul 29 last class to look to the future, provide some awards for exceptional students, meet the TAs - some notes re handback: Class participation, A5 and A6 come back on LEARN around the 3rd week of August and a notice in the Prof. Cohen folder makes you aware when ready

Aim of course: to expose you to a series of topics which enlighten you about the challenges of the social implications of computing; opportunities to think and to write about these topics, at times in groups; opportunities to react to impressions of peers and to think on your feet; detailed feeback on writing towards improving communication skills; sense of community within the course: first names

Look out for a longer "speech" from me about the aims of the course in the prof. Cohen folder and read it before doing course evaluations. Consider waiting until after the July 22 class with guests on mental health before filling out the course evaluations. This will allow you to react to final classes and also on July 27 we have to wait a few minutes at the start of class before A5s are in your hands to assess (A5B).