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Unlocking the Barriers to Women and Minorities in Computer Science and Information Systems Studies: Results from a Multi-Methodological Study Conducted at Two Minority Serving Institutions
ARTICLE

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Journal of Information Technology Education Volume 9, ISSN 1547-9714

Abstract

The under representation of women and minorities in undergraduate computer science and information systems programs is a pervasive and persistent problem in the United States. Needed is a better understanding of the background and psychosocial factors that attract, or repel, minority students from computing disciplines. An examination of these factors is the focus of this multi-methodological study that has been conducted over three phases with three separate populations. During phase 1, a survey was administered to students, who were non computer science or information systems majors, enrolled in computer applications courses at both a public and a private Historically Black Universities located in Maryland. The purpose was to examine whether a correlation existed between institutional type and access, education, counseling, and exposure to computing and/or information systems. Analysis of the data found that the participating students came to college with little information about computer science (CS) and information systems (IS) as fields of study. However, a significant disparity was found when institutional type was considered. According to the findings the students attending the private minority-serving institution reported greater access to technology, skill levels, and computing studies prior to entering college. In the second phase of the study, a satisfaction survey was administered, to students majoring in computer science at the public Historically Black University. The purpose was to examine the pre-college preparedness of minority students and whether differences would exist between the responses of the male and female participants. The respondents reported that they did not come to college with the adequate programming skills and/or prior training to succeed as a CS major, with females found to be less prepared than males. In the third phase of the study, a focus group was held with CS students in order to consider changes that would increase the enrollment and retention of underrepresented students. The participants suggested that the addition of bridge programs, increased scholarship opportunities, and greater academic support would increase the enrollment, success, and retention of underrepresented students in CS and IS majors. (Contains 13 tables and 2 figures.)

Citation

Buzzetto-More, N., Ukoha, O. & Rustagi, N. (2010). Unlocking the Barriers to Women and Minorities in Computer Science and Information Systems Studies: Results from a Multi-Methodological Study Conducted at Two Minority Serving Institutions. Journal of Information Technology Education, 9, 115-131. Retrieved December 6, 2019 from .

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