Regular" CS × Inclusive Design = Smarter Students and Greater Diversity

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What if "regular"Computer Science (CS) faculty each taught elements of inclusive design in "regular"CS courses across an undergraduate curriculum? Would it affect the CS program's climate and inclusiveness to diverse students? Would it improve retention? Would students learn less CS? Would they actually learn any inclusive design? To answer these questions, we conducted a year-long Action Research investigation, in which 13 CS faculty integrated elements of inclusive design into 44 CS/IT offerings across a 4-year curriculum. The 613 affected students' educational work products, grades, and/or climate questionnaire responses revealed significant improvements in students' course outcomes (higher course grades and fewer course fails/incompletes/withdrawals), especially for marginalized groups; revealed that most students did learn and apply inclusive design concepts to their CS activities; and revealed that inclusion and teamwork in the courses significantly improved. These results suggest a new pathway for significantly improving students' retention, their knowledge and usage of inclusive design, and their experiences across CS education - for marginalized groups and for all students.

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ACM Transactions on Computing Education



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