SIGCSE 2007 Workshops

The following workshops are available to attendees at a nominal fee.

For workshops listed as Laptop Required participants are expected to bring their own laptops to the workshop to complete the hands-on activities. Workshops designated as Laptop Encouraged do not require that participants bring a laptop.

Wednesday, March 7  7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

1 Planning and Executing Real Projects for Real Clients Courses Meeting Rm 1

Vicki L. Almstrum, The University of Texas at Austin
David Klappholz, Stevens Institute of Technology
Ken Modesitt, Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne

For CS graduates who are employed in the IT world, many skills can be best learned, or even only learned, by working on real projects for real clients as part of a team. This workshop is part of a project to develop guidelines and materials to assist instructors as they develop and improve such courses. Participants will help refine a draft taxonomy of issues involved with teaching such a course and discuss guidelines for developing this type of course in terms of personal and institutional needs, as well as resources useful in teaching such courses.

2 Cooperative Learning for CS1: Making It Work in Your Classroom Meeting Rm 2

Leland Beck, San Diego State University
Alexander Chizhik, San Diego State University

Studies have shown that cooperative learning can be an effective instructional strategy in CS1. However, many faculty are reluctant to adopt cooperative learning because of uncertainty about taking on a new instructional role (as a facilitator instead of a lecturer). Faculty may also wonder whether students will learn required information while working in groups on a relatively small number of problems. This workshop will begin with an introduction to cooperative learning, followed by presentation of a set of class-tested learning activities for CS1 courses. We will then focus on a study of classroom management techniques, using examples taken from actual classrooms.

3 What's the Difference? Assessing the Impact of Your Efforts Meeting Rm 7

Lecia J. Barker, University of Colorado

Adopting a new teaching approach? Using new assignments? Implementing a student research program? Systematic assessment can provide evidence about whether your efforts create the change in learning, motivation, or behavior you are trying to cultivate - and help you (and funders) make evidence-based decisions about resources. This high-level overview covers the basics for do-it-yourself evaluation or for understanding the approaches used by consultants, from theory to methods to analysis. Workshop includes sound research design and implementation, managing problems inherent to comparative studies, question writing for surveys and focus groups, interviewing techniques, analytical techniques (including differences between groups of students), and interpretation.

4 Multimedia Projects for CS1 in Python Meeting Rm 4

Mark Guzdial, Georgia Institute of Technology

Constructing and manipulating media is a motivating context for students in introductory computing classes (CS1, but also CS0 and even CS0.5). Modern computers are capable of interesting media effects in reasonable running time, using simple and obvious algorithms that fit within the constraints of introductory courses' curricula. In this workshop, we will explore algorithms and working code in Python for the creation and manipulation of sound, image, MIDI music, and video data. I will describe some of the results at institutions using this approach. Example techniques covered will include music and story-telling, sound splicing and reversing, chromakey ("blue/green screen") image effects, animation, and Photoshop-like image filters.
Laptop Encouraged

5 A Hands-On Approach to Mathematical Proof Meeting Rm 5

Douglas E. Ensley, Shippensburg University
David A. Hastings, Shippensburg University

Sound formation of mathematical ideas progresses from concrete to abstract. This workshop will develop teaching material that applies this philosophy to the teaching of proof techniques to computer science majors in a first-year discrete mathematics class. Moreover, we will connect these ideas to the application of proof techniques in upper level courses such as testing and debugging. We will address traditional proof schemes, each from the point of view that the students can construct their own understanding of proof through carefully chosen experiences. The activities will take the form of paper-and-pencil worksheets and interactive Flash applets.
Laptop Required

6 Learning to program with Alice Meeting Rm 6

Stephen Cooper, Saint Joseph's University
Wanda Dann, Ithaca College

This introductory workshop, designed for instructors with minimal to no prior experience with Alice, offers hands-on experience programming with Alice. Alice is a powerful program visualization tool enabling students to "see" objects and work with object-oriented programming. Participants will learn how to use Alice to build virtual worlds and how to use this approach in introductory-level computing courses (introductory programming for majors, programming for non-majors, computer literacy, etc.) at the college or high-school level. Participants will receive a CD containing the latest version of the software and sample virtual worlds developed as part of NSF-0126833/NSF-0339734,
Laptop Required

7 Programming With Greenfoot (Or: Introducing Java Via Games And Simulations) Meeting Rm 3

Michael Kölling, Computing Laboratory, University of Kent

Greenfoot is a programming environment, developed by the creators of BlueJ, designed to allow teaching of object-oriented programming concepts - using Java - in a highly engaging and motivating context. Built in the tradition of Turtle Graphics, Logo, Karel the Robot and Squeak, Greenfoot offers a more integrated, graphical, interactive experience than previous systems. Building widely differing scenarios, such as simulations or games, is easy and quick. Greenfoot should be of interest to anyone teaching Java, especially in early programming courses (including schools). Greenfoot is available from The workshop is practically oriented and will allow participants to use Greenfoot in their classroom immediately.
Laptop Encouraged

8 Introducing LEGO MindStorms NXT and its Use in CS Education Meeting Rm 8

Myles McNally, Alma College
Frank Klassner, Villanova University
Pamela Lawhead, University of Mississippi

This workshop focuses on using the next generation of the LEGO MindStorms robotics platform - NXT - as an active learning platform in CS education. A complete reworking of MindStorms, it provides a number of new opportunities for CS educators. The workshop opens with an introduction to MindStorms and the new NXT release. The workshop will then focus on a hands-on introduction to tested series of laboratories for CS instruction. The laboratories range from CS 1-2 to AI, Programming Languages and Operating Systems. Participants will be able to purchase an NXT kit at a significant discount and will have priority to attend a follow-up NSF sponsored workshop.
Laptop Required

9 Computer Security Essentials (Part 1): System Footprinting and Vulnerability Assessment Meeting Rm 9

Paul J. Wagner, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Daren Bauer, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Thomas Paine, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Andrew Phillips, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Jason Wudi, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

This is the first of two hands-on workshops for CS educators seeking to develop curricula in computer security. We provide guided hands-on instruction on various Windows and Linux based tools commonly used for gathering information about, and assessing the vulnerability of, other systems. Participants will experiment with these tools as the presenters guide them through typical tool use scenarios. The session concludes with an information gathering exercise on an isolated network. Participants will use laptops running both Windows and Linux images pre-configured with common security "holes" so that they may experience first-hand the process of information gathering and vulnerability detection.
Laptops Provided by Presenter

10 Teaching Cognitive Robotics with Tekkotsu Meeting Rm 10

David S. Touretzky, Carnegie Mellon University
Ethan J. Tira-Thompson, Carnegie Mellon University
Andrew B. Williams, Spelman College

Cognitive robotics is a high-level approach to robot programming emphasizing primitives for perception, mapping, navigation, and manipulation. Tekkotsu is a software system for cognitive robotics developed at Carnegie Mellon, initially for the Sony AIBO robot dog, but now being ported to other platforms. It is open source, LGPLed, and available for free at This workshop will provide hands-on experience with Tekkotsu programming on the AIBO and explore ways that cognitive robotics can be integrated into CS curricula. We will also discuss the use of robotics activities to attract women and minority students to computer science.