Design@Large Series: Leo Porter (UC San Diego)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
CSE 1202 on the UCSD campus


Peer Instruction in Computer Science

In the past decade, Peer Instruction has become established as a best practice in teaching computer science.  In this talk, I will first explore the evidence which led to Peer Instruction becoming a best practice, specifically looking at the research demonstrating Peer Instruction is valued by students in a diverse set of CS courses at a diverse set of institutions, results in in-class learning from peers and the instructor, reduces failure rates by 67%, results in better final exam performance, contributes to a 31% increase in 1-year major retention, and may scale better than traditional lecture as class sizes increase.

Next, I’ll discuss the next wave of research using Peer Instruction as rich source of student data.  This work has shown that data naturally collected while teaching using Peer Instruction can be used to identify students at-risk of failure in introductory CS courses early in the term.  Ongoing work seeks to increase identification accuracy and to explore possible interventions for students.


Leo Porter is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at UC San Diego.  His computer science education research interests include peer instruction, predicting student outcomes, faculty adoption, and concept inventories; his computer architecture research interests include speculative multithreading, transactional memory, and architecture-aware scheduling.   He co-teaches the popular Coursera Specialization “Object-Oriented Java Programming: Data Structures and Beyond” with over 250,000 enrolled learners and the first course in the edX MicroMasters in Data Science, “Python for Data Science”, with over 60,000 enrolled learners.  Dedicated to helping faculty adopt best practices in teaching, he co-leads the annual “New Computer Science Faculty Teaching Workshop” funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation.  He has received four Best Paper Awards, one in computer architecture and three in computer science education research, and the Teacher of the Year  Award (2015-2016) for the Computer Science and Engineering Department.

Join Us

Are you a Design practitioner, student, or industry professional interested in getting involved with the Design Lab?

Contact us or sign-up to receive our Newsletter, Mail List, and Design@Large Announcements.




Contact Us