Underlying Principle: Make It Matter

All students are more motivated, perform better, and more likely to persist when they can see how a lesson connects to their experiences, interests, goals, and values. And students who don’t fit the stereotype of someone pursuing computing may need even more explicit connections for them to envision themselves in the field. Help all students connect to computing by connecting computing to their lives!

 

Engagement Practices

Use Meaningful and Relevant Content

“Make it matter” by experimenting with new and interesting topics for assignments and projects, and by using varied examples in your lectures and other materials.

Make Interdisciplinary Connections to CS

“Make it matter” by connecting computer science to other fields, such as medicine, the humanities, and media.

Address Misconceptions About the Field of CS

“Make it matter” by addressing misconceptions students have about the field that may prevent them from taking computing courses or pursuing a career in computer science.

Incorporate Student Choice

Learning is enhanced when course materials are relevant to students’ interests and goals, and nothing works better than letting students choose what they want to pursue.

Engagement Practices Framework

The NCWIT Engagement Practices Framework is a compilation of pedagogical and curricular practices that research suggests help engage all students, particularly those who may be at risk of leaving the field due to stereotypes about who does computing. They are organized around three engagement principles:

Make it Matter

All students are more motivated, perform better, and more likely to persist when they can see how a lesson connects to their experiences, interests, goals, and values. And students who don’t fit the stereotype of someone pursuing computing may need even more explicit connections for them to envision themselves in the field.

Help all students connect to computing by connecting computing to their lives!

Build Student Confidence & Professional Identity

Computing has come to be associated with some fairly strong stereotypes about who is a "computer scientist," or more narrowly, a "programmer." Anyone who doesn’t fit the stereotype may have difficulty seeing themselves in the field, and be less likely to have people supporting them in their pursuit of computing.

Faculty can help by building student confidence, modeling inclusive behavior, and teaching students norms of professional behavior.

Grow an Inclusive Community

Students are more likely to persist when they have a community related to their academic pursuits.

Faculty can help establish, support, and grow an inclusive student community in their programs by following some relatively simple practices in the classroom and by providing leadership and support outside of regular courses.

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