3 strategies for hands-on learning in your computer science classroom

Back in 2006, when enrollment in computer science programs at major universities was dropping like flies, Penn State University researchers found that incoming college freshman were more likely to chose it as a major if they had experience with computers in high school. Students without much exposure tended to shy away from the degree completely. Students, it turned out, were drawn to computer science if they understood what it took to learn and succeed.

Nine years later, enrollment in undergraduate computer science departments is on the opposite end of the spectrum: it’s skyrocketing, says the Computing Research Association. And now the onus is on computer science departments to attract and retain students and help them become the best workers possible upon graduation. 

  • But are students leaving school prepared?
  • Have they mastered the subject with hands-on experience so workforce opportunities are equally as appealing?

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