Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Computing and Information Technology
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University (MSU) introduced the Computational Thinking Lab (CTL) to determine if a 1-credit support class for students enrolled in Intro CS could improve persistence in the major, especially for women and minority students. At that time, females made up just 12% of declared CS majors and accounted for just 8% of CS graduates; only 4% of majors identified as African American and 4% as Hispanic. Attrition was high for all students (18% for males and 19% females). Students who participated in the CTL were more likely to complete Intro CS with a passing grade or even an A. They also experienced significant improvements in their confidence, their feelings of belonging in the major, their intent to graduate and pursue careers in CS, and their understanding and expertise in CS. Retention of female CS majors at MSU improved from 78% to 93%. Retention of male CS majors at MSU improved from 87% to 91%. While these improvements are not due solely to effects of the CTL, students who participated in focus groups indicate that the CTL helped them persist in the Intro CS class and develop a solid foundation of knowledge, skills, and abilities, among other benefits. This paper describes the goals for the CTL class and how they were achieved. It documents the changes in course grades, attitudes, attrition, and graduation that have been achieved since the inception of the CTL support class. It reports student observations that help demystify the changes the CTL achieved with participants.
Dillon, L. K., & Slattery, M. (2018, June), A Flipped Active-learning Class to Support Diverse Students in a Large Introduction to Programming Class Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29677
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