The DIVAS Project led by Doane and American University supports members of the Alliance within a Community of Practice in adopting and testing educational interventions to engage and train undergraduate students in the natural sciences in computing through the analysis of image data. A broader impact of the project is to benefit the future STEM workforce. The DIVAS Alliance offers any student interested in exploring computational skills or institution interested in building these skills a selection of formal curriculum, coding workshops, discussion forums, code reviews, and research opportunities.
The project is funded through the National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Award # 2142238.
The DIVAS Alliance aims to build on its previous success (NSF #1608754, PLoS Article) by achieving the following objectives:
- Scale up the implementation of the DIVAS sequence of interventions to include 100 scholars and 100 coding workshop participants at six institutions.
- Refine the novel computational thinking (CT) rubric into an assessment instrument that will enable more rapid assessment of crucial CT skills across program interventions.
- Conduct a conceptual replication study that assesses which program elements best predict self-efficacy, career interest, and skill in computing in a scaled project design.
The DIVAS Project aims to enhance the educational opportunities for participating students through the Community of Practice forming the foundation of the Alliance. DIVA Scholars will participate in cohort-based learning activities and natural science research experiences using their computational skills. In addition, the career exposure and professional training DIVA Scholars will receive through coding workshops, seminars, and research experiences will prepare them to be successful in the workforce. The way the program is implemented at each Alliance institution, all with their own unique resources and student populations, will inform broader adoption of the program. In this way, the project will build upon our previous experience (NSF #1608754, PLoS Article) to form a foundation for the growth of the DIVAS Alliance.
The DIVAS Project provides an intense, positive impact to participating Scholars as well as additional opportunity for other undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty in STEM programs across Alliance institutions to participate. The project is ultimately a scalable series of successful interventions that will develop diverse, computationally skilled STEM professionals who will address immediate and future STEM workforce challenges.