Looking for a Major in Computing? Technical Knowledge versus Broader Social Values in Computing Majors


  • Irene Zanardi Università della Svizzera Italiana
  • Serena Versino University of Pisa
  • Karolina Bolesta SGH Warsaw School of Economics
  • Anna Szlávi NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technolo
  • Monica Landoni Università della Svizzera Italiana


gender diversity, inclusiveness, university, computing, lexical analysis, text analysis, curricula, diversity, society, social sciences, social computing


Since universities have a crucial role in training the next generation of experts in the field, this exploratory study aims to investigate how universities present computing majors to prospective students to better understand potential barriers to diversity and inclusion. The study analyzes textual descriptions of computing majors, and titles and learning outcomes of compulsory courses of four European universities. The findings suggest that while universities acknowledge the social embeddedness of computing in majors' descriptions, their curricula prioritize technical knowledge over helping students understand the broader social impact of their future work. The misalignment between the values of prospective students, who care for the social perspective, and how universities present the field could limit diversity and inclusion. This research aims to contribute to the understanding of how universities can promote themselves and their courses to attract a more diverse and inclusive student population in computing majors, by proposing a method for objectively unveiling existing communication mismatch.


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