SPARCS from the University of Victoria: supporting sustainable and integrated outreach activities for educators and young minds




Murdoch, J
St. Pierre, A
Coady, Y
Carruthers, S
Gibbs, C
Lonergan, S
Srivastava, Gautam
Stege, U
Yazir, O

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Although IT industry is flourishing, student enrolment in Computer Science and related Engineering post-secondary degree programs is low. The causes and issues surrounding this trend are diverse, inter-related, and vastly complex; a consensus may never be reached regarding the nature of these issues affected by both global and local factors. Is a consensus regarding underlying causes and best practices required to create and sustain an infrastructure for effective outreach? Perhaps not. In this article, we discuss five key supportive mechanisms that are critical to sustained and integrated outreach initiatives at the grassroots level. We discuss these mechanisms using the example of SPARCS (Solving Problems with Algorithms, Robots, and Computers), an initiative at the University of Victoria, British Columbia (BC), Canada. We further consider the tradeoffs associated with a vertical/centralized infrastructure versus a horizontal/distributed infrastructure.


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British Columbia, Canada, computer science education, educational institutions, engineering education, integrated outreach activities, IT industry, sustainable activities, University of Victoria


Murdoch, J; St. Pierre, AA; Coady, Y; Carruthers, S; Gibbs, C; Lonergan, S; Srivastava, G; Stege, U; Yazir, O; Meeting the Growing Demand for Engineers and Their Educators 2010-2020 International Summit, 2007 IEEE