The BRAID Research project is a mixed-methods study that examines computing students, faculty, and departments at fifteen participating computing schools/departments across the country as they work to broaden the participation of women and underrepresented minority (URM) students in computing. The BRAID team is collecting data from students, instructors, department chairs, and staff. Data from these multiple sources will be examined to increase our understanding of diversity in computing.

The key components of the project include:

QUANTITATIVE DATA SOURCES

Baseline student surveys: The student surveys target two populations: (1) computing majors/minors and (2) students enrolled in introductory computing courses. In the fall of 2015 and 2016, computing majors/minors at each BRAID institution received a survey on their experiences in computing.  Additionally, in 2015, 2016 and 2017, students enrolled in introductory computing courses received a pre-test and a post-test survey to assess student change during the introductory computing experience. These surveys were similar to the survey of computing majors and minors, but also included questions on introductory computing experiences. The baseline student surveys were developed in collaboration with the CERP team at the Computing Research Association (CRA), allowing our teams to share data and conduct comparative analyses between our samples. The baseline data collection began in fall of 2015 and continuedthrough the end of the 2016-2017 academic year.

Survey of introductory course instructors: This survey was administered each term to instructors teaching introductory computing courses with the aim of learning more about introductory instructors’ pedagogical techniques, perceptions of computing, and teaching experiences.

Annual introductory student follow-up survey: Students who completed the introductory course surveys will receive an annual follow-up survey each fall after their introductory course through 2018.  Annual follow-ups enable the BRAID research team to track students’ major trajectories, long-term career aspirations, and perceptions of computing across time after the introductory course.

Enrollment & degree attainment dataThe BRAID Research team is analyzing institutional and student-level data with the aim of understanding enrollment and degree attainment patterns for computing majors and students who take introductory computing courses. Data are being gathered from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and from reports and records from each BRAID institution.

 

QUALITATIVE DATA SOURCES

Department chair, faculty, and staff interviews: Each year the research team conducts interviews with department chairs and other key administrators annually to learn more about the departmental change process. Additionally, faculty and staff members were interviewed in the spring of 2016.

Case StudiesThe BRAID Research team will be conducting case studies to learn more about innovative approaches to balancing diversity efforts in the midst of overall computer science enrollment growth at some of the BRAID institutions.

Syllabi content analysis: To examine teaching practices and curriculum, syllabi for introductory courses have been analyzed to explore the various programming languages and class formats offered across BRAID Institutions.