Welcome to the latest installment of "EduBits," your quarterly pipeline to new and exciting happenings in the world of ACM Education. In this edition, updates on ACM curricular work from the Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education and IT2017 Steering Committee, and the release of the CE2016 curricular recommendation in computer engineering. There is also news from the new Retention Committee exploring issues facing women and underrepresented minority students in undergraduate CS programs, and news from the latest Learning at Scale conference.

The Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education: Its Progress and Artifacts by Elizabeth L. Hawthorne, Union County College; Vice-Chair, ACM Education Board

Initiated by the ACM Education Board in September 2015, the Joint Task Force for Cybersecurity Education (Cyber JTF) is a collaboration among international computing societies, including the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), IEEE Computer Society (IEEE CS), Association for Information Systems Special Interest Group on Security (AIS SIGSEC), and International Federation for Information Processing Technical Committee on Information Security Education (IFIP WG 11.8). The Cyber JTF grew out of the foundational efforts of the Cyber Education Project (CEP). It was formed with the explicit purpose of developing comprehensive, undergraduate curricular guidance in cybersecurity education that will support future program development and associated educational efforts [4].

Readers may recall an update published in an earlier EduBits [7]. Since then, the Cyber JTF has been quite busy. During January 2017, the JTF published its first draft for public review and comment. There were more than 1,400 downloads from the JTF website. Industry, government, and academic stakeholders from more than 13 countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, and Australia, responded to the call providing substantive feedback that informed the second public draft. In addition, the JTF received funding from the National Security Agency to extend its work by linking the curricular guidance to the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. The second public draft was released in early June 2017 in time for prominent cyber education conferences in the United States, all taking place that month–the National Cybersecurity Summit, the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education (CISSE), and the Community College Cybersecurity Summit (3CS). The review period for the second and last public draft extends through the middle of July 2017 with feedback collection at the JTF website [4].

In March at SIGCSE 2017, the [Cyber] JTF presented a spirited special session, and hosted a well-attended affiliated event entitled, "Seeking Global, Industry and Training Provider Perspectives to Inform the Joint Task Force for Cybersecurity Education."

To date, the work of the Cyber JTF has informed the U.S. Presidential Commission on Cybersecurity, and in February 2017, Co-Chair Dr. Diana Burley was invited to testify before a Congressional hearing of the Research and Technology Subcommittee (of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee) on Strengthening U.S. Cybersecurity Capabilities [6]. In March at SIGCSE 2017, the JTF presented a spirited special session, and hosted a well-attended affiliated event entitled, "Seeking Global, Industry and Training Provider Perspectives to Inform the Joint Task Force for Cybersecurity Education." At the end of May 2017, the Cyber JTF also hosted a session at the IFIP 10th World Conference on Information Security Education (WISE) conference in Rome, Italy. In November 2017, the JTF will be presenting again at the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) conference.

Visit the website of the Cyber JTF [4] frequently to stay apprised of its continued progress, increasing artifacts, and curriculum guidelines. The final guidelines for undergraduate cybersecurity education are scheduled for publication in December 2017.

Computer Engineering Report Launched by John Impagliazzo, CE2016 Task Group Chair; Hofstra University

ACM has published the computer engineering report, Computer Engineering Curricula 2016: Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computer Engineering, also known as CE2016. This report is a significant update of its predecessor CE2004. The document is available on the ACM website [1] with a publication date of 2016 December 15.

Computer engineering as an academic field encompasses the broad areas of electrical or electronics engineering and computer science. Computer engineering is defined as a discipline that embodies the science and technology of design, construction, implementation, and maintenance of software and hardware components of modern computing systems and computer-controlled equipment. This unique combination prepares students for careers that deal with computer systems from their initial design through their implementation.

ACM has published the computer engineering report, Computer Engineering Curricula 2016: Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computer Engineering, also known as CE2016.

The foundation for this report is a fundamental body of knowledge from which an institution can develop or modify a curriculum to fit its needs. This body of knowledge contains broad knowledge areas that are applicable to all computer engineering programs worldwide. Each knowledge area comprises a thematic scope and a set of knowledge units. A set of learning outcomes defines each knowledge unit. Breadth and depth in science and mathematics are necessary for this discipline. Additionally, a culminating design component is vital to this program as well as an emphasis on professional practice, legal and ethical issues, and the social context in which graduates implement engineering designs.

The report is the result of a cooperative global effort of professional involvement. I thank the members of the task group, the reviewers, and all concerned for bringing this work to a successful closure.

Information Technology Project Approaches Closure by Hala Alrumaih, IT2017 Task Group Member; Al Imam Mohammad Ibn, Saud Islamic University & John Impagliazzo, IT2017 Task Group Member; Hofstra University

Over the years, ACM has spearheaded many efforts to produce a series of curricular documents [1] that are ongoing even today. One of the projects under development is the 2017 document "Computing Curricula Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Information Technology," also known as IT2017. The report represents an evolution from its predecessor, IT2008. The IT2017 task group is the committee developing these guidelines and the its membership consists of twelve professionals representing academia (nine) and industry (three). Its scope encompasses three continents (Asia, Europe, North America) and five countries (Canada, China, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, United States) have professional representatives on the task group.

The IT2017 task group has adopted both a vision and a mission for the project. The vision is "The IT2017 report will become a sought-after and durable set of guidelines for use by educational institutions around the world to help them develop IT curricula for the next ten years!" Knowledge alone is not sufficient to be productive in the changing information technology world. Therefore, since competency encompasses knowledge, ability and skill, the mission of the IT2017 project is, "To produce a globally accepted document of information technology competencies appropriate for undergraduate degree programs that meets the growing demands of the changing technological world and that is useful for both industry and academia." The task group is pleased to report that it has remained steadfast in upholding these principles throughout its deliberations.

The IT2017 report proposes a learner-centered framework that develops undergraduate IT graduates for industry or further academic study. The report articulates competencies grounded in content of essential and supplemental IT domains to enable faculty members to implement IT degree programs that articulate convincingly what students should be able to achieve by the time of graduation.

The report draws heavily on industry perspectives. Data received from industry surveys, publications, and skill-gap analyses form the foundation for the curricular framework. Clusters represent essential and supplemental domains, and performances support these domains to assist faculty members and industry professionals to monitor the level of students' achievements by the time they graduate.

One of the key challenges discussed at the last ACM Education Council meeting, in August 2016 in San Francisco, California, was the retention of women and underrepresented minority students in undergraduate CS education programs.

The IT2017 report reflects a full competency-based approach to learning information technology. It is unique and represents a departure from the approach that appears in other reports in the computing curricular series. As members of the IT2017 task group, we are proud to report this achievement.

The IT2017 report is undergoing its final distribution for public review and comment; the most recent version of the document is available on an ACM website [2]. After public review and comment, the IT2017 task group document will undertake the final update of the report with anticipated endorsements by ACM and the IEEE Computer Society by September, and publication by 2017 November.

ACM Retention Committee by Yan Timanovsky, ACM Education & Professional Development Manager

One of the key challenges discussed at the last ACM Education Council meeting, in August 2016 in San Francisco, California, was the retention of women and underrepresented minority students in undergraduate CS education programs. One idea that emerged from this meeting was to create a task force that would study the issue and make recommendations addressing the challenge.

Led by ACM Education Board members Alison Derbenwick Miller (Oracle) and Chris Stephenson (Google), the ACM Retention Committee had its first call in November 2016. Members include Christine Alvarado (UC San Diego), Lecia Barker (NCWIT), Tracy Camp (Colorado School of Mines), Carol Frieze (Carnegie Mellon University), Colleen Lewis (Harvey Mudd), Erin Mindell Cannon (Google), Loretta Moore (Jackson State), Debra Richardson (UC Irvine), Mehran Sahami (Stanford), Elsa Villa (UT El Paso), and Henry Walker (Grinnell College). The scope of their activity, as agreed by the committee, includes identifying existing data being collected, developing a standard data collection template the committee members can share with their institutions, collecting data from committee member institutions using the template, and analyzing the data and determining next steps, such as more data collection, recommended interventions, and so forth.

Since then, the committee has held regular meetings. At one meeting, group member Collen Lewis led a highly engaging interactive activity in which the committee members shared information about current intervention strategies and tools. This activity produced a surprising amount of information on interventions being carried out across a wide array of programs and institutions. A more extensive article or series of articles documenting the group's activities and findings may appear in future editions of Inroads.

The Retention Committee is working with the National Center for Women & Technology (NCWIT) on data collection, with NCWIT providing data tools. As of this writing, the group reached an agreement in principle with NCWIT to collaborate on this project, developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NCWIT to clarify roles, responsibilities, and timelines. The agreement provides access to any members of the Retention Committee who have not yet provided their data or need to update their data within the tool. NCWIT will also share all the data they have collected from their program participants (while respecting and protecting the privacy of those institutions). The Retention Committee will work with the NCWIT team to slice and analyze the data and are optimistic the results will provide new insights into the retention challenge. The group hopes to report on the results of this effort at SIGCSE 2018.

Fourth Annual Learning @ Scale Conference Brings Together Computer Scientists and Learning Scientists by Yan Timanovsky, ACM Education & Professional Development Manager

Leading global researchers in the emergent field of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) gathered April 20–21 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the Fourth Annual Learning at Scale (L@S) Conference [5]. L@S promotes scientific exchange of interdisciplinary research at the intersection of the learning sciences and computer science. Inspired by the growth of MOOCs and the accompanying shift in thinking about education, ACM created this conference as a scholarly venue and key focal point for the review and presentation of the highest quality research on how learning and teaching can change and improve when done at scale.

For the first time, this year's L@S conference was held as a standalone symposium–past iterations of L@S have been co-located with more established conferences such as SIGCSE, CSCW, and LAK. The conference built on three successful symposia, including last year's event at the University of Edinburgh. The 2017 L@S Conference General Chair was Claudia Urrea (MIT), with Co-Chairs Justin Reich (MIT) and Candace Thille (Stanford University). Bror Saxberg, Chief Learning Officer at Kaplan, Inc., provided the keynote address. A panel titled "Creative Learning @ Scale" included Mitch Resnick (MIT Media Lab) as moderator, Karen Brennan (Harvard Graduate School of Education), Cristóbal Cobo (Ceibal Foundation), and J. Philipp Schmidt (MIT Media Lab). See website for program, proceedings, and other information [5].


1. ACM Curricula Recommendations; http://www.acm.org/education/curricula-recommendations/. Accessed 2017 March 1.

2. CE2016: Computer Engineering Curricula 2016; http://www.acm.org/binaries/content/assets/education/ce2016-final-report.pdf. Accessed 2017 March 1.

3. IT2017: Information Technology Curricula 2017; http://it2017.acm.org/. Accessed 2017 March 1..

4. The Joint Task Force for Cybersecurity Education; http://www.csec2017.org/. Accessed 2017 February 24.

5. Learning at Scale Conference; http://learningatscale.acm.org/las2017/. Accessed 2017 March 1.

6. Research and Technology Subcommittee Hearing: Strengthening U.S. Cybersecurity Capabilities; https://science.house.gov/legislation/hearings/research-and-technology-subcommittee-hearing-strengthening-us-cybersecurity. Accessed 2017 February 24.

7. Timanovsky, Y. et al. EduBits. ACM Inroads 7,4 (2016), 8–12.


Hala Alrumaih
Al Imam Mohammad Ibn
Saud Islamic University
Information Systems Department
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Elizabeth K. Hawthorne
Union County College
1033 Springfield Ave.
Cranford, NJ, USA

John Impagliazzo
Emeritus Professor,
Hofstra University
Hempstead, New York USA

Yan Timanovsky
Liaison to the Education Board
ACM Headquarters New York, New York USA

Copyright held by author.

The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 2017 ACM, Inc.

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