This CPATH award supports a curriculum initiative to inject computational thinking capability into computer science and gerontology disciplines at the local and state levels with a plan to conduct, assess, and to analyze the outcomes to guide future nationwide efforts. The proposal consists of three major components: Developing a new interdisciplinary curriculum track in Gerotechnology culminating in an undergraduate certificate; Transforming the existing SmartHome Laboratory at Iowa State University into an open project platform, so that experiments and projects on the Smart Home can be run from remote locations; and Establishing an open source community on software based on service-oriented architecture to support collaborative projects. The new track is strongly supported by the latter two components to ensure that the proposed curriculum is supported by meaningful materials, examples, and projects and that enable community building between disciplines, stakeholders, and institutions.
Intellectual Merit: The proposed work introduces a new pedagogy that is interdisciplinary, incorporates the recent developments in multiple disciplines, and focuses on hands-on and practical experience. The SmartHome Laboratory allows students to make lasting contributions to real and meaningful applications and to collaborate with students from other colleges and backgrounds. Computer science students will be able to demonstrate their computational thinking competences through human-centered learning opportunities. Students from outside computer science should have opportunities to work in teams in order to fully utilize modern technologies that have begun to transform their professions. A competent team of experts in the fields and experienced practitioners has been assembled to ensure success of the project. The main national impact should be the creation a model of a program for a tightly focused application, gerontechnology, a new collaborative program model for the nation.
Broader Impact: In addition to the main goal of injecting computational thinking capabilities into the curriculum, the investigators plan proactive recruiting and support of a diverse group of students, including those with disabilities, females, and underrepresented minorities. The proposed curriculum provides stronger incentives and better accommodations to these groups while disseminating exciting, immediately applicable, cutting edge technologies. The results from learning and project activities can be disseminated immediately to the aging population and people with disabilities through service learning courses and family outreach extension.