As the field of Computer Science (CS) continues to diversify and expand, the need for undergraduates to explore career possibilities and develop personalized study paths has never been greater. This reality presents a challenge for CS departments. How do the students striving to become competent professionals in an ever-changing field of study? How do they do this efficiently and effectively? This study addresses such questions by introducing RadGrad, an online application combining features of social networks, degree planners and serious games.
RadGrad application is designed to promote participation in extracurricular activities, value real-world experience and provide guidance for students planning their degrees. What follows is an exploration of how the application was designed, along with an analysis of how students used it in its first year.
Findings suggest RadGrad helped students to participate in relevant community activities and take an active role in planning their degrees.
The paper describes the features of the application, introducing how the concept of Innovation, Competence and Experience (ICE) scores – rather than a GPAs – were used to motivate undergraduates to participate in extracurricular activities. Initial results suggest RadGrad and the concept ICE scores can be applied to any field where students are encouraged to gain real-world experience as part of their degree program. Lessons learned and future directions are discussed.
The authors gratefully acknowledge contributions to RadGrad by our Summer 2019 undergraduate interns: Glen Barcelo, Mercedez Castro, Gian Calica and Quinne Uchida. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1829542.
Paek, S., Leong, P., Johnson, P.M. and Moore, C. (2021), "Beyond course work: expanding what’s valued in computer science degree programs", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 741-758. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-12-2019-0317
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