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Faculty Profiles

Elizabeth A. Simon

LSOE, Computer Science and Engineering

Computer science education, educational technology, compilers, computer architecture, performance programming, and scientific computing.

Dr. Simon is an expert on educational technology and curriculum development for computer science education. She collaborates on multinational, multi-institutional research projects to assess critical issues in computer science education, notably an estimated 50% nationwide dropout rate for introductory programming courses. Her particular interest is in the first-year experience of computer-science majors, using techniques such as active learning, mentoring, smaller class sizes and building on students' strengths to improve their satisfaction with the major. Simon is refashioning the curriculum for lower-division CSE courses to attract and retain a broader spectrum of students, including women, disadvantaged and at-risk students. Innovations include a closed-lab component that emphasizes two-person teams for writing code, and a more community-oriented environment. Simon's research in educational technology is focused on the use of technology to facilitate better educational practices in and outside of the classroom. She is investigating three technologies in particular: Ubiquitous Presenter, a classroom-presentation system originally developed at the University of Washington; Tablet PC Grader, which allows instructors to email marked-up images of their quiz results to students; and digital pens for capturing and posting notes and animations directly to the Web for the benefit of all students in a class. The educator is also leading the effort to enhance a campus-wide technology curriculum called "Fluency in Information Technology," offered by CSE since 2003, in order to attract more students from non-engineering majors.

Capsule Bio:

Beth Simon earned her Ph.D. in computer science in 2002 and her M.S. in 1998, both from UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Dayton (Ohio) in 1995. Simon was on the computer-science faculty of the University of San Diego from 2002 to '04, when she joined the San Diego Supercomputer Center's Performance Modeling and Characterization Laboratory as a programmer/analyst. As a part-time lecturer in the Computer Science and Engineering department since October 2004, she has taught introductory courses in programming and computer architecture. Simon is also actively involved in the Special Interest Group on Computer Science and Education, a forum for educators in computer science, and worked on several teaching projects in conjunction with Sixth College and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. Simon's honors include a Grace Hopper Young Investigator Award in 2002 and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (1996-99).

Selected Publications:

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