Computer Science education research is a fairly young field (comparatively, of course), and that is one aspect that makes it so exciting to work in: so many questions to ask, and so many enthusiastic people to work with. But it can be hard for people to navigate their way into such a young field, as there are few guides to what are the key works so far, and much of the prior educational research is based in other areas, posing challenges in research and publication style.
That is why I am so pleased that my students have access to recent opportunities to learn and discuss education research with experts in the field. Thushari has been accepted for the ICER Doctoral Consortium, which will be held just prior to the ICER workshop. This is a fantastic opportunity for Thushari to discuss her work, and to develop a network with other education researchers and postgraduate students.
Before Thushari goes to the ICER DC, she and Tom will both be attending the Australian Association for Engineering Education Winter School on Education Research Methods. The focus of these events is quite different; the first is targetting the individual research of each student, providing feedback and guidance on their research duration, and developing ongoing networks. The second is more focussed on introducing and reviewing basic education research information, helping these students who are new to education research understand the difference between positivist and constructivist epistemologies, and to understand good practice in data collection and research methods.
Both of these events will be very beneficial for these two students – I am so glad that our community is supporting our new researchers in this way! (although a little jealous at the same time, as this would have been fantastic when I was beginning my entry into education research).
What is so exciting about these events is that they demonstrate the strength of a (relatively) new field. I look at recent appointments such as Prof Roger Hadgraft, Innovation Professor in Engineering Education (RMIT), Prof Caroline Baillie, Chair in Engineering Education (UWA), and of course, the recent appointment of A/Prof Stephen Edwards (a Computer Scientist!) as Chair of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, and I am inspired to work in such an exciting field. I would love to see all research-intensive Universities within Australia have such positions; at the moment, we have a small number of these positions, and a growing number of Computer Science and Engineering Education research groups making their presence felt. It’s a good start.