SCRATCH to R: Toward an Inclusive Pedagogy in Teaching Coding

Tuesday, January 17th, 20234:00 pm – 4:30 pm ET

Presented by: Shu-Min Liao (Amherst College)


This month, in the CAUSE (Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education) / JSDSE (Journal of Statistics and Data Science Education) webinar series, we highlight the research article, SCRATCH to R: Toward an Inclusive Pedagogy in Teaching Coding. In the webinar, Shu-Min Liao will introduce SCRATCH, a kid-friendly visual programming language developed by the Media Lab at MIT. SCRATCH was designed to introduce programming to children and teens in a “more thinkable, more meaningful, and more social” way. Although it was initially intended for K-12 students, educators have used it for higher education as well, and found it particularly helpful for those who haven’t had the privilege of learning coding before college. In this presentation, Dr. Liao will discuss using SCRATCH as a gateway to learning R in introductory or intermediate statistics courses. She will explain the design of her current project and share observations from a pilot study in a liberal arts college with 39 students who had diverse coding experiences. She found that the most disadvantaged students were not those with no coding experience, but those with poor prior coding experience or with low coding self-efficacy. This innovative SCRATCH-to-R approach also offers instructors a pathway toward an inclusive pedagogy in teaching coding.