NCWIT EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Awards

The NCWIT EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Awards, funded by Google, recognize faculty who are making a difference in their introductory computer science classrooms through excellent and engaging curriculum, contributing the best of the best to the EngageCSEdu collection. EngageCSEdu is a growing, peer-reviewed collection created by faculty across the country that employ a number of “engagement practices” that research suggests are likely to engage students, especially women and other underrepresented groups.


We are pleased to announce the 2019 EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Award Recipient!

Mark Gondree, Sonoma State University

NCWIT recognizes Professor Mark Gondree, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Sonoma State University, with the 2019 Engagement Excellence Award for his CS1 assignment, Air Quality Index Calculator. The assignment is exemplary for its clarity of presentation, the quality of scaffolding, and the integration of a highly relevant and meaningful interdisciplinary topic: the scientific measure of environmental air quality. Students are asked to write a program that utilizes user input simulating data from environmental sensors to compute the appropriate air quality index and print the associated category metric. Professor Gondree includes relevant syntactic advice and hints, and effectively scaffolds the assignment by building in two checkpoints, each with sample input and output (subtly highlighting some special cases). These checkpoints integrate interactions with faculty into the assignment. In addition, he provides excellent references, allowing students to more fully explore this interdisciplinary topic. The assignment is coupled with a ‘redux’ version intended for students to revisit the topic once they have been exposed to more advanced data structures.

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Want to become eligible for next year’s award?

[[nid:7760 align=right]]Contribute your own engaging resources for introductory computer science courses at To begin, become a member of the EngageCSEdu community by creating an account. Once you're logged in, click "Contribute Materials" to learn more and to access the online submission form. For more information, please contact


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Beth Quinn
Research Scientist & EngageCSEdu Director
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