6 ways to improve higher-ed computer science

New report offers policy recommendations to sustain momentum for computer science education.

U.S. institutions should make every effort to expand computer science education to keep up with workforce demands, according to a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

And though interest in computer science education, and access to it, is growing, the report found that not enough students are taking high-quality computer science classes at high school and university levels.

The report found that at the university level, the U.S. boasts strong computer science programs, but universities still aren’t keeping up with demand.…Read More

Report: $3 billion federal STEM program needs better oversight

One- third of all federal STEM programs had obligations of $1 million or less.

Very few of the federal government’s 209 programs designed to increase knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) receive oversight from a specific agency, while many STEM initiatives overlap with each other, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Eight in 10 STEM-related programs identified in the extensive GAO report released April 10 had at least some overlap with similar efforts to promote the four academic fields that have been pushed by legislators, policymakers, and educators as a way to fill tech-related jobs during the economic recovery.

Read more about STEM in higher education……Read More

UCI OpenChem aims to promote STEM education

UC Irvine’s new UCI OpenChem offers comprehensive chemistry curriculum to the masses.

The University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) has launched a free online chemistry curriculum that offers videos to students and self-learners.

To create Open Chemistry (UCI OpenChem), UC Irvine partnered with OpenCourseWare, a 10-year-old project that aims to make higher education more accessible to the masses.

Currently, UCI OpenChem provides open videos that encompass UC Irvine’s entire undergraduate chemistry curriculum, with the exception of required lab courses. In total, UCI OpenChem includes 15 quarter-length videos, some of which include graduate course information.…Read More

The future of STEM education may be at risk

It’s not every day that high school students get the chance to meet a renowned physicist. But Arkansas high school students spent Tuesday listening to Dr. James Gates, a noted African-American theoretical physicist, talk about his career and the importance of a STEM education, TakePart.com reports.

“There are half of million jobs that can’t find Americans to hire because they don’t have the skills level,” he told the packed auditorium at Philander Smith College in Little Rock. “These are the jobs you most want to have in the future.”

Who could fill those? More students who focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classes in high school and college. Gates is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland in College Park but also serves on President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In that capacity, he advises Obama on myriad topics including the increasing need for STEM education in the United States……Read More

Navy plans to invest over $100 million in STEM education

A United States Navy official recently announced a plan to improve its focus on America’s science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM) over the five years, the Huffington Post reports. The Navy hopes this will help strengthen the service’s somewhat uncertain future workforce, as well as inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. A press release issued by the U.S. Navy states they will invest more than $100 million in science and technology education by 2015…

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Expanding STEM education with virtual labs

In our increasingly global and knowledge-based economy, higher education is essential for success—and strong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education is important for the nation’s competitiveness. But an uncertain economy has left some universities struggling to give students access to resources that can bolster their STEM education.

Fortunately, virtual labs can help higher-education institutions meet the challenges of space, time, and budget. With the generous support of Dell, we’ve put together this collection of stories from our archives to help you learn how virtual labs can help your college or university.

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Ga. Tech to host disabled STEM students in Second Life

Students with disabilities "show a strong capacity for science and math," researchers say.

Colleges and universities have shown concern about the growing gender gap in science, technology, education, and math (STEM), and Georgia Tech has found another group often left out of STEM studies: students with disabilities.

The university announced Feb. 23 that it would create and oversee a STEM training program hosted in the Second Life virtual world where disabled students would create avatars and receive free help from educators and experts in every STEM field.

The project, known at the university as Georgia STEM Accessibility Alliance (GSAA), was launched with $3 million in funding over five years, and will be available to students in high school, college, and graduate school, according to the school.…Read More

University looks to draw students to STEM education

Many students say their teachers don't focus on STEM fields.

Arizona State University officials will invite teenagers to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from experts in those fields. The campus program joins a host of initiatives that could attract more students to STEM education and cut down on the growing need for remedial college courses.

ASU on Jan. 25 will launch the STEM Network (STEMnet) – a group of university faculty members who will introduce middle and high school students to classroom activities for STEM education and teaching methods used in higher education.

STEMnet’s first four-hour session will be held at ASU’s Tempe campus Jan. 25, with a second session scheduled for May 17.…Read More

House passes major science, technology bill

Colleges and universities urged the bill's passing for STEM funding.
Schools and universities could see millions more for STEM education.

The U.S. House of Representatives gave its assent on May 28 to $84 billion in federal funding to help keep the country competitive in the fields of scientific and technological innovation, just days before a new list suggested China is challenging America’s dominance in supercomputing.

Among other measures, the bill supports science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education through a coordination of activities at all levels.

Passage of the legislation, called the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 5116)—the biggest science bill that Congress is expected to consider this year—came on a third try. Republicans objecting to the cost of the bill succeeded in sidetracking it on two previous occasions.…Read More