Date of Award:

5-2020

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

Committee

Jody Clarke-Midura

Committee

Sherry Marx

Committee

Mimi Recker

Abstract

Retention of women through graduation in Computer Science (CS) majors is one of the biggest challenges for CS education. Most research in this area focuses on factors influencing attrition rather than why and how women remain committed. The goal of this research study is to understand retention from the perspective of women who persisted in their CS major. Using the theoretical lens of legitimate peripheral participation in communities of practice, I designed and conducted a study that involved focus groups, interviews, journey maps, and experience sampling methods. I found that retention of women in this study was influenced by four different types of interactions and eight different practices inside the CS major. I also found that learning was a matter of multimembership at the intersection of several different communities which supported both these women’s learning and retention. Finally, this dissertation provides a cross-case study narrative that highlights commonalities and differences of different pathways of ongoing participation investigated in this study. Such narrative is illustrated by five individual case studies of five women persisting in their CS major.

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9b3ce11431848783c68fd72b59c948c7

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