Cal State University San Marcos. Photo by Chris Stone
Cal State San Marcos faculty members received a $1 million grant to fund a model to improve student achievement in computer science courses, the university announced this week.

California Education Learning Lab is a grantmaking program that seeks to close equity and achievement gaps in STEM and other disciplines.  San Marcos submitted a proposal to the lab in partnership with MiraCosta College. The team received $1,038,000 over three years.

CSUSM faculty Youwen Ouyang, co-chair of the computer science and information systems department, and Marisol Clark-Ibáñez, chair of the sociology department, will work on the project, along with Nery Chapetón-Lamas, chair of the computer science department at MiraCosta College.  

Their proposal, “Facilitating Student-Driven Learning Through a Hybrid Interactive Learning Environment,” seeks to address the high rates of students who fail introductory computer science classes. 
The project will attempt to redesign the courses with feedback and focus groups conducted with students and faculty. The research will include a look at creating culturally responsive learning resources and activities, and building a variety of options to adapt to students’ individual learning experiences.  

“To me, this means opportunity for my students,” said Ouyang, in a CSUSM news release. “Introductory computer science classes are when students enter our door, and this lets them know that we care and we listen to them. We’re hoping that this grant will help them to build that question-seeking behavior very early on.” 

Work on the project is expected to begin in June, with the goal of scheduling the first revamped class in the fall.
  

The Learning Lab was established last year by the state legislators. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research set an annual budget of $10 million for the program. 

– Staff reports

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