Newswise — CHARLOTTE, N.C.  - Jan. 9, 2017 - The team of teaching innovators in the Department of Computer Science, lead by Dr. Kalpathi Subramanian, Associate Professor, received a $541,616 award from National Science Foundation for the “Retaining and Engaging Computer Science majors By Solving and Visualizing Algorithmic Problems on Real-world Data Sets” project.

The project addresses the design of engaging teaching materials for the first two years of undergraduate Computer Science (CS) curriculum. It is considered foundational for building student's knowledge and skills. Highly engaging material in introductory courses is essential to retaining CS students. This new project builds on the earlier success of the BRIDGES software system deployed in sophomore level courses in Computer Science at UNC Charlotte.

Dr. Subramanian collaborates with Dr. Eric Saule (UNC Charlotte), Dr. Jamie Payton (Temple University) and evaluator Dr. Paula Goolkasian. The team will expand and augment the BRIDGES software system, add new capabilities to impact freshman level courses in computer science and serve to fill the knowledge gaps of incoming students spanning diverse backgrounds.

The BRIDGES system deploys information visualization concepts to improve student's understanding. It was developed to serve sophomore level Computer Science courses (algorithms and data structures) and combines real-world data sources (scientific, entertainment, health domains, etc.) and engaging visualizations as part of routine course work. The new project will greatly expand the use of BRIDGES in external institutions (currently 4 institutions are using BRIDGES) and related disciplines. It will also support extensive outreach efforts to K-12 students.