Case Study: CSU Long Beach
Four Top Strategies for Elevating CS Classes Part 4

In the last blog post, Dr. Alvaro Monge shared some of the specifics of benefiting students’ learning by changing – and improving – the feedback loops. In this blog post, he discusses the important topic of staffing classes in competitive times.

Part 4: Gain Staff Advantage for Your School

With the exploding demand for CS education, it isn’t only the number of students that have grown, but the competition for qualified teaching staff must be considered as well. At CSULB, we have the added challenge of several competing schools in the same area; as a result, we must very carefully consider how to grow our classes when local teachers have many choices of where to work. In order to keep up with the student demand, it is important to consider all the incentives that keep current instructors happy and attract new teaching staff as needed.

First Address the Low-Hanging Fruit

Most teachers would prefer not to repeat the same lecture three times in a given day, so we have found ways to make use of larger classrooms instead of repeating classes. While this solution offers the added advantage of making efficient use of physical resources, it also brings its own set of challenges.

Let Technology Do Repetitive Work

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

In spite of our best efforts, we at CSULB are reaching a point where we are running out of options as to who we can bring in to teach. Technology is simply mandatory for us to manage the increased demand.

Also for schools like ours that choose to run larger class sizes, the key is finding a way to manage the larger workloads in a given class. There are many ways that technology makes this possible – from automated grading to the fact that comments from a teacher or TAs can be saved and reused where the same mistake was made in multiple places in code.

I hope you have gained some valuable insight into how you can continue to not just grow, but also improve CS education for your school.

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