July 2020 – The Culturally Relevant Computing Lab launched a two week virtual app development program for middle and high school students. The program utilized MIT’s App Inventor software. The Atlanta University Center Consortium Data Science Initiative and the Boeing company provided funds to help support scholarships for students with financial need. Approximately 60 students participated in the program.
The CRCL partnered with The Lee County Youth Development Center in Opelika, AL and the Razor Foundation in a three-day workshop that used Sphero robotics to introduce students to basic coding concepts using block programming and Java Script. The workshop ran from January 11-13 where there were 27 participants, a mix of boys and girls ranging from junior high to high school age. The lab had undergraduate students from Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University teaching the coding concepts. A competition was held on the last day, which gave participants an opportunity to showcase everything they had learned.
The CRCL attended a collegiate planning workshop co-located with the 41st Annual National Black Data Processing (BDPA) Tech Conference & Career Fair held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Atlanta on August 1-3, 2019. Currently, no notable student organization focuses on increasing the number of Black computing professionals at the undergraduate level. The workshop was used to develop collegiate chapters (primarily at HBCUs and predominantly Black institutions) to serve this purpose. The workshop also included BDPA board members, government agency representatives, and industry professionals. In addition to forming student chapters, the group also examined best practices and seek to articulate strategies for collaborating with the IT industry.
Morehouse College was awarded a Targeted Infusion Project grant entitled: Creation of a for Credit Online scientific Literacy Pre-freshman Summer Bridge Program (Award #1818618) on April 16, 2018. This highly innovative project will create a new category of problem-based learning products designed to facilitate student understanding of the scientific research process by using a virtual laboratory to simulate a research experience. The program will begin May 15, 2018, and run through April 30, 2021. Anticipated outcomes from this virtual research experience include increasing students’ critical thinking skills, intrinsic motivation, self-management skills, utilitarian scientific literacy, and intent to persist in STEM careers.
The new category of problem-based learning products that will be created to infuse into the online Scientific Literacy course will occur by modifying an interdisciplinary Research Simulation Case Study (RSCS) entitled Brain-Eating Amoeba. The RSCS is a faculty-mentored experience that requires a student to solve a research case study by assuming the role of a research scientist. The RSCS Brain-Eating Amoeba will be facilitated by a virtual embodied conversational agent (ECA), instead of a live faculty mentor. This computer-generated character is created from the face of a real individual and demonstrates many of the same properties as human face-to-face conversation, including the ability to produce and respond to verbal and nonverbal communication. An embodied conversational agent-research simulation (ECA-RS) case study will be created by combining ECA technology with the comprehensive, interdisciplinary Brain-Eating Amoeba RSCS.
The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) through Targeted Infusion Projects supports the development, implementation, and study of evidence-based, innovative models and approaches for improving the preparation and success of HBCU undergraduate students so that they may pursue STEM graduate programs and careers. The addition of the Brain-Eating Amoeba ECA-RS to the online course will enable its transition to a for-credit course that will be offered at no cost during the Pre-Freshmen Scientific Literacy Summer Bridge Program as an incentive for pre-freshmen to participate. The successful implementation of this program at Morehouse College will increase retention and ultimately graduation rates of African American students graduating with STEM degrees and entering into the national STEM workforce.
Culturally Relevant Computing Lab Director, Dr. Kinnis Gosha, and Google software engineers, developed a course for Morehouse students to learn Android Application programming, along with the Applied Computer Science(CS) content, and received hands-on experience in a for-credit class. The course, titled “Mobile App Development with Advanced Data Structures,”combined lecture, class discussion and in-class assignments targeted at learning Java, advanced data structures, ADS, and other basics for Android programming. The Applied CS classes ran for 75 minutes and were held twice a week for 16 weeks in the fall semester of 2016. These classes, the first at the university for mobile app development, filled up quickly due to the buzz around the collaboration with Google, and 11 out of 12 students successfully completed the course. Applied CS content enabled students to understand, apply and implement advanced data types using a mobile application platform that more than two billion devices run on today.
A group of 25 students from South Atlanta High School participated in the Sphero Coding Workshop today at Morehouse College. Students learned how to write code in in the morning session, ate lunch in Morehouse’s Dining Hall and competed against each other in coding challenges in the afternoon. The Sphero Coding Workshop is lead by Dr. Kinnis Gosha and his Culturally Relevant Computing Lab. The Culturally Relevant Computing Lab is represented by students from Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University. Sponsorship for the workshop was provided by Boeing and the National Science Foundation.