"I Don't Code All Day": Fitting in computer science when the stereotypes don't fit

Colleen M. Lewis, Ruth E. Anderson, Ken Yasuhara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Stereotypes of computer scientists are relevant to students' performance and feelings of belonging. While efforts exist to change these stereotypes, we argue that it may be possible to challenge a student's belief that stereotypes of computer scientists are relevant to whether they can become a computer scientist. In our previous work, we presented a model of five factors that influence students' decisions to major in computer science (CS). Data were collected from interviews with 31 students enrolled in introductory CS courses at two public universities in the United States. Here we elaborate on our grounded theory of one of these factors: how students assess their fit with CS. We describe how students measure their fit with CS in terms of the amount they see themselves as expressing the traits of singular focus, asocialness, competition, and maleness and how students make interpretations and decisions based upon these measurements. We found that students' interpretations were influenced by their attitudes toward the nature of stereotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICER 2016 - Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages23-32
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450344494
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 25 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event12th Annual International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2016 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: Sep 8 2016Sep 12 2016

Publication series

NameICER 2016 - Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research

Conference

Conference12th Annual International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2016
CountryAustralia
CityMelbourne
Period9/8/169/12/16

Keywords

  • Fit
  • Grounded theory
  • Major choice
  • Stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Software
  • Education

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