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Faculty working directly with first-year students in the Computer & Information Technology department at IUPUI wished to improve first-year student retention within the program. Initially the team focused on adjusting the flow of content in the program's foundational courses to ensure their relevance. One course in particular, an introduction to Problem Solving and Qualitative Analysis, was frequently criticized by students as they struggled with fairly abstract topics for which they did not see an immediate need. In addition to updating the course content, the faculty co-investigators designed two projects that integrated these first-year students into a sophomore-level course where problem-solving skills and systems analysis techniques were actively applied. These experimental projects were integrated into one section of the first-year course, as well as one section of the sophomore-level follow-up course. From a qualitative perspective, the project was well received by students. First-year students were actively engaged sophomore-level coursework, and higher-level students eagerly included them in projects. Buoyed by the initial success of the experiment, the investigators wish to apply similar techniques to all sections of the first-year course and quantitatively measure its impact on student outcomes in subsequent courses.
Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2011
Date of Conference: 12-15 Oct. 2011