Special Projects grant scheme – September 2022 awards made

Title of proposalDecolonising Computing – Building a UK wide Computer Science Educators’ Network
Name(s) and institution(s) of AwardeeDr Syed Mustafa Ali, The Open University
Date of Award3 November 2022
Amount of Award£4,800
DescriptionA national workshop hosted at the University of Leicester is scheduled for May 2023 with invited contributions and interactive sessions to discuss approaches to decolonising computing curricula. Outputs will include the development of a set of resources for the HE sector collating good practice in decolonising computing education, and the establishment of a network of decolonising computing educators.
Title of proposalEvaluating student and lecturer perception of the importance of ethics education within computer science degree programmes
Name(s) and institution(s) of AwardeeDr Karen O’Shea, University of Central Lancashire
Date of Award6 December 2022
Amount of Award£3,800
DescriptionThe purpose of this project is to investigate students’ perception of ethics and the inclusion and delivery of ethics education within computer science degree programmes. Evaluation and incorporation of ethical design into software systems, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) within industry poses great challenge. Further, this study will provide an opportunity to carry out a data mining exercise from the educator perspective to construct a list of the topics currently covered, clarify gaps in the curriculum and propose intervention strategies. There will be opportunities to develop content to better serve lecturing staff, students and wider educational settings thus, sharing good practice.
Title of proposalGendered microaggressions and computing students
Name(s) and institution(s) of AwardeeDr Hannah Dee, Aberystwyth University Prof Clem Herman, The Open University
Date of Award14 November 2022
Amount of Award£4,050
DescriptionThe project will explore the lived experience of women and non-binary students in UK Computing departments to gain a deeper understanding of the day to day microbehaviours which contribute to this situation (we define the term microbehaviours as a catch-all term to include deliberate or unconscious use of slights and insults, including activities referred to in the literature as microinequities, microaggressions, microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations). Through focus groups, a broader questionnaire study and some in-depth interviews we will investigate the experience of women and non-binary students in computing departments in the UK.
Title of proposalWhat’s the point of Software Engineering in Higher Education?
Name(s) and institution(s) of AwardeeDr Ashley Williams, Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award7 November 2022
Amount of Award£3,050.40
DescriptionThere are multiple routes into Software Engineering (SE), with an increasing number of engineers favouring hyper-focused bootcamps and online training programmes over the traditional undergraduate degree. This, combined with early year curriculums now ensuring that all students can code in two different programming languages by the age of 11, means that SE in HE needs to consider its role going forward if it is to remain relevant. Such relevance appears to be heavily discussed in industry, yet barely in academia. In this project, we aim to better understand the gap between academia and the software industry through conducting a Grey Literature Review (GLR) of practitioner-generated social media.
Title of proposalProblem-based `Scavenger Hunts’ for On-campus Student Engagement
Name(s) and institution(s) of AwardeeDr David Kohan Marzagão and Dr Josh Murphy, King’s College London
Date of Award3 November 2022
Amount of Award£2,250
DescriptionWe propose a problem-based ‘scavenger hunt’, in which first-year students work together in small groups to solve discipline-specific problems, all the while exploring the university campus. The activity will take place as part of the welcome week for first-year students in computer science and artificial intelligence programmes and co-organised by more senior students. By working together, students foster relationships across year groups and programmes, supporting a closer departmental community. Further, through the event, students are introduced to the physical campus environments, to familiarise them with the physical spaces, and to ensure they feel welcome as part of the university.