Computing Education Research at Brown

What We Do

Our group at Brown Computer Science works in all three areas of computing education:

We study how students learn in various settings, from middle-school to upper-level undergraduates. We investigate everything from plan composition to notional machines to error messages to ways to make TA hours more effective. In conjunction with our outreach work, we also study how to design professional development for non-computing teachers who are easing into computing.
Though we've been involved in several outreach efforts, we're best known for running one of the largest computing outreach programs in the US, called Bootstrap. Bootstrap is the leader in integrated approaches to computing education: embedding computing in other disciplines.
We design and offer a variety of courses from introductory to graduate. These both supply us with problems and perspectives, and serve as a test-bed for innovations.

Our Philosophy

Our group has a few characteristics that, if not unique, at least set us apart from most other computing education research:

Who We Are

Our two primary faculty members are

Kathi Fisler

Shriram Krishnamurthi

Our current PhD students are Jack Wrenn and Yanyan Ren, with two more entering in 2020-21. We also do research with several summer students and undergraduates.

We collaborate with several other professors in the department, such as Tim Nelson and Doug Woos, and visitors like Sarah Chasins. In general, and somewhat unusually for a research university, Brown CS has long had a deep devotion to computing education at various levels, so it forms a happy environment to think hard about the subject.

Naturally, we also work closely with the other members of the Bootstrap team.

Outside Brown, we collaborate closely with Joe Politz, Ben Lerner, Nancy Pfenning, Ann Renninger, Steve Weimar, Colleen Megowan-Romanowicz, Rebecca Vieyra, and others.

What We've Written

Our publications can be found on our respective Web sites (not limited to computing education):

These include a few interesting op-ed pieces that may help you understand some of our positions:

Our chapter Programming Paradigms and Beyond (from the Cambridge Handbook of Computing Education Research) gives a sample of how we take a programming-languages perspective on computing education.

Our group research blog has articles about several of our projects (which are not limited to computing education).

We've also authored several textbooks, some very influential and widely used:

Watch and Hear Us

Several of our talks are publicly available.

This page was generated using Matthew Butterick's Pollen,
which is a good example of how we roll.