Case Study: CSU Long Beach
Four Top Strategies for Elevating CS Classes Part 3

In the last blog post, Dr. Alvaro Monge, Advisor for Computer Science Program at CSULB discussed his specific techniques for increasing student learning in spite of growing class sizes.

In this installment, Dr. Monge shares the techniques he uses for making the most of the feedback he provides his students.

Part 2: Improve the Feedback Loop

While we do use technology to manage the growing demand for CS classes, along the way it has become clear that technology can also result in a more prepared and successful student. I believe that the biggest impact Technology can provide to CS students relates to the feedback of their work.

Enable Multiple Submissions

In terms of the student experience, we choose to provide them the flexibility to submit their assignments early.  Not all students take advantage of this, but the functionality is easy to provide to those that want it. In fact we see some students submitting their assignments as much as one week early, something we never saw in the past. These early submissions, combined with automated feedback, means that students are able to perform multiple submissions as needed. Students using this feature can ultimately get greater benefit from each assignment.

Give Students Immediate Feedback

Regardless of whether students choose to submit assignments early, every student can improve their learning through the use of immediate feedback. When students submit their coding assignments, they don’t have to wait to see whether it was successful or not. Students gain instant feedback – night or day – and can immediately implement improvements.

Make Feedback More Constructive

Prior to using Vocareum, I used to provide my feedback separately from the code submitted by a student. This was not only cumbersome for me as a teacher (having to explain each section of code to which I referred), it was likely not very useful to the student. I suspect that students rarely went back to find each section of code to review along with my comments.

In-line feedback – the ability to provide comments in the code itself – makes feedback much easier for students to digest. They see the mistake and they see my suggestions and input in the same place. And because the feedback is easier to give, teachers are likely to pass on more valuable input to students.

In the next blog post I will share some practical techniques for managing limited physical resources while continuing to effectively grow CS classes.

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