I am a PhD student at the University of Toronto; my research focuses on CS education. I'm a member of the Software Engineering Research Group of the Department of Computer Science, being supervised by Steve Easterbrook and Michelle Craig. My PhD work is on evaluating the effectiveness of diversity initiatives in CS education.
My MSc research project was on the pedagogical effects of having first-year CS students compare and contrast different approaches to writing code.
I graduated from the University of British Columbia, where I completed a BSc in Honours Integrated Sciences (CS/physics/math). My honours thesis was on knowledge transfer between teaching assistants working in pairs. I also spent seven terms of my time at UBC doing research and curriculum development for digital logic labs.
CSC 120: Computer Science for the Sciences
Introduction to Python for students in the natural/social sciences.
Instructorships at U of T
- Spring 2013: CSC 190 (Computer Algorithms and Data Structures)
Teaching assistantships at U of T
- Fall 2012: CSC 192 (Data Structures and Algorithms)
- Spring 2012: CSC 258 (Computer Organization)
- Fall 2011: CSC 148 (Introduction to Computer Science)
- Fall 2011: CSC 165 (Mathematical Expression and Reasoning for Computer Science)
Teaching assistantships at UBC
- Summer 2011: CPSC 221 (Basic Algorithms and Data Structures)
- Spring 2011: CPSC 121 (Models of Computation)
- Fall 2010: CPSC 121 (Models of Computation)
- Summer 2010: CPSC 121 (Models of Computation)
- Summer 2010: CPSC 221 (Basic Algorithms and Data Structures)
- Spring 2010: CPSC 121 (Models of Computation)
- Fall 2009: CPSC 111 (Introduction to Computation)
- Spring 2009: CPSC 121 (Models of Computation)
- Fall 2008: CPSC 111 (Introduction to Computation)
Other teaching roles at UBC
My main research interest is in CS education. The three areas of CS education I'm currently working in are:
- Incorporating societal context into CS curricula, such as through labs and assignments
- Developing and assessing instructional activities such as labs, assignments and in-class workbooks
- TA training, development and support; particularly for lab-based teaching
Most of my past work has been on longitudinal assessment and refinement of digital logic labs, and studying how to improve support for laboratory TAs. My MSc research looked at assessing different approaches to in-class workbooks for introductory data structures courses.
Papers and Presentations
On adding context to CS
- Computer science education for social good. Michael Goldweber, John Barr, Elizabeth Patitsas. SIGCSE 2013.
- A framework for enhancing the social good in computing education: a values approach. Michael Goldweber, John Barr, Tony Clear, Renzo Davoli, Samuel Mann, Elizabeth Patitsas, Scott Portnoff. Working Group Report. ITiCSE, July 2012. (Slides here)
On evaluating diversity initiatives in CS
- Investigating the effects of women-in-CS initiatives. Elizabeth Patitsas. ICER 2013.
On supporting teaching assistants
- A Case Study of the Development of CS Teaching Assistants and Their Experiences with Team Teaching. Elizabeth Patitsas. Koli 2013.
- A Case Study of Environmental Factors Influencing Teaching Assistant Job Satisfaction. Elizabeth Patitsas. ICER 2012. (Slides here)
- What can we learn from quantitative teaching assistant evaluations? Elizabeth Patitsas, Patrice Belleville. WCCCE 2012. (Slides here)
- Knowledge transfer between laboratory teaching assistants. Elizabeth Patitsas. BSc Honours thesis. April 2011.
On developing and assessing educational activities
- The Canterbury QuestionBank: building a repository of multiple-choice CS1 and CS2 questions. Kate Sanders, Marzieh Ahmadzadeh, Tony Clear, Stephen H. Edwards, Mikey Goldweber, Chris Johnson, Raymond Lister, Robert McCartney, Elizabeth Patitsas, Jaime Spacco. ITiCSE 2013.
- Comparing and Contrasting Different Algorithms Leads to Increased Student Learning. Elizabeth Patitsas, Michelle Craig, Steve Easterbrook. ICER 2013.
- On the Many Misconceptions about #Hashtables. Elizabeth Patitsas, Michelle Craig, Steve Easterbrook. SIGCSE 2013.
- Effective Closed Labs in Early CS Courses: Lessons from Eight Terms of Action Research. Elizabeth Patitsas, Steve Wolfman. SIGCSE 2012. (Slides here)
- Revitalizing Labs: Lessons from 2.5 Years of Iterative Development and Assessment of Digital Logic Labs. Elizabeth Patitsas, Steven Wolfman, Meghan Allen. SIGCSE, March 2011. Also presented at the CWSEI End-of-Year Event, April 2011. (Poster here)
- Changes in CPSC 121: Toward a Coherent Picture of Computation. Elizabeth Patitsas, Kimberly Voll. CWSEI End-of-Year Event, April 2010. Also presented at UBC Celebrate Learning, June 2010. (Poster here)
- Circuits and Logic in the Lab. Elizabeth Patitsas, Kimberly Voll, Mark Crowley, Steven Wolfman. Western Canadian Conference on Computing Education, May 2010.
- Revising an Introductory Computer Science Course: Exploratory Labs, Interactive Lectures, and Just-in-Time Teaching. Gwen Echlin, Piam Kiarostami, Elizabeth Patitsas, Steven Wolfman. CWSEI End-of-Year Event, April 2009. (Poster here)
Experience reports and teaching demos
- Dr. Horrible's Fork Bomb: A Lab For Introducing Security Issues in CS2. Elizabeth Patitsas, Daniel Levy. ITiCSE 2013.
- "Dictionary Wars": An Inverted, Leaderboard-Driven Project for Learning Dictionary Data Structures. Steve Wolfman, Kuba Karpierz, Joel Kitching, Brendan Shillingford, Elizabeth Patitsas. SIGCSE 2013.
- Teaching CPU Architecture: A New Way to Provide Effective Scaffolding. Elizabeth Patitsas, Vanessa Kroeker, Rachel Jordan, Kimberly Voll. Koli Calling, November 2012. (Poster here)
- Teaching Labs on Pseudorandom Number Generation. Elizabeth Patitsas. ITiCSE, July 2012. (Slides here)
- Teaching CS to Scientists. Elizabeth Patitsas, Steve Easterbook. ICER, August 2011. (Slides here)
- Parameter Tuning Optimisation of Sorting Algorithms. Elizabeth Patitsas. UBC CS Research Poster Competition, January 2010.
In winter 2012, I coordinated the Social Studies of Computer Science (SSOCS) Reading Group, and co-coordinated the Collaborative Challenges for the Climate Change Research Community (C4RC) seminar series.
I enjoy strategy board games and now have a small collection; I also am a fan of Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 -- someday I'll start putting my DMing notes up here. I enjoy hiking, scrambling, cycling, rock climbing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and any other excuse to be around mountains and forests.
My Geek Code is: GCS/S/ED d+ s: a-- C++ U++ P+ L++>++++ E- W++ N K- w(--) O- M-(--) V- PS++ PE+(-) Y+>++ PGP t+ 5 X- R+(++) !tv b+++@ DI+@ D--- G++ e+++>++++ h x?