McGettrick-intro-SIGCSE07Presentation.ppt: uploaded 14 March 2007 at 9:48 am

The Crisis in Computing
What are the Real Issues?
• Andrew McGettrick
– introduction and origin
• Boots Cassel
– importance, myths, negative images
• Mark Guzdial
– curricular concerns
• Eric Roberts
– the rest, including more on initiatives
Why is it a crisis?
• Enrollments falling to around 50% of 2001
levels in US
• Staff reductions are happening or are
• The number of jobs needing high quality
graduates is increasing
• The gap between what is needed by industry
and what is being produced is widening
Extent of the crisis
• The crisis is not confined to the US
• It exists in many countries in Europe, for
example; there are some exceptions
• In the UK, for instance, the numbers
have fallen by a similar amount and the
problem over jobs also exists
• Reaction in UK: Grand Challenges in
Computing Education 2004 and 2006
Understanding the issues
• The problem is very complex - there are
many factors that need to be addressed and
• We need to try to understand the issues
• We need to be open to the possibility there
are good reasons for the crisis
• There are important economic considerations
related to the competitiveness of a country
Deep down …
• Do we believe computing is really important,
is really fundamental?
• What do we believe about education for the
21st century and the pervasiveness of the
computing metaphor?
• Can we articulate this clearly to a wide
• What does this say about computing
Ι computer scien ce must reach out much
more to other disciplines, from
psychology, philosophy, sociology and
linguistics to medicine, biotechnology,
nanotechnolo gy and beyond, because the
computational metaphor is now at the
intellectual core of most disciplines. Far
from being dead, computin g is now
effectively the new "Queen of the
Additional Quote (about UK)
… there are today more computer science students
in the UK than in all of the more traditional
sciences - physics, chemistry and biology - put
together. Even so, few would argue that basic
physical science is dying, or losing out to
industrial research, just because it is sometimes
hard to recruit undergraduates from our school
Yorick Wilkes et al,
UK Times Higher Education Supplement,
23rd February, 2007
Aims of this session …
• To assess the reasons behind the
decline in popularity of computing and
to come to a better understanding of the
many dimensions of this problem
• To look at what steps we can take to
address the underlying causes, so
leading to a healthier and more positive
view of the discipline