Bringing Community-Engaged Learning & Risk Assessment to Dalian

Since September 7th, I have been visiting Dalian, China to teach a modified version of the third-year Systems Analysis & Design in Applications course (CIS3750) that I typically teach each fall at the University of Guelph. My Dalian students are mostly second-year, but all are studying computer science at Dalian Nationalities University.

Amazingly, there are only 7 hours of classes remaining before I pack up and fly to Taipei for the g0v Summit. My last lecture is scheduled to finish at noon this Saturday. Time flies when you’re having fun, apparently.

Before I depart for Taipei, however, and in addition to the classes that remain to be taught, I also will be giving two separate research talks. One of them is scheduled for today, the other for Thursday.

The first of my sixty-minute talks – Civic Engagement & Social Entrepreneurship: Creating and Managing a Community-Engaged Computer Science Classroom – is a bit of a dry run for the ninety-minute workshop I’ll be leading with my grad student, Nic Durish, in Taipei next week. While this talk won’t require as much audience participation as the workshop, I’m hoping I can use it to work out any kinks and perhaps streamline the story that Nic and I will be telling. My other goal for this talk is to simply share some of the best practices and observations that I’ve made over the last 6 years teaching CIS3750 and ICON at the University of Guelph, including how and why one might make their computer science classroom a community-engaged learning classroom, issues to watch out for, and the potential outcomes and learning opportunities (and challenges) that come with such a decision.

The second talk will focus on some of the other work that I’ve been doing with several students and colleagues (Brandon Edwards, Steven French, Devin Rose, Ross Kett, Jarrett Phillips, Dr. Robert Hanner, and Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs) related to better understanding the effects of human activities on the environment and human health. Since the talk isn’t complete, the following might change, however, I am expecting to cover much of the research my students are doing on environmental agent-based models, joinpoint regression, and sample size estimation (to name a few).

Abstracts for both talks are below. Slides for the first talk are also included – but I’ll have to post the other slides later as they aren’t complete as of yet.

    1. Civic Engagement & Social Entrepreneurship: Creating and Managing a Community-Engaged Computer Science Classroom 

      The goal of this talk will be to describe the challenges and opportunities that Community Engaged Learning (CEL) provides, including a discussion of the various participants involved, a description of the timeline and tasks associated with the development of a CEL classroom, the necessity of managing expectations, and the outcomes to date (both from the student and community points of view). This will be accomplished through a discussion of a series of case studies where computer science students were challenged to address broad social challenges (e.g. food insecurity) under the guidance and training of not-for-profit community partners. Outcomes, best practices, and lessons learned will be discussed. The talk will also include discussion of several outstanding questions associated with a CEL computer science classroom.

  1. Understanding Human Impacts on the Environment and Human Health 

    This talk will provide an overview of methods and findings related to understanding the impacts of human activities on the environment (more specifically, animal populations) and human health. This will include discussion of Spatial Poisson Mixtures Models, Join Point Regression, and environmental Agent-Based Models. Application to human health and ecological risk assessment of fish and rare bird species will be provided.


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