An Overview of the Redevelopment of a Computer Science Support Centre and the Associated Pedagogy Impacts
“Support Centres” are a form of intervention, particularly prevalent in Ireland and the UK through which undergraduate students interact with one or more tutors who help them with their studies. They primarily exist in the Mathematics and Computer Science fields. These centres tend to be remedial, in general aiming to improve the knowledge of struggling students, while also offering additional material to students looking for more of a challenge.
The Computer Science Centre at Maynooth University is a drop-in tutoring service which provides free tutoring to students, primarily of programming modules, in the first and second year of their degree. This service has been running in our Computer Science department since 2012. In the 2019-2020 academic year, two full time tutors were hired to refocus and improve the centre. This resulted in the creation of a redevelopment plan and relaunch of the centre, which will be presented in this paper.
The results of this redevelopment were very promising with the attendance of the centre increasing by over 800% compared to the 2018-2019 academic year. The students who did attend the centre also performed better on average than those students who did not attend the centre in their first-year undergraduate programming modules. An analysis of data relating to students visits to the centre will be presented and discussed.
This paper discusses in detail the redevelopment within the centre and the work carried out by these tutors in their first year, while also presenting future plans for the centre. Guidelines are presented on managing an effective support centre (through our redevelopment plan and support methods), with the hope that more institutions in both Ireland and abroad will consider supporting their students with this methodology.
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