Prospective Students' Reactions to the Presentation of the Computer Science Major

Daniel Scott Weaver, Pace University


The number of students enrolling in Computer Science in colleges and Universities has declined since its peak in the early 2000s. Some claim contributing factors that intimate that prospective students fear the lack of employment opportunities if they study computing in college. However, the lack of understanding of what Computer Science is and what it involves might be a more compelling reason for the decline. This dissertation investigates the attitudes and perceptions of prospective students toward studying Computer Science and the presentation of the Computer Science major on college and university websites. The study employs four research stages that examine different aspects of this question that culminate in high school students providing their opinions of different representations of the Computer Science curriculum. The first stage evaluates college and university presentations of the Computer Science curriculum available on the web develops a Typical Curriculum. The second evaluates how businesses promote computer related job opportunities and develops an alternative presentation of the curriculum based on the findings. The third elicits perceptions, opinions, and ideas from prospective students and college students on how to develop a more exciting presentation of the curriculum. The final stage utilizes the curricula developed in the prior stages of this study in surveys designed to eliciting prospective students' reactions to the different curricula. The results indicate that typical Computer Science curricula do not interest prospective students. The curriculum developed through the input of prospective and college students, however, was more favorably received and seemed to increase student interest in pursuing the study of Computer Science. Prospective students provided insight into their perceptions of the Computer Science curriculum. This insight is valuable to colleges and universities that desire to present their curriculum in a manner that is exciting and motivating to prospective students. This study informs colleges and universities of the characteristics of a curricular presentation that excite and motive prospective students to pursue studying Computer Science.

Subject Area

Information science|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Weaver, Daniel Scott, "Prospective Students' Reactions to the Presentation of the Computer Science Major" (2010). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3446780.



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