The Rising TIDE of Wright State University: Context, Connections, and Consequences

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In Fall 2012, anticipated changes to State of Ohio policies on allocation of educational resources provided strong motivation for all state-affiliated, four year universities to adopt semester-based academic calendars. As Wright State University was still on a quarter-based academic calendar prior 2012, all academic units were charged to reformulate their curricula. While reimagining our computer science curriculum, we initiated a fairly typical content review to determine what discipline topics would be covered in each of the new semester-term courses. However, during the review, we realized that we had a rare opportunity to not only repackage our existing content, but to also consider how we could introduce additional modifications to encourage student success. Our existing quarter-based curriculum in Computer Science had a first-year progression rate into the second year course offerings of less than 50%. Four-year retention rates for declared majors in computer science were near the national norms of 40%. Given the national context, the fact that our first-year sequence includes both majors and non-majors, and the less selective nature of the institution's admissions policies and mission, this success rate was not considered unusual. However, with the curriculum transition, we saw an opportunity to redesign our curriculum specifically to address issues, which impeded the progression of students. We chose to think about how we should teach the material (and eventually to whom we would teach the material), rather than simply what would be thought in each course.

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