Title: Rutgers University Virtual Classroom Visit: Q&A with Undergraduate Computer Scientists

Lesson Objectives: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

- Better understand both the challenges and excitement of the technology industry

  • Discuss the lack of diversity in the tech sphere and the need to increase it

  • Cite examples demonstrating the use of technological knowledge as a tool for a wide array of interests

Teaching/Instructional Method:

- Students will join a Google Hangout session with a 2-3 person panel of undergraduate computer science major from Rutgers University

Instructional Materials and Resources needed

  • projector and screen

  • reliable WiFi connection

  • HDMI cable

  • Google Hangouts/Skype permissions on school network

Warm-Up / Anticipatory Set

  • Before the Virtual Classroom Visit, students will have filled out the anonymous pre-panel survey detailing demographic information and initial interest and knowledge of the tech industry ▪ Survey can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/u/1/d/ 1exM9c2OoGhnNIqHEYzq2qujs8yFcMX1U0Orm2SbY5i8/edit? usp=sharing

  • Students will have prepared 1-3 questions each to ask the panelists. Sample questions might include: ▪ What does a day in the life of a programmer look like? ▪ Is coding as difficult as it looks? ▪ Why is it important to be tech-literate if I’m not interested in working in the technology sector?

Phase I: Presentation (00:00 - 00:15)

  • Panelists initially will not have video enabled

  • Panelists will ask students what the class thinks they look like.

  • Students will describe both physical and personality attributes of a technologist to panelists

    • Panelists may prompt students for certain traits

      • What gender am I?

      • What race am I?

      • How old am I?

      • How long have I been programming?

      • What do I do other than coding?

  • Once the sketch is finished, panelists will enable video and introduce themselves - name, class year, and how they first got into coding , and discuss with students how accurate or inaccurate their initial conceptions were

    • Panelists and students will discuss media and societal influence on who goes into tech

      • Silicon Valley television show

      • Hidden Figures movie

      • Marketing for children’s toys

    • Students will be invited to share with panelists and classmates why they may not be interested in coding or technology

      • In response, panelists will discuss their own experiences with the student’s challenges or hesitation, and correct misconceptions if applicable

      • Panelists and students will discuss the urgent need for diversity in the tech sphere, and provide examples of the benefits of a diverse workforce

        • Data Mining (Machine-Learning generated ads which prey on specific demographics

        • Product viability (new iPhones are too large for women to use comfortably)

        • Thought diversity (effects of groupthink)

Phase II - Guided Practice & Collaboration (00:15 - 00:35)

- Q & A : students will be invited to ask the questions they prepared for the panelists

  • Panelists will share their experiences in the industry and provide examples of tech giants who don’t fit the mold

Phase III – Assessment (To be completed after the VCV)

  • Students will fill out the anonymous post-panel survey after the call, reflecting upon their changes in perception (or lack there of) of the tech industry

    You can fill out the survey here:

Wrap-Up / Review and Connections (00:35 - 00:40)

  • Panelists will point students toward free resources they can utilize if they’re interested in learning more or learning to code

PDF Version