Computer Science Summer School
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Computer Science Summer School
The UCD Computer Science 5th Year Summer School was held on 8th June 2023. This event is part of the weeklong 5th Year Summer Schools which are held on campus each year. The objective was to provide 5th Year secondary school students with an insight into a day in the life of a Computer Science student at UCD. To achieve this, Computer Science staff and PhD students organised a comprehensive and immersive educational experience centred around computer science. The aim was to engage students in hands-on activities, discussions, and talks that would enhance their knowledge, skills, and understanding of various aspects within the field of computer science. By offering a diverse range of sessions, from programming exercises to career discussions, the goal was to inspire students, foster their curiosity, and equip them with valuable insights into the world of computer science. The ultimate aim was to create a dynamic learning environment that encourages exploration, learning, and personal growth in a supportive and inclusive setting.
Who came to the Summer School?
60 secondary school students attended from 45 schools nationwide and the majority are starting their final year in secondary school in September 2023.
What happened on the day?
The summer school day was about experiencing a day in the life of a Computer Science student in UCD. It happened at the UCD O'Brien Centre for Science. We started with signing in and then did coding challenges at different levels. Associate Professor John Dunnion explained how Computer Science is taught at UCD. Later, UCD graduate Anu Bode-Favours showed us what it's like to be a computer science student. We also learned about careers in gaming, fintech, and data science from experts like Assistant Professor Abey Campbell, Assistant Professor Sean Russell, and Associate Professor John Dunnion. We finished by giving our thoughts about the day.
What did they do?
During the full day of the CS Summer School, we organized various activities to engage and educate the students:
Registration & Icebreakers:
Students met their Student Leader and participated in mini ice breakers to get to know their groups.
Programming Session 1 - Building a GUI-Based Calculator:
Introduction to creating a calculator using Python.
Students coded a basic calculator with operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Enhanced the calculator with more functions such as logarithms, exponentiation, and equation solving.
Customized the calculator's appearance and interface.
Talk - What is Computer Science?:
Students attended a talk to gain insights into the fundamentals of computer science.
Programming Session 2 - Emotion Detection with Textual Data:
Introduced emotion detection using text analysis with Python.
Students crafted a code to identify emotions in given text.
Enabled the computer to verbalize the detected emotion.
Encouraged expanding the code's capabilities, like working with different languages and sentiment analysis.
Talk and Workshop - Life as a Computer Science Student:
Students participated in a talk and workshop to understand the experiences of computer science students.
Career Panel Discussion - Gaming, Fintech, Data Science:
Students attended a discussion on career options in different fields of computer science.
Feedback & Finish: Students provided feedback on the sessions through a Google form, ensuring continuous improvement for future events.
Throughout the day, students were actively involved in coding exercises, talks, and discussions, fostering a comprehensive understanding of computer science. The activities were designed to be inclusive for students with different skill levels and backgrounds, making the CS Summer School an informative and engaging experience.
Who from UCD was involved on the day?
Assistant Professor Anca Delia Jurcut from the School of Computer Science and Gary Dunne from the UCD Science Office led the organization of the summer school. They were assisted by Furqan Rustam and Tharindu Lakshan Yasarathna, who are PhD scholars from UCD School of Computer Science. Various UCD academics and alumni took part in different talks, including Associate Professor John Dunnion, Anu Bode-Favours, Assistant Professors Abey Campbell and Sean Russell. Associate Professor John Dunnion led the talk on "What is Computer Science?" UCD graduate Anu Bode-Favours and current student Anastasiaa Zavrak shared their insights in the workshop about "Life as a Computer Science Student." The "Career Panel Discussion - Gaming, Fintech, Data Science" involved contributions from Assistant Professors Abey Campbell and Sean Russell, and Associate Professor John Dunnion. These talks, along with programming sessions and panel discussions, formed an integral part of the engaging and educational experience offered during the summer school event.
The organization of the Summer School involved the participation of 10 PhD students from various levels within the UCD School of Computer Science as well as 13 UCD Science Student Leaders. One of the activities they facilitated was a workshop on Python programming, contributing to the overall learning experience of the summer school.
Photo shows Assistant Professor Anca Delia Jurcut with Furqan Rustam, Eranda Jayatunga, Duc-Anh Nguyen, Thulitha Senevirathna, Rashmi Erandika Ratnayake, Erfan A. Shams, Tharindu Lakshan Yasarathna, Chamara Sandeepa, Eddie Antonio Santos, and Saugat Aryal.
These 10 students played a crucial role in organizing the programming sessions. During these sessions, we guided students through hands-on activities centered around Python programming. Our aim was to actively involve them in coding by assigning various tasks. Here's a summary of the two sessions:
Session 1: We focused on building a user-friendly calculator using Python. We started by explaining how Python enables the creation of calculators. Then, we encouraged students to personalize and enhance the calculator by adding new operations. Initially, we developed a basic calculator with functions like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Later, we challenged students to incorporate advanced features such as logarithms, exponentials, and solving equations.
Session 2: In the second session, we explored emotion detection using text. We designed a program capable of identifying emotions in provided text and even expressing them audibly. We elucidated the code's mechanics and assigned tasks like expanding emotion detection to different languages or engaging in sentiment analysis.
What did the students think of the day?
The students' reactions to the CS Summer School were largely positive and appreciative. They found the experience enjoyable and informative, indicating that they gained valuable insights into programming and computer science. Some students mentioned specific sessions that they found interesting and engaging, such as programming activities and talks about computer science and career options. They also expressed an enhanced understanding of computer science as a subject and a better awareness of potential career paths. A number of students appreciated the coding activities, finding them fun and insightful. Overall, the students seemed enthusiastic about the summer school, highlighting its educational value, and expressing gratitude for the opportunity to learn about computer science and explore potential future paths.