OSPRI Lab: CSbyUs (2019-2020)


Computer Science (CS) is a doorway to opportunities of the future, but severe shortages of CS teachers and student-centered curricula can hold back North Carolina students, particularly those from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields such as female-identifying students and students of color. To address this complex problem, CSbyUs is a collaborative vision that harnesses the power of local learning communities to transform K-12 CS education across North Carolina.

CSbyUs catalyzes a network of undergraduate mentors to tailor and teach CS curricula to the needs of middle school students across diverse North Carolina communities. The goal is for middle schoolers to increase their enthusiasm for and knowledge of CS and to sustain their interest in pursuing related fields.

Project Description

This Bass Connections project aims to create open source curricula for middle school learners grounded in critical education theory, foster equitable identity development in learning environments and articulate a participatory and inclusive vision for CS education.

After engaging with the CSbyUs after-school program, students in grades 6-8 should be able to demonstrate competency in the fundamental CS technical skills for middle school students outlined in the K-12 CS Framework; gain exposure to diverse technology-based career pathways that suit their interests and facilitate sustained agency in their communities; and continue their education with increased CS self-efficacy, thinking that “CS is for me.”

Through teaching their community-specific CSbyUs curriculum, undergraduate mentors will broaden their conceptions of CS as a tool for catalyzing their communities and become competent in teaching CS in a K-12 setting. All student team members will gain experience in prototyping and modeling a new way to teach and learn that is founded on open source principles and methodologies.

Anticipated Outputs

Publications in open access journals; App Lab curriculum for version 2.0; additional curriculum; web development for CSbyUs website; student presentation of research at two conferences; open source tools for sharing CSbyUs curricula and enabling collaboration among CSbyUs communities; data collection for further research; two grant applications


Summer 2019 – Spring 2020

  • Summer 2019 (Optional): Conduct literature review pertaining to self-efficacy and diversity in computer science and computational thinking as well as best practices in near-peer mentorship; use literature review to develop content ideas for next CSbyUs curriculum
  • Fall 2019: Teaching subteam: Teach CSbyUs curricula at public middle schools and after-school programs; Technology subteam: build tools for sharing CSbyUs curriculum and continue improving CSbyUs website; Curriculum subteam: research and develop another new curriculum
  • Spring 2020: Continue work from fall semester; apply to present at conferences; apply for grant funding; submit articles for publication in open access journals; participate in pop-up CS and collaboration events in partnership with Red Hat CO.LAB education team

Team Outputs to Date

Computer Science for NC Students (Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase 2020)

CSbyUs website (winner, EHDx 2020 website competition )


Aria Chernik #IAmCS - Open Learning

#IAmCS An Open Source Approach for Equity-focused CS Education: 2019 All Things Open Lightning Talk

This Team in the News

Bringing Computer Science Education to Young Students in North Carolina

How Inequities in Computer Science Prompted Three Educators to Innovate

Duke Faculty and Students Design Open Source Computer Science Curriculum for North Carolina Schools

Duke Hosts North Carolina Teachers and Principals at Open Design Summit

SSRI Faculty Aria Chernik Chosen As Speaker for All Things Open 2019 Lightning Talk Lineup

See earlier related team, Open Source Pedagogy, Research + Innovation (OSPRI) Lab (2018-2019).


Image: CSbyUs launch event at Duke University, Fall 2018, courtesy of Duke Social Science Research Institute

CSbyUs launch event at Duke University, Fall 2018.

Team Leaders

  • Aria Chernik, Social Science Research Institute|Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Jan Riggsbee, Arts & Sciences-Program in Education

/graduate Team Members

  • Patrick Duffy, Masters of Public Policy

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Semhal Araya, Political Science (AB)
  • Cameron Bozdog
  • Michael Castro, Computer Science (BS), Public Policy Studies (AB2)
  • Jarred Flowers
  • Faven Getahun, Political Science (AB)
  • Amy Jiang, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Ben Keegan, Computer Science (BS)
  • Eun Kim, Computer Science (BS)
  • Yasha Kulkarni
  • Eliza Paradise, Computer Science (BS)
  • Jay Patel, Computer Science (BS)
  • Megan Phibbons, Computer Science (BS)
  • Chazz Roper
  • Yeon Suh, Psychology (BS)
  • Carter Zenke, Program II (AB)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • CSbyUs
  • Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club