Connection To Community:

Connection to Community is a research based method that can reduce inequality for students in our computer science classrooms (Guzdial, 2020). Mark Gudzial, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the College of Engineering, and professor of information in the School of Information, of the University of Michigan, cites a paper written by Colleen Lewis and her colleagues on how Connection to Community Values is an "evidence based method that has been used successfully to increase the success of the less-prepared students (including Low-SES)".

Based upon the paper written by Lewis and her colleagues (Lewis et al.), Connection to Community Values include the following:

  • The paper showed female, Black, Latino/Latina, and first-generation students want to use CS to help society, more than majority (typically white and male) students who study CS because they like computers.

  • These students often do not see a connection between what's being taught in CS classes and what they want.

  • A sense of belonging positively predicts retention in CS majors.

  • Simply explaining how our topics could be used to address community needs could go a long way towards improving retention and student interest in staying in CS.

By providing students (including Low-SES) research and evidence based pedagogies and activities that are connected to (and benefits) community, we hope that this will generate a sense of belonging and interest from students (including Low-SES) in computer science.

Connection to Community Values: Evidence-based Practices that Motivate and Engage students

Here are some of our suggestions for our Low-SES students

A Day 1 CS 1 Activity

Inclusive CS Teaching Web Site

The study Teaching a Lay Theory outlines that "The purpose of the growth mindset intervention is to teach students that intelligence is a malleable quality that can be developed when students put forth effort and use effective strategies on challenging tasks."

This Inclusive CS Teaching Website and the CSAwesome E-book provides Growth Mindset Sections:. We highly recommend that you review these sections with your students.


Reflection Activity Facilitator Slides (link coming soon)

Consider the following questions:

  1. What are Community to Connection values?

  2. Why are they important and what specific student populations do they impact?