Retention initiatives for ICT based courses

Connolly, C. and Murphy, E. (2005) Retention initiatives for ICT based courses. [Conference Proceedings]


Ireland has one of the highest concentrations of information and communications technology activity and employment in the OECD. However, there are above average rates of non-completion in such areas of Computer Science (26.9%). The fact that these higher rates are recorded in an area of key national interest in terms of job creation and job retention is a worry. The emerging knowledge-based society is transforming pedagogical practices in the post-compulsory, third level, education sector. This is characterised by decreasing use of the traditional face-to-face teaching and a corresponding increase in use of information and communication technologies (ICT). Research has shown that ICT use by student's leads to positive motivational outcomes, supporting a focus upon learning, which, depending on the students personal circumstance, may lead to student attainment and retention. This paper reports on the pedagogical practices and retention initiatives established for ICT based courses at Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology. The relationships between students' experiences of computing and their success/failure to progress in their course in third level are investigated. The various initiatives, such as creating a sense of belonging, employing pedagogic practices that promote engagement, the development of programming/mathematics learning centers are detailed in this paper and the effects on retention rates presented. © 2005 IEEE.

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