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 have discovered that it has the potential to be re-purposed as part of a new application oriented toward high school students. This application, CSExplore, can provide novel 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" .
Providing this data via 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. Thus, it aligns with a major goal of the project, which is to understand ways in which DEP/RadGrad can make a positive impact on diversity.
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.
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.
We will use a pre-test/post-test design to gather evidence about the following research question: "Can University-originated data about the CS undergraduate experience positively influence high school students to pursue a CS undergraduate degree program?"