ECR Projects

Explore past and current fundamental STEM education research projects across the three research areas that NSF's EDU Core Research (ECR) program funds, as well as across ECR funding types. Other search filters draw from both NSF's data and the ECR Hub's hand coding of award abstracts.

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STEM Workforce Development STEM Workforce Development  STEM Learning and Learning Environments STEM Learning and Learning Environments  
Broadening Participation in STEM Broadening Participation in STEM

Investigating the Effectiveness of Boot Camps in Developing a Diverse Software Development Workforce

Effective Years: 2016-2019

ETR Associates and the College of Charleston will conduct a collaborative research project that is designed to increase diversity in computer science by exploring whether boot camps build students' adaptive expertise and how the actual preparation aligns with computing workforce expectations for knowledge and competencies. The study will be conducted in Silicon Valley in California and Silicon Harbor in South Carolina and will yield (1) models of the attributes of effective software developers from the perspective of universities, coding boot campus, and software development companies; (2) a conceptual framework of how software development workforce needs align with training preparation, and how variations in the preparation of adaptive expertise can inform efforts to broaden participation; and (3) longitudinal case studies of students from underrepresented groups from the two types of training settings. The results will inform researchers, educators, and employers about the knowledge and coursework necessary to develop adaptive software developers who are prepared for the computer science workforce.

The researchers will use a three-phase mixed-methods approach to investigate the following research questions: (1) What kinds of software development learning opportunities are offered by undergraduate programs? What kinds are offered at coding boot camps? (2) How well do the different training settings align with regional software development industry needs? and (3) What kinds of learners are attracted to the different learning opportunities and why? They will triangulate the findings across multiple data sources, follow a tested process for developing a conceptual framework, and use a rigorous set of procedures for analysis. Data will include surveys, interviews, and focus groups.

This project is supported by NSF's EHR Core Research (ECR) program. The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that generates foundational knowledge in three thematic areas: STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation, and STEM workforce development.