Postdoctoral Researcher: API Can Code – An Equity-Oriented High School Data Science Curriculum

University of Maryland

API Can Code: Situating Computational Learning Opportunities in the Digital Lives of Students

The College of Information Studies and the College of Education at the University of Maryland seek to hire a postdoctoral researcher as part of a multiyear National Science Foundation-funded project (Award #2141655). The goal of the project is to design and evaluate a high school data science course that situates computing and data science in the lived experiences of students. This project was collaboratively designed through a research-practice partnership with the District of Columbia Public schools and is focused on designing equitable and effective computational learning experiences for students historically excluded from such learning opportunities.

This position is a full-time appointment for 12 months, renewable up to 4 years pending satisfactory performance. The position can reside in either the College of Information Studies or College of Education based on applicant preference. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. The position would ideally start in the Summer of 2022 but is negotiable.

The postdoctoral researcher will be advised by Principal Investigator David Weintrop. If you have questions about the position, please contact him ([email protected]).

Project Information
To address the growing importance of skills associated with computer science and systemic inequities in the ways data shapes the world, all students need to develop foundational computational and data literacy skills. This project will design and study a curricular unit that introduces learners to the powerful ideas of computing by having students pose questions based on their interests and answer them by writing programs to query and analyze data from publicly available platforms (e.g., Twitter, Spotify, Washington DC Open Data platform). This approach situates foundational computer science and data science learning in interest-driven contexts that draw on learners’ prior knowledge and is authentic to professional practice.

This project will (a) work with students and teachers from the District of Columbia Public Schools to design an interest- and data-driven computer science curriculum; (b) iteratively refine and study the curriculum in classrooms over 3 years; and (c) research the role of interest and data as a means to impact students’ perceptions of computer science, computer science knowledge, and understanding of the impacts of computing and data on their lives.

The postdoctoral scholar will collaborate with researchers, teachers, district leaders, students, and community members to contribute to the design and research efforts for the project, including:

  • Designing and running participatory design sessions with teachers, students, and community members
  • Iteratively designing and studying curricula and technologies to support learners in asking and answering questions using the data that surrounds them
  • Conducting classroom-based research studies
  • Analyzing, synthesizing, and disseminating data gathered during the project
  • Managing data collection protocols and coordinating research efforts
  • Mentoring graduate student researchers
  • Participating in a research-practice partnership


  • Ph.D. (or dissertation completed by start date) in a field relevant and applicable to the project work (e.g., Learning Sciences, Information Science, Computer Science, Education)
  • Interest in working closely with school district partners
  • A commitment to equity and justice in education


  • Expertise in qualitative, quantitative, or computational methods with an orientation towards a mixed-methods approach to research
  • Experience studying computing and/or technologies for learning
  • Experience with and/or understanding of design research, participatory design, research-practice partnerships, and classroom-based research
  • Familiarity with and/or willingness to learn computer science and data science concepts
  • Experience with research project management including managing data collection, analysis, and reporting
  • Interest in mentoring graduate students

How to Apply
To apply for this position, please send the following materials to David Weintrop ([email protected]):

  • Your CV
  • A cover letter stating long-term career aims, interest in the project, and suitability for the position, specifically referring to the qualification listed above
  • Writing sample(s) (up to 40 pages in length)
  • Names of 3 references

Individuals from populations historically excluded in computing are encouraged to apply.

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