Computer technology is ubiquitous in today’s society, however a consistent mitigating factor that influences a lack of interest in computer education is gender. The literature suggests that there are still disproportionate numbers of female students enrolled in advanced computer science classes. Scholars speculate that one reason for this absence is the perception that the computer field is reserved exclusively for men. While this idea is ultimately false, the countless quantitative and qualitative studies document that the computer field is associated with the reoccurring image of “nerdy computer scientist”. Prior researchers have shown several factors for low recruitment or lack of interest of female students in computer related majors, such as: 1) women perceive computer-related majors as a male-dominated discipline and therefore shy away from those areas; 2) certain social biases or stereotyping of technology is for men; and 3) a person’s culture has the greatest influence on technology acquisition and where families’ ethnic culture is male dominated, women’s interest in technology is often not fostered or reinforced. This research study evaluates perceptions of students in an Introductory Computer course from the Computer Information Systems department at Buffalo State College. This is an elective course, students are mostly in their first or second year of college, and the majority of students reported that they have not declared a STEM field as their major. A 36-question survey was administered for data collection purposes—the survey including both qualitative and quantitative questions. A review of this data indicates some of the factors for students’ interest in STEM fields and other unexpected outcomes.
|Keywords:||STEM, Computer Education, Gender and Technology, Student Perceptions|
Associate Professor, Computer Information Systems Department, Buffalo, NY, USA
Assistant Professor, Computer Information Systems Department, Buffalo, NY, USA
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