Learning Community has Major Impact

October 24, 2019

All first-year students are participating in the Computer Science Learning Community

For the first time ever, all 170 first-year computer science majors are enrolled in the Computer Science Learning Community this fall. The jump in numbers is due to an effort by the computer science department to automatically enroll new students into the learning community.

“Our goal is to give students the opportunity to meet other computer science students, from study partners and friendships,” said Deb Holmes, academic adviser in computer science. “Also, we want them to learn more about what computer science is and the resources we have at Iowa State.”

Holmes said the students are placed in an academic course grid, which includes an orientation session, a math class and a programming course with a lab. This allows them to see familiar faces on a regular basis.

Previously, the computer science department offered only a residential learning community option, which included up to 50 students. The residential option is still available, but the department is excited to open up the opportunity to all of its first-year students.

“The previous model of a purely residential learning community was having an impact on a relatively small number of students,” said Steve Kautz, associate teaching professor in computer science and coordinator of the learning community. “We felt that all first-year students could potentially benefit from being assigned to a small team with a peer mentor.”

The department is excited to see what the future holds for the enhanced Computer Science Learning Community.

“This is our first year going bigger and hopefully better so we will be excited to receive feedback from the students, peer mentors and faculty involved,” Holmes said.