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Teaching Large Computer Science Classes

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Shahriar Shamsian University of Southern California Orcid 16x16

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PhD degree in computer science from UCLA
13 years of teaching experience at UCLA and USC
25 years of experience in the software industry

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Gisele Ragusa University of Southern California

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Gisele Ragusa is a Professor of Engineering Education at the University of Southern California. She conducts research on college transitions and retention of underrepresented students in engineering and also research about engineering global preparedness and engineering innovation. She also has research expertise in STEM K-12 and in STEM assessment. She chairs USC's STEM Consortium.

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Jeffrey Miller University of Southern California

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Dr. Miller is an Associate Professor of Engineering Practice in the Computer Science Department at the University of Southern California. He earned his BS, MS, and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 2002, 2002, and 2007, respectively. He has taught collegiate Computer Science for over 10 years at California State University, Los Angeles, the University of Alaska Anchorage, and now at USC. His research in two discrete areas - Computer Science education for K12, undergraduate, and graduate students and intelligent transportation systems, specifically related to vehicular networking and ethics with driverless vehicles.

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Michael Shindler University of Southern California

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Michael is a member of the teaching faculty at the Computer Science Department of the University of Southern California. He teaches a variety of classes covering programming, systems, and computer science theory.

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Growing enrollment numbers in Computer Science programs across the country are a reflection of a rapidly growing computer industry over the last few decades. Schools have met the challenge of higher enrollment numbers by adding classes and increasing class sizes. While the size of the more specialized classes can still be kept at a manageable and reasonable level, core classes that most students have to take present special challenges. Over the last ten years, we have at different times tried different approaches and used different class sizes to accommodate the higher enrollment numbers for such core classes. Of course, each approach has had its own challenges and advantages. In this paper, we present some of the techniques that have helped us improve student learning in large class settings. We discuss challenges associated with large classes in and out of the class. For our case study we are using a graduate level algorithms design class. We share our experience in dealing with both pedagogical as well as logistical challenges in such class settings and present solutions through a combination of technology and approach to teaching.

Shamsian, S., & Ragusa, G., & Miller, J., & Shindler, M. (2016, June), Teaching Large Computer Science Classes Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26034

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