2021 EDSIG Proceedings: Abstract Presentation

MWC3: An example of an Intercollegiate Regional Computing Conference

John Reynolds
Grand Valley State University

Victoria Fleenor
Cornerstone University

Subject Area: pedagogy, cross-disciplinary computing, teaching/learning environments Abstract: Intercollegiate competition for students in their discipline is beneficial, though often fraught with obstacles. Providing such an opportunity has been shown to provide students with not only an increased perception of careers in their field, but also an increased intent to pursue a career in it (Magnotta et al., 2020). Specifically in the computing fields, gamification has been shown to be both engaging and motivating for students (Caton & Greenhill, 2014; Yoon & Kim, 2015). Area business leaders and educators are passionate about encouraging Information Technology/ Information Systems skills at the collegiate level. There is a long history of successful national student conferences, but the cost for travel and lodging in recent years has limited the students who could attend. One goal of this conference was to remove that burden from the students. The funding model for a regional conference that is free of student registration fees includes: (1) being hosted at a sponsoring school; (2) soliciting contributions from participating colleges and universities and local employers; and, (3) enlisting volunteers from the participating schools and employers. To manage the conference, educators from multiple local colleges and universities collaborated independently to form the MWC3 Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit foundation, to manage the conference. The mission of the MWC3 is to provide students with both a learning and competitive environment in which they can explore, improve, and test their computing and organizational skills, while also networking with local business leaders/employers. This group is in the process of planning to host their third regional competition in March 2022—a two-day, multi-event conference including both learning and competitive sessions in mainframe, programming, cybersecurity, data, and productivity applications. The event includes involvement by local businesses who sponsor over $10,000 in costs, including the venue, meals, and promotional items. The first two years of the conference in 2018 and 2019 (the event was cancelled during COVID), saw attendance and sponsorship double as schools and employers became more invested in the event’s benefits. This year’s conference is on track to continue that trend. The authors of this abstract will share the process used in organizing this group, soliciting local school and sponsor engagement, and planning/hosting this competition, including best practices, tips and tricks, and outcomes. References Caton, H., & Greenhill, D. (2014). Rewards and Penalties: A Gamification Approach for Increasing Attendance and Engagement in an Undergraduate Computing Module. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 4(3), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.4018/ijgbl.2014070101 Magnotta, S. R., Peev, P., & Steffes, E. (2020). Everyone’s a Winner: The Initiation and Effectiveness of an Intracollegiate Sales Competition. Journal of Marketing Education, 42(3), 243–256. https://doi.org/10.1177/0273475320947774 Yoon, D.-M., & Kim, K.-J. (2015). Challenges and Opportunities in Game Artificial Intelligence Education Using Angry Birds. IEEE Access, 3(Journal Article), 793–804. https://doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2015.2442680