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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Women and Men in Computer Science: The Role of Gaming in Their Educational Goals

Women and Men in Computer Science: The Role of Gaming in Their Educational Goals
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Author(s): Jill Denner (Education, Training, Research, USA), Eloy Ortiz (Education, Training, Research, USA) and Linda Werner (University of California, USA)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 18
Source title: Gamification: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8200-9.ch092


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Playing digital games is described as a pathway to computer science (CS) classes and majors, but not all gamers want to study CS. The goal of this chapter is to explore which gaming motivations and practices are most strongly related to an interest in studying computer science, and whether the connection between gaming and computer science is similar for men and women. The data are from 545 male and female gamers taking an introductory computer science class at one of 15 community colleges in the US. Survey responses were analyzed to provide a picture of what, how often, and why they play, and interviews from 39 of the most avid gamers were analyzed for why and how they play. The results show that, on average, men play more frequently than women, and there are gender differences in the type of games they like to play and why they play them. However, playing more frequently was not associated with greater interest in studying CS for either gender. Interest in CS was highest among men who were motivated to play in order to increase skills, be with friends, connect with the game features, and by the art or graphics. However, CS interest was highest among women who consider themselves to be more serious gamers, play racing and puzzle games, play on a game console, and are motivated by fun, relaxation and social interaction. The results can inform efforts to increase the number of women that pursue computer science. The chapter concludes with recommendations for future research on how game play and interest in CS are related.

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