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Computer Science and Computer Information Technology majors together: Analyzing factors impacting students' success in introductory programming

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4 Author(s)
Maureen Doyle ; Computer Science, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY, 41099, USA ; Dhanuja Kasturiratna ; Bartley D. Richardson ; Suzanne W. Soled

In 2004 Northern Kentucky University began offering a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Technology. As these new majors began to enroll alongside Computer Science majors in the required and standard Computer Science 1 (CS 1) course, the context of CS 1 shifted. Accordingly, we made curriculum changes to adapt the introductory programming sequence to this new context. These changes included: creating a ¿CS 0.5¿ preparatory programming course taught in a variety of languages; allowing the scheduled laboratory component of CS 1 to be optional; and lowering the mathematics prerequisite for CS 1 from Pre-Calculus to College Algebra. We have studied the impact of these changes on student success. Because many Computer Science Departments in the U.S. began offering Information Technology degrees since 2000, in part to offset the downturn in CS enrollment, our results may be of broader interest. We found that gender, major, the programming language used in CS 0.5 and student attitudes toward technology (as revealed by surveys) did not affect student success in CS 1. Factors that were positively correlated with CS 1 success included mathematics ACT score, completing CS 0.5, and enrolling in the optional CS 1 laboratory section.

Published in:

2009 39th IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference

Date of Conference:

18-21 Oct. 2009