Challenges and Approaches to Teaching College-Level Introductory Computer Science in Prison

Hi everyone,

I am a PhD student in Computer Science at UC San Diego, and my research focus is improving computer science higher education in prisons. I recently published a research report at a computing education research conference (ACM SIGCSE), which I wanted to share here to get feedback from the HEP community and connect with others doing similar work. 

Here is the abstract:

Efforts to bring incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals into the field of computing stand to improve equitable access to both computing jobs, and consequently the benefits of our tools
and innovations through the inclusion of more diverse perspectives. This report describes the design and execution of a college level introductory computing course conducted with 26 students
currently incarcerated at a prison in the United States in Fall 2022. We discuss the ways that the prison environment and the student body differ from traditional college computing classes, and how this impacted the design and execution of the course. We found that despite significant environmental barriers to learning to program, such as not having access to a code interpreter, there were unique affordances of the student population, including maturity and community, that could be leveraged in the course design and policies. We conclude with many lessons learned for the purpose of improving future offerings of computing courses in prisons.


You can find more information about my work and my contact information on my website. Thanks!