The TIDES@CSUN project is led by an interdisciplinary team working to create lab modules, programming assignments, and lecture examples for use in introductory programming courses. The team was tasked with incorporating culturally relevant, and potentially familiar, references to music from various cultures into the instruction and the project work of its required core introductory programming courses.
The project is a collaboration between various Departments on the CSUN campus, including Computer Science and Music. It is a supported by a large grant from Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (TIDES) program with funding from the Helmsley Charitable Trust. The grant is titled "Making Music: The Introduction of Computer Science Coursework with World Music Applications for the Retention of Underrepresented Students in STEM." Strong institutional support at CSUN has also contributed significantly to the ongoing project success.
Applying Programming to World Music Applications
As an applied field, computer programs are developed to address a need in an application area. Typically, the application areas presented in lectures and assigned for homework carry little cultural relevance to students. We, instead, are using musical genres such as salsa, blues and hip-hop to inspire lecture examples, programming projects and lab modules that reference musical topics such as rhythm, scales and tones across cultures.
Programming modules contain materials for students and faculty to use in lectures, labs, and homework assignments. Modules typically include specifications for a program, video(s), text, and link(s) explaining the musical and cultural concepts, skeleton code in Java, web-based sample code, video(s) explaining the sample code, solution code (available to instructors only).
Incorporating Materials into Classes
We encourage other institutions to use the materials in part or in their entirety for their course offerings. Faculty are encouraged to contact us, if they are interested in using the materials for their classes and to obtain additional support materials. STEM faculty from outside of Computer Science are also encouraged to contact us, as we are recruiting partners to expand some materials to other fields in STEM.
The TIDES@CSUN leadership team is composed of CSUN faculty PI Ani Nahapetian, Associate Professor of Computer Science, co-PI Gloria Melara, Professor of Computer Science, and co-PI Ric Alviso, Professor and Chair of Music.