About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2516-2526
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

CHANGING THE FACE OF STEM: THE EXAMPLE OF COMPUTER SCIENCE IN GERMANY

R. Apel1, C. Leicht-Scholten2, A. Wolffram1

1RWTH Aachen University (GERMANY)
2RWTH Aachen University / TU Berlin (GERMANY)
Despite extensive research and following pilot projects and support programmes in the so-called MINT subjects (German equivalent to STEM) that were introduced to increase the percentage of women and decrease their dropout rate in these fields, the number of women stagnates. Against this backdrop the project “IGaDtools4MINT” aims towards the development of an overall concept to sustainably increase the percentage of women in MINT subjects.
IGaDtools4MINT is a joint project of the information science department, the scientific staff unit “Integration Team – Human Resources, Gender and Diversity Management” at RWTH Aachen University and the department of Communication and Operating Systems at TU Berlin. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for a period of three years.
The project was initiated at RWTH Aachen University in reference to the renowned project of the American Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), conducted in the late 1990s at the department of computer science. CMU could achieve a significant increase of the percentage of women, from 7% among the first-year students in 1995 to 42% in the year 2000. This success was enabled by the identification of certain pitfalls and the development of specific measures to resolve them.
The project is running through distinctive consecutive phases. It is based on existing research, analyses and a synopsis of nation-wide realised best practice measures for university teaching. A phase of testing the applicability of different research methods such as questionnaires, qualitative interviews, participatory observation or archival analysis (each with regard to different status groups like students, teaching staff and other experts within the field of information science) at RWTH Aachen University will provide data about the specific situation at RWTH and lead to the development and implementation of well adapted measures. The testing of research methods and evaluation of certain measures is crucial as it is providing the ground for the development of a gender and diversity toolkit.
The toolkit is a basic outcome of this scheme and is supposed to offer action guidelines as well as implementation strategies and methods for universities. It shall increase the percentage of young women, other in MINT subjects hitherto underrepresented groups (e.g. educationally disadvantaged classes, students with migrational backgrounds, physically challenged etc.) and inspire non-technophiles to get involved in the examination of research questions from technical and engineering fields. This way the toolkit contributes to a paradigm shift in the MINT subjects. To allow for this shift a central goal of the project is the transfer of the toolkit into other technical universities in Germany.
In the presentation the hypothesis that gender related differences have a negative impact on the attractiveness of information science as a subject of study for female students will be put to the test. Possible reasons for those differences such as the lack of positive female role models in information science departments, a gap in prerequisites concerning programming, the stereotypical “hacker culture” of information science students and application oriented didactics need to be investigated and verified for the German context. The presentation will outline the project IGaDtools4MINT and give first results of the project’s evaluation process.
@InProceedings{APEL2011CHA,
author = {Apel, R. and Leicht-Scholten, C. and Wolffram, A.},
title = {CHANGING THE FACE OF STEM: THE EXAMPLE OF COMPUTER SCIENCE IN GERMANY},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {2516-2526}}
TY - CONF
AU - R. Apel AU - C. Leicht-Scholten AU - A. Wolffram
TI - CHANGING THE FACE OF STEM: THE EXAMPLE OF COMPUTER SCIENCE IN GERMANY
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 2516
EP - 2526
ER -
R. Apel, C. Leicht-Scholten, A. Wolffram (2011) CHANGING THE FACE OF STEM: THE EXAMPLE OF COMPUTER SCIENCE IN GERMANY, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 2516-2526.
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