About the ExcITEd SFU
Excited's research, education and dissemination activities spann over all NTNU campuses in Trondheim, Gjøvik, Ålesund as well as Nord University's campuses in Levanger and Bodø. Students, educators, study program leaders and the broad public are involved in the centres activities.
In 2020, the centre has successfully passed the midterm evaluation where it as established that Excited will receive funding for a new five year period 2022-2027. The evaluation included activities and results so far, including the Annual report for the year 2019.
The vision and objectives for the the ney five year period have been updated and can be found in the section About us.
In the years 2017-2021, the stakeholder groups were:
In the years 2017-2021, the stakeholder groups were:
Different activities organized by Excited for secondary school students led to the development of useful expertise and knowledge about teaching IT to pre-university students, increasing their awareness of IT, and making IT more motivating. These activities also led to the development of new learning resources that have been developed and piloted in and outside schools, with participants from the relevant age group. Some of these resources are at the prototype level, as for example a serious game to increase awareness of privacy issues in the modern digital world. The Excited summer schools held in Nord / Steinkjer, both in 2018 and 2019, resulted in a format that could be replicated in other contexts. Cooperation with external actors has also allowed the development of resources widely available for adoption. For example, cooperation with the Bebras project has contributed to the translation into Norwegian of Bebras´ learning resources for understanding computational thinking. Excited has funded summer job students to improve LKK’s web pages and collection of learning material, a shared resource for all LKK’s coding clubs across Norway (currently 186 clubs), widely used as well by teachers in primary and secondary schools.
For teachers in secondary schools, Excited incited the CS department at NTNU to offer two new continuing education courses on the topic “Programming for teachers”, and have contributed with follow-up research to enable these courses to flexibly support a variety of competence needs that the school teachers may have. Excited also hosted LKK’s Teacher Conference in Trondheim in 2019, gathering around 100 programming teachers for inspiration and exchange of experiences. A similar event is planned for 2020. Excited has also become involved in the program board for the study program Natural Science with Teacher Education (for students typically targeting careers as teachers in upper secondary school), to contribute to improving the social and academic learning environment and increase the throughput of candidates with informatics specialization from this degree program. At Nord university, Line Kolås has been invited to teach in the "Teacher specialist program in professional digital competence" in 2019-21 at the Teacher Training department.
To make impact on lower education decision-makers on the national level, Monica Divitini (project leader of Excited P1) has been involved in a committee for revising the computing curriculum of high schools in Norway, working on the elective course in programming. For international influence, Excited is the Norwegian member of the European Organization All Digital.
For university students in IT, Excited has been piloting a number of learning interventions locally at various campuses, in various study programs and courses within the scope of Excited. One example is “IDI work day” which targets first-year students, providing a learning (and social) arena where students come together and get help from TA’s across all the four courses they have in the same semester. The intervention started out as a pilot in one study program in Trondheim in 2017, then two in 2018, and a similar effort was also established in the Gjøvik campus NTNU, and at Nord University in Steinkjer through "Excited workshops" for students. It has now moved from pilot to ordinary operation by the department. A similar pilot to ordinary operation story is the “lunch buddy” scheme, a collaboration between Excited and the IDI department administration, which won NTNU’s Buddy Price for 2019. The aim is to help lonesome students make more acquaintances, by arranging sponsored lunch meetings between pairs of students who do not know each other from before. Another contribution is towards improved pedagogical competence of Teaching Assistants, where Excited developed an improved disciplinary specific module to the compulsory Ped course “LAOS” that TA’s must take. Excited has made research findings on the student perspective on courses with “Learning through Construction” (LtC, for instance, project-based learning), on cross-campus teaching, how students perceive their own employability, and the extent to which students are able to acquire relevant summer jobs during their studies. We have piloted the usage of student e-portfolios, by which students can reflect on their competence as it develops during their studies. On the national level, Excited has supported FIF – an umbrella organization where the student social organizations of various IT study programs in Norway gather to exchange experiences. The two main student social associations Abakus and Online at the NTNU Gløshaugen campus in Trondheim are very well run, as the students themselves organize a lot of how-to-courses, meetings and seminars with work-life representatives, announcement of relevant summer jobs, etc. – and have a lot of useful knowledge that can be transferred to student social associations from other campuses.
For university teachers, Excited has provided seed funding by means of so-called “mini projects”, where teachers could apply for money to improve the teaching in their courses, e.g. to try out new learning interventions. One example of such an intervention is to have students write parts of their own compendium. In addition to the main goal of improving student learning, the pedagogical development work and subsequent reports and publications about it (several teachers have e.g. made peer-reviewed conference papers about their mini-projects) can also be useful for the teacher in case of applying for promotion or for the title of “merited educator”. P4 project leader Rune Hjelsvold achieved such status in 2018, with work related to Excited as one of the important pillars of his application. Concerning Learning through Construction (LtC), we have made investigations relating to the teacher perspective on LtC, such as their perceived needs for learning spaces, IT tool usage in project courses, and how to succeed with forming effective student teams. A case study has been made with teachers of five different courses that were taught across two campuses, and a set of guidelines for how to prepare cross-campus teaching has been provided – with concrete advice to teachers in terms of do’s and don’ts. Excited has also contributed research insights and prototype tools related to e-assessment. On the national level, a community of practice has been established among faculty teaching game development in various higher education institutions in Norway. Within the CS department at NTNU, some coordinating groups have been organized within various topics (introductory programming, algorithms, databases) – these are not yet nationally open communities of practice but specific NTNU initiatives, though spanning all the three campuses (Gjøvik, Trondheim, Ålesund). Excited has also started a lunch seminar series at the CS department in Trondheim, also streaming to Gjøvik and Ålesund, to increase the focus on pedagogy in the discourse among staff. Excited has also started a lunch seminar series at the CS department in Trondheim, also streaming to Gjøvik and Ålesund, to increase the focus on pedagogy in the discourse among staff.
For study program leaders, Excited’s findings about employability and career-readiness for our IT students as seen from the viewpoint of employers and alumni can be interesting input for future design / redesign of study programs, and for re-accrediting existing programs. Excited has also made research about the relationships between the structure of degree programs and student satisfaction, and of correlation between student performance in various courses. Especially for LtC courses, the learning outcome descriptions have been analyzed to identify overlaps and progression. Excited was also involved in the project “Future Technology Studies” (via P2 PhD candidate Madeleine Lorås). This project was aiming to reshape both 3 year engineering study programs and 5 year integrated Master of Technology study programs at the NTNU, see report delivered in 2021.
For stakeholders in work-life, Excited at Nord University has made an investigation on the knowledge transfer between academia and work-life in creative parts of IT like games and media technology, and has contributed to setting up arenas where students and work-life representatives meet. The game development study program at Nord has achieved a very high score for work-life connectivity on NOKUT’s Study Barometer (4.4 – average for IT studies is 3.4). At the NTNU, we have investigated employer and alumni perspectives on employability and work-life competence needs for several study programs, and the findings from these studies are useful for future revisions of study programs and course content. It has also been investigated how industry representatives are brought in as guest lecturers, finding that it currently depends much on the personal networks of teachers, spurring ideas on how this can be improved.
For the research community within IT Education, Excited has published its findings in peer-reviewed conferences and journals. We have also been involved in organizing several conferences. On the national level, our main conference is UDIT (Education and Didactics in IT) where Excited has had the general chair plus several PC members the last couple of years. We are also represented with PC members in the conferences MNT and NKUL. On the international level, we organized the conferences FabLearn and IDC in Trondheim in 2018, I3E in 2019, and in 2020 we are pleased to be allowed to host the ACM ITiCSE conference in Trondheim in June.
Our vision for the period 2017-2021 was to put Norway in the forefront of innovative IT education and make IT an increasingly more attractive study choice for young people, by focusing on:
- Enhance the learning in our study programs through increased student engagement and cross-campus collaboration and co-reflection among students and staff.
- Enhance motivation and career-readiness of the candidates by increased collaboration with potential employers in the design, delivery and quality assurance of the education.
- Attract diverse talent to IT studies and profession by improving the knowledge of IT and its possible career paths among Norway’s pre-university youth.
The centre’s missions was to contribute towards the complete “pipeline” by:
- increasing pre-university students knowledge about IT and help them make an informed decision about university studies
- supporting them throughout their studies with a state of the art technologies and practices for the increasing needs, and
- bridging them with the industry and allowing them to attain the needed competencies in an ideal creative and real-life playground.
Advisory Board 2017-2021
Advisory Board 2017-2021
- Prof. Arnold Pears, Swedish Center for Pedagogical Development in Technology Education from a Student Oriented Perspective
- Prof. Peter Hubwieser, Didactics of Informatics at TU Munich
- Prof. Mark Guzdial, College of Engineering at the University of Michigan
- Dr. Barbara Ericson, College of Engineering at the University of Michigan
- Prof. Ole Iversen, FABLAB@SCHOOL in Denmark, Aarhus University