CSEd Research Landscape
Since the summer of 2020, we have collected publication data between 2015 and 2020 from the main CSEd research publication venues. We created a comprehensive database, used for analysis on recent contributions to CSEd research.
Computer Science Education (CSEd) is an emerging field that spans the disciplines of education, psychology, engineering, and computing (consisting of computer science, information technology, information science, and computer engineering).
Although research may be conducted in this area, and some courses may span this topic, there is limited information about what formal programs, faculty mentors, and course options exist for graduate students in the United States and abroad. For CSEd to grow as a discipline, it is important to examine the contributors, collaborations, and ongoing research, which manifests as publications.
We sought to answer the following research questions (RQs):
RQ1: Which institutions are the most involved in CSEd Research globally?
RQ2: Where are graduate students engaged in CSEd Research?
RQ3: How has participation changed in CSEd, in terms of the contributions of unique authors and intuitions?
To answer these questions, we decided to use bibliometrics — statistical methods to analyze books, journal articles, conference proceedings, or other publications.
We analyze papers, posters, panels, working groups, tutorials, doctoral consortia, tool and technique publications presented in ACM Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE) and ACM International Computing Education Research (ICER) conference proceedings, and journal publications from ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE), between 2015 and July 2020.
In total, we collected information that amounted to a total of 1,099 publications. The authors manually selected information about the publication and the affiliations from the author block into a spreadsheet. The information collected from each conference included the title of the publication, the type of publication (e.g., paper, poster, panel, doctoral consortium), the author’s (or authors’) name(s), the institutional and/or organizational affiliation.
The information collected provides a snapshot of:
CSED participation around the globe
Who is involved in CSEd work
Where these CSEd people are located
What we've learned
We analyzed 1,099 publications between 2015 and 2020, 646 from ITiCSE, 310 from ICER, and 143 from TOCE. In total, 2,068 distinct authors contributed to the venues we assessed, and among these, 963 (47%) of those authors associated with institutions in the U.S.
We also examined which institutions have the most publications based on the authors’ affiliations. From the U.S., 236 distinct universities contributed to these conferences. We observed that the greatest counts in U.S. came from North Carolina State University, followed by Georgia Institute of
Technology, and then Michigan Technological University.
Top 10 U.S. Institutions based on Publications (2015-2020)
We explored the amount of publications from international institutions, there were 578 institutions in total identified. We found that the University of Toronto, in Canada, followed by two institutions in Australia, the University of Adelaide and Monash University.
Top 10 International Institutions based on Publications (2015-2020)
Doctoral consortia (DC) are valuable venues for graduate students to not only present their work, but also to receive feedback. They foster a sense of community, and provide support for developing a
To provide insight into the contribution of Ph.D. students, we considered doctoral consortia as a measure of where graduate research occurs. However, it should be noted that ICER held DC all six years examined, whereas DC only started at ITiCSE two years ago.
Over the entire time span that was available, we observe that there were 136 distinct contributions in total. However, when considering the continent where the home institution of the authors resides, we observe that most often contributors to the doctoral consortium are from North America, and roughly one-third (32%), are also from Europe.
Continent of origin - Doctoral Consortium Students
We considered the institutional affiliations of student authors from the doctoral consortia, since this is likely the best measure of where Ph.D. research in CSEd occurs.
We do observe that Georgia Institute of Technology has the greatest number of students participating in these venues with 9 distinct publications at the doctoral consortia. This was followed by North Carolina State University, and University of Glasgow.
We found that these universities, which had 3 or more students represented, accounted for 41.2% of all the students accepted to the doctoral consortium. Furthermore, 15 universities have only one student participating over the whole time span, which may suggest isolated pockets of graduate students.
Student Participation in Doctoral Consortium
To develop an understanding of the growth in CSEd over the past 6 years, in terms of the contributions of unique authors and intuitions, we explored participation over time in U.S.
We consider first-time contributors as unique authors relative to authors who contributed in previous years, and first-time institutions compared those institutions uniquely represented, relative to those that published in prior years.
Over the past two years, we observe that the amount of unique contributors in publications has increased. When considering institutional data, the amount of first-time institutions publishing decreased from 2019 to 2020, but there was no overarching trend.
We examined international participation sans the U.S., when considering the entire time frame, we observed an increase in papers written by only one author.
The increase of first-time contributors has the same magnitude as the U.S. However, when examining first-time institutions, the averages of first-time institutions averages around 54%. This suggests that although the exact institutions participating may change over time, there is consistently new growth
What Comes Next?
We observe that overall there is new growth in CSEd, although the pattern for the U.S. is different from that of the international universities. While globally we may see an increase in participation from the addition of new institutions, in the United States these increases are more likely the result of new authors contributing from the same institutions.
We are unable to make assumptions about whether this effect is mediated primarily through faculty or student contributions, although this is something that could be explored with further investigation.
Overall, there are a number of universities and individuals that conduct CSEd research, however, certain individuals and institutions tend to contribute more frequently.
While not all the authors in publications included information about their school or department, going forward, it would be beneficial to find other ways to gather this information to obtain a better understanding of the profiles of those in CSEd.
The current research was reported in the paper Where is Computer Science Education Research Happening? published at ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ’21). Read the paper here.