Success and Failure of 1000 First Semester CS Students

M. Pizka and M. Broy (Germany)


Mass CS Education, Empirical Study


In the fall of 2001 we faced the challenge to teach nearly 1000 first semester computer science students. Apart from the enormous class size our goal was to deliver high quality CS education. To achieve this, we introduced a new process supported by a technical infrastructure allowing continuous monitoring of activities in the lecture and the complementary lab. The data collected by this monitoring system for 1000 students of a single semester represents an unique in-depth view on the reasons for successes and failures of freshmen CS students. The analysis of this material delivers valuable insights for future improvements of mass as well as non-mass CS education. We present the organizational framework that was needed to teach 1000 students, sketch technical aspects of the monitoring system and relate the results of the final exam with the monitoring data collected during the term.

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