About Me

I am a PhD student at the University of Toronto; my research focuses on CS education. I'm a member of the Software Engineering Research Group of the Department of Computer Science, being supervised by Steve Easterbrook and Michelle Craig. My PhD work is on evaluating the effectiveness of diversity initiatives in CS education.

My MSc research project was on the pedagogical effects of having first-year CS students compare and contrast different approaches to writing code.

I graduated from the University of British Columbia, where I completed a BSc in Honours Integrated Sciences (CS/physics/math). My honours thesis was on knowledge transfer between teaching assistants working in pairs. I also spent seven terms of my time at UBC doing research and curriculum development for digital logic labs.


Current teaching

CSC 120: Computer Science for the Sciences
Introduction to Python for students in the natural/social sciences.

Past teaching

Instructorships at U of T

Teaching assistantships at U of T

Teaching assistantships at UBC

Other teaching roles at UBC


My main research interest is in CS education. The three areas of CS education I'm currently working in are:

Most of my past work has been on longitudinal assessment and refinement of digital logic labs, and studying how to improve support for laboratory TAs. My MSc research looked at assessing different approaches to in-class workbooks for introductory data structures courses.

Papers and Presentations

On adding context to CS

On evaluating diversity initiatives in CS

On supporting teaching assistants

On developing and assessing educational activities

Experience reports and teaching demos

Other work


I maintain a blog pertaining my research, and tweet as @patitsel.

In winter 2012, I coordinated the Social Studies of Computer Science (SSOCS) Reading Group, and co-coordinated the Collaborative Challenges for the Climate Change Research Community (C4RC) seminar series.

I have an Erdős Number of 4 (Me -> Steve Wolfman -> Richard Anderson -> László Lovász -> Paul Erdős).

I enjoy strategy board games and now have a small collection; I also am a fan of Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 -- someday I'll start putting my DMing notes up here. I enjoy hiking, scrambling, cycling, rock climbing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and any other excuse to be around mountains and forests.

I'm also an alumna of the International Baccalaureate and Science One programmes.

My Geek Code is: GCS/S/ED d+ s: a-- C++ U++ P+ L++>++++ E- W++ N K- w(--) O- M-(--) V- PS++ PE+(-) Y+>++ PGP t+ 5 X- R+(++) !tv b+++@ DI+@ D--- G++ e+++>++++ h x?