On December 29, 2022, Brian Plancher, assistant professor of computer science at Barnard College, as part of an international research team, published a new article in the Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education’s (ITiCSE) 2022 working group report produced by the Association for Computing Machinery's (ACM) Special Interest Group (SIG) on Computer Science Education (CSE). The paper, “Stop Reinventing the Wheel! Promoting Community Software in Computing Education,” explores why the tools developed by computing instructors and researchers to support teaching and education research often find limited adoptions beyond their creators. The working group asserts that some of the main issues preventing these tools’ widespread use include discoverability, availability, and adaptability.
After reviewing the literature and using community surveys to identify existing tools, the group examined the solutions that are currently available and being used by instructors; the features that will be needed for future classroom and research use; the supports that must be in place to further research in computing education; and the institutional challenges instructors face when adopting new community software solutions. Additionally, this work identifies factors that limit the adoption of solutions. Professor Plancher and his colleagues propose a number of ways to integrate and improve the availability, discoverability, and dissemination of existing community projects, and manage and overcome institutional challenges. The report also serves as a reference guide for what tools educators use and can adopt today.