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NCWIT: 101 – Introduction to Diversifying Undergraduate Computing Programs

Org: National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)


NCWIT is a non-profit community that convenes, equips, and unites change leader organizations to increase the influential and meaningful participation of girls and women — at the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation, and disability status — in the field of computing, particularly in terms of innovation and development.

This self-guided course is designed for computing and information technology faculty and administrators who are beginning work on diversifying undergraduate computing programs or are trying to reignite existing initiatives.

In this course, you will learn from NCWIT social scientists and others from partner organizations, and from faculty and administrators who have implemented successful initiatives. At the end of the course, you’ll have a concrete plan for implementing doable recruitment and retention strategies, including some evaluation mechanisms that will help you grow your work.

Time commitment will vary by level of involvement. Estimated Time to Complete Modules (~30 hours):

  • Module 1: 4 hours
  • Module 2: 6 hours
  • Module 3: 6 hours
  • Module 4: 8 hours
  • Module 5: 4 hours
  • + Tying it all together 2-5 hours
You can do the entire course or choose particular modules. We recommend completing the work with your team for the most impact.
This course is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (1525652, 1725018).

How to use this Activity in your Project BPC Plan:

Not sure how to use this activity in your Project BPC Plan? Once you customize the red text, this activity should fit the checklist for Project BPC Plans. Disclaimer: Using this text in your Project Plan does not guarantee NSF approval of your BPC Plan.

Interested in this activity for your Departmental BPC Plan? Summarize the content below to fit the checklist for Departmental BPC Plans. Disclaimer: Using this text in your Departmental Plan does not guarantee BPCnet Verification of your BPC Plan.

If you intend to use this activity in your BPC Plan (Departmental or Project), be sure to submit the Program Interest form, found at the bottom of the page, so this organization is aware of your intended participation.


Activity Summary

The research team commits to completing the NCWIT 101 course to learn more about broadening participation in computing, why it’s important, and how to do it. The course will be taken asynchronously and team members will meet regularly to discuss all content and assignments including a plan for action within our department.


1. Context & Goals

Context:  [ADD TEXT HERE to describe the problem your plan addresses using institutional or local data. For this activity, your context may include a lack of awareness among faculty about the need for diversity initiatives or a need for bringing faculty/administrators onto the same page regarding BPC.] NCWIT’s self-paced course,NCWIT 101: Introduction to Diversifying Undergraduate Computing Programs teaches participants about how and why to make changes that will diversify undergraduate programs, based on the best available social science research. This activity is likely to be effective for BPC by teaching faculty and administrators critical social science concepts (i.e. such as stereotype threat and implicit bias) and techniques for recruiting and retaining students, and collecting data to evaluate those efforts.

Goal: The goal is to help the project team, and our colleagues, understand how underrepresentation of certain groups in computing occurs, how to make both individual- and departmental-level changes, including ensuring the classrooms, labs, and departmental culture are inclusive. The PI will attend all meetings related to this activity. The research team will commit to participating in 90% of meetings and will complete all “assignments.”

Activity Motivation: The course will provide the research team with the foundational knowledge we need to broaden participation in computing in our department.

2. Intended Population

Activity Participants: The research team. 

Participant Recruitment: [PI name(s)] will invite other departmental faculty and staff to participate.

3. Strategy

Activity Content: [PI name(s)] will identify a leader for each of the course modules. The PI will set up a schedule for the research team and support the module leader(s) in collecting homework.

During the first year of the project ([YEAR]), the research team will:

  • Complete the self-paced 16-hour course and homework (6 face-to-face meetings).
  • Distribute homework equally amongst the project team. PIs lead homework discussions.

During the second year of the project ([YEAR]), the research team will:

  • Meet 6 times during the year to discuss and further develop the plan for BPC.

During the third year of the project ([YEAR]), the research team will:

  • Meet 6 times during the year to implement an agreed-upon intervention.
  • Conduct a basic evaluation of preliminary results.

(minimum 18 meetings total in years 1-3)

Activity Budget: Year 1 is cost-free. Years 2 and 3 may have costs, depending on the goals and strategies the team decides upon.

Responsibilities of PIs: PI(s) [PI name(s)] will manage the coordination of and attend all meetings. The Co-PIs [Co-PI name(s)] will participate fully, lead at least 3 meetings, and contribute to all discussions.

4. Preparation of PIs

 The research team is ready to learn more about BPC, so need no further preparation to take this course. The PI can reach out to a BPC expert for coaching throughout this course, as needed.

5. Evaluation

In Year 1 ([YEAR]), the PI(s) [PI name(s)] will document attendance at each meeting and self-reports from participants, including reflections on the course and the completion of each module’s tasks. The PI will be guided by the fifth module of the course for the evaluation of this BPC activity. Evaluation activities such as departmental student data collection, surveys, observations, or interviews will take place in Years 2 and 3 ([YEARS]and will assess the effectiveness of the BPC activities the team has chosen for their context. The PI will oversee the data collection and evaluation of the BPC activities. Finally, all participants will complete the course evaluation to provide feedback to NCWIT.  All evaluation results will be reported in each annual NSF report.

Departmental, Partnering

Intended Level(s)
Early Career, Graduate, High School, Mid Career, Undergraduate

Intended Population
American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hispanic, LGBTQ, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Persons with Disabilities, Women

Program Costs
No Cost

Program Matching Funds Available?

Program Interest Form