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Title: Enhancing Computing Curricular Outcomes and Student Accomplishments Through Collegiate Competitions
Games and competitions enhance student engagement and help improve hands-on learning of computing concepts. Focusing on targeted goals, competitions provide a sense of community and accomplishment among students, fostering peer-learning opportunities. Despite these benefits of motivating and enhancing student learning, the impact of competitions on curricular learning outcomes has not been sufficiently studied. For institutional or program accreditation, understanding the extent to which students achieve course or program learning outcomes is essential, and helps in establishing continuous improvement processes for the program curriculum. Utilizing the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC), a curricular assessment was conducted for an undergraduate cybersecurity program at a US institution. This archetypal competition was selected as it provides an effective platform for broader program learning outcomes, as students need to: (1) function in a team and communicate effectively (teamwork and communication skills); (2) articulate technical information to non-technical audiences (communication skills); (3) apply excellent technical and non-technical knowledge (design and analysis skills applied to problems-solving); and (4) function well under adversity (real-world problem-solving skills). Using data for both students who competed and who did not, student progress was tracked over five years. Preliminary analysis showed that these competitions made marginally-interested students become deeply engaged with the curriculum; broadened participation among women who became vital to team success by showcasing their technical and management skills; and pushed students to become self-driven, improving their academic performance and career placements. This experience report also reflects on what was learned and outlines the next steps for this work.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2111097
NSF-PAR ID:
10508685
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Association for Computing Machinery
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Global Computing Education
Page Range / eLocation ID:
106–111
Subject(s) / Keyword(s):
Experience report college competitions learning outcomes assessment student learning problem solving adversarial thinking broadening participation
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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