The Bridges to Computing project focuses on the transition years from high school to college, working to better inform students about and prepare them for careers in computing fields. Bridges involves academic and social components geared toward advanced high school students, and early and advanced college students. The primary activities are:
- a partnership with CUNY CollegeNow offering courses for high school credit to New York City public school students, including Computing Prep and "Does It Compute?" Summer Workshop;
- hands-on, contextualized "flavors" of undergraduate computing courses: Introductory Computing ("CS0"), Introductory Programminging ("CS1") and Advanced Programming ("CS2"); and
- mentoring, from high school students to undergraduate "Ambassadors" to doctoral students and faculty.
Since Summer 2006, Bridges has reached more than 250 students from nearly 60 public high schools in Brooklyn and around New York City, over 1500 undergraduates through more than 70 sections of 17 newly developed or updated computing courses, and 21 advanced undergraduate Ambassadors. Participants are largely immigrants from all across Asia, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. Most undergraduates work part-time while attending school full-time.
Project results include the following highlights:
- Surveys show that undergraduates select class sections overwhelmingly based on schedule and professor, not according to a section's particular flavor.
- Bridges sections of undergraduate CS1 courses have shown better than average retention to CS2 and into the major, as well as fewer students repeating CS1 and fewer students exiting computing.
- A partnership between Bridges and CollegeNow, an established collaboration between the City University of New York and the New York City Department of Education (http://collegenow.cuny.edu), enables course offerings for credit and provides a sustainable model for the future, as well as possibilities to expand throughout the CUNY system.
- A Teacher Workshop, in partnership with ACM CSTA (http://csta.acm.org), gives channels for course material dissemination and student recruitment.