About the DIVAS Project

Project Summary

The DIVAS Project at Doane University and St. Edward's University will develop, utilize, and test instructional practices and curricular innovations that will engage and train STEM undergraduate students in computation and computing, related to image processing, to benefit the STEM workforce of tomorrow. The DIVAS Project has created the Doane DIVAS Center, which offers any student interested in exploring computational skills a healthy buffet of formal curriculum, coding "boot camps," discussion forums, code reviews, and research opportunities.
Through these interventions, the DIVAS program will achieve the following objectives:
  1. Explore the effectiveness of image capture and analysis as a computational application utilized in introductory-level biology and chemistry courses to increase self-efficacy in utilizing computers to solve a problem.
  2. Explore the effectiveness of coding boot camps on student attitudes toward computation and their ability to demonstrate effective computational thinking.
  3. Measure impacts of paired programming projects, code reviews, and professional development seminars on self-efficacy and ability to apply computational skills.
  4. Investigate the impact of curricular and co-curricular interventions in computation on student preferred and actual career path.
The intellectual merit of the DIVAS program includes the improved educational opportunities for Doane and St. Edward's students that will result from creating the Doane DIVAS Center and supporting a cohort of computationally skilled biology and chemistry majors. DIVAS 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 DIVAS Scholars will receive through boot camps, seminars, and research experiences will prepare them to be successful in the workforce. All program elements will be carefully evaluated in terms of their impact on students' self-efficacy, performance, and career preferences. The program will build upon and identify best practices in computational science education.
The DIVAS project will impact both STEM educational practices and STEM workforce development by:
  1. Researching new pathways for training natural science majors in computation and programming;
  2. Increasing the number of skilled computationally trained scientists entering the workforce;
  3. Building a partnership between Doane and St. Edward's and the Software Carpentry Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the computational literacy of scientists;
  4. Developing new curriculum, including image processing modules for classroom use, a programming boot camp, and an image processing bootcamp; and
  5. Form a foundation for the creation of a broader DIVAS network for wider implementation of successful interventions.

The DIVAS Project has the real potential to provide an intense, positive impact not only a core cohort of nearly 20 diverse and underrepresented STEM students, and also undergraduate students in STEM majors at Doane and St. Edward's. 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.

 

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