Upon analysis of the RadGrad data collected during the first year, which is generated by and intended for university students already declared as a CS major, we discovered that it has the potential to be re-purposed as part of a new application that would be oriented toward high school students. This application, CSExplore, could provide useful new ways to encourage interest and involvement in computer science prior to university.
The relevant data from RadGrad includes the courses and extracurricular opportunities available to undergraduate students, the current popularity of these courses and opportunities for undergraduates, and student experiences with these courses and opportunities (via the ``Review" mechanism). RadGrad can also provide data regarding topic areas of interest to university students, and which ones are increasing in popularity, or "trending".
But we do not imagine that CSExplore will consist only of RadGrad data. We need to research the interests and aptitudes of high school students to understand what might be most effective in helping them evaluate if a STEM university degree program would be good for them.
CSExplore has the potential to improve the CS pipeline, since high school students can learn tangible, current information about the experience of CS students in a specific discipline in their local community. This can not only create interest and enthusiasm for pursuing a university degree in CS, but can also encourage them to get involved with local CS organizations and events as a secondary school student.
The goals for this project include:
Design an effective UI. Making this data accessible and informative to high school students will require a completely different user interface than the one that we designed for university-level CS majors. For example, RadGrad includes a "Degree Planner" component, which is not relevant to high school students. While RadGrad requires the use of a laptop browser, we believe a mobile-oriented user interface is necessary and sufficient for high school students.
Design effective content. Understanding the potential benefits and the problems of adapting University-level data about the CS degree experience to high school students presents a significant research challenge, involving requirements analysis, user interface design and usability testing, and pilot deployment. Fortunately, the University of Hawaii has an on-site K-12 Laboratory School which is used for curriculum design and evaluation. We hope to use these high school students to evaluate the initial pilot deployment of the system.
Design an effective evaluation approach. For example, we could use a pre-test/post-test design to gather evidence about the following question: "Can University-originated data about the CS undergraduate experience positively influence high school students to pursue a CS undergraduate degree program?"