Bridging module for first year Computing Science students

Csillag, Tamás (2016) Bridging module for first year Computing Science students.


Student retention in higher education, especially of first year students has been the centre of research for the past decades (Kantanis, 2000; Ramsay, Elphinstone, and Vivekananda, 2005; Hillman, 2005). Multiple factors have been identified that affect the likelihood of a particular student completing first year and subsequently being awarded a degree. One of the tactics to assist
students in transitioning to higher education is support and encouragement from academic departments.

Based on an earlier study (O’Riordan, 2014), an early support module has been incorporated into the BSc in Computing degree program which aims to equip learners with the skills necessary to manage learning on their own and academic life in general. The aim of this project is to develop a similar module, which would provide the necessary field-specific skills for computing science
students to successfully transition from secondary level education or in coming back to education in their selected field.

To inform the development of the module, the author has consulted relevant literature and analysed similar bridging course programs running in multiple institutions. For the selection of topics for the module, interviews were conducted with fellow lecturers and first year students in the College and the results analysed. Based on these results and from other sources in literature, topics in Maths, Physics and Business were identified for inclusion.

The module was defined as a 12 week program aimed at level 6 of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), to help incoming students prepare for their level 7 studies. The curriculum was developed based on the defined Learning Outcomes. The Module will be delivered online.

Materials prepared for the Module include presentations, videos, practice worksheets in different formats and quizzes for formative feedback. These enable students to practice what they have learned during the presentations and assess their own progress.

Further work is to be carried out on developing additional course material and refine existing items
based on the feedback of students and lecturers. The selection of topics could also be modified based on feedback and possible future changes in the Learning Outcomes of the supported degree programmes.

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