The Creating New Pathways to Computing Initiative (DS-PATH) is a partnership among three institutions: University of California, Riverside (UCR), California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (CPP), and Riverside City College (RCC). All three institutions are designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions and share a strong interest in developing programs to address three challenges: the (1) lack of computing courses that are sensitive to background, gender, academic level, and domain interest; (2) underrepresentation of women and other minorities in computing; and (3) achievement gaps across ethnic and gender identities in computing.
In order to address these challenges, DS-PATH intends to create a sequence of courses in Data Science that include online modules that aim to build bridges between data science and the physical sciences, the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts, modeled on established pedagogical approaches such as Project Based Learning (PBL). Through the creation of PBL course material, DS-PATH aims to address achievement gaps between majors, as well as achievement gaps across ethnic and gender identities in introductory computing courses. Through online instruction, students will be able to select a series of laboratory problems that apply DS tools and content knowledge to a specific domain area of their choosing.
The project will convene an interdisciplinary faculty team (comprising of CS, Business, Geology, Mathematics, and Life Sciences/Biology), to design DS courses and to pilot-test key components as the foundation for a subsequent full-scale project. The institutions will build a Network Improvement Community (NIC), “a distinct network form that arranges human and technical resources so that the community is capable of getting better at getting better”. The goal of the NIC is to allow institutions to test the impact of an intervention or implemented pedagogy using a four-part rapid improvement cycle (Plan – Do – Study – Act). Institutions will share surveys and data to better design coursework. The DS-PATH project will: develop course material for 1 pilot course on Introduction to Programming; design and propose a Data Science course sequence; develop surveys and focus group questions to evaluate the pilot course; and report on lessons learned from pilot course deployment.