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Case Study: CSU Long Beach
Four Top Strategies for Elevating CS Classes Part 2

In the last blog post, Dr. Alvaro Monge, Advisor for Computer Science Program at CSULB shared techniques for tracking and managing the growth of CS education. In this post, he will share some of the ways you can provide students with a better CS learning experience in spite of significantly larger class sizes.

Part 2: Optimize Student Learning while Growing Class Sizes

Maintain Personal Contact

As class sizes increase by 2 or 3 times, the classroom dynamics obviously change, and instructors need to manage the impact of that change. At CSULB we manage to maintain a personal touch by regularly meeting in a lab in smaller groups. We all still meet at once in a large section twice a week during regular class hours,  but the smaller labs mean students also benefit from a more personal setting.

Optimize Smaller Groups

  1. I specifically choose undergraduate students to run labs because the CS research points to the fact that working with a senior undergraduate student provides for a better experience than TAs who are graduate students. Working with peers closer to an age appears to increase the benefit to CS students.
  2. The undergraduate TAs and I rely on technology to make more assignments possible. Without technology, we wouldn’t be able to manage the increased workload of additional grading.
  3. Enabling students to work in pairs can also improve the student experience, in spite of larger class sizes. This can be done with or without the use of technology, but we find that students benefit from using technology to be able to work together even when they are remote.
In the next post, I will share with you how improving the Feedback Loop for students can greatly enhance learning.

To see all of the previous blogs posts, click on any the following links: