MSUToday
Published: Jan. 23, 2015

Google alert: Google grant to help computer science students

Contact(s): Patricia Mroczek College of Engineering office: (517) 432-1303 mroczekp@egr.msu.edu, Tom Oswald Media Communications office: (517) 432-0920 cell: (517) 281-7129 Tom.Oswald@cabs.msu.edu

Michigan State University’s Richard Enbody knows the importance of preparing the next generation of computer scientists.

To better accomplish this, Enbody, an associate professor of computer science and engineering, received an award from the Google Computer Science Engagement Program, which supports educators teaching introductory computer science courses.

The goal of the program is to develop and integrate instructional materials in these courses, and engage and retain students in computer science, including underrepresented students.

Together with CSE associate professor Bill Punch, Enbody redesigned the College of Engineering’s “Introduction to Programming” course to incorporate real-world problem solving. An important component was developing exercises that required students to grab real data from the Internet and write programs to analyze the data.

“We are finding that non-majors gain useful programming skills and majors are better problem solvers after taking the course,” Enbody said.

They shared those exercises online, and as instructors from other institutions began using them, the work caught the attention of Google and its efforts to make an introduction to computer science more engaging.

Enbody began his MSU career in 1987 after earning his doctorate from the University of Minnesota.  His research interests includes computer security, computer architecture and web-based distance education.

The Google Engagement Award is an unrestricted gift of $5,000. Enbody plans to use the funding to bring computer scientists from underrepresented groups to speak to students.

Richard Enbody, associate professor in computer science engineering

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