Leo Porter - Current Projects

Peer Instruction in Computer Science (2011-)
Partially Funded by NSF TUES 1641214
We are exploring the impact of Peer Instruction (an active learning pedagogical technique) in Computer Science. We've found Peer Instruction reduces failure rates, improves student performance on exams, improves retention (particularly when combined with Media Computation and Pair Programming), scales better for large classes, and is desired over lecture by a vast majority of students throughout the computing curriculum.
Resources + Materials for adopting Peer Instruction in CS Courses
Retaining nearly one-third more majors with a trio of instructional best practices in CS1 - Best Paper Award SIGCSE 2013
A Multi-Institutional Study of Peer Instruction in Introductory Computing - Best Paper Award SIGCSE 2016
Identifying and Aiding At-Risk Students in Computing (2014-)
Partially Funded by NSF IUSE 1712508
In Peer Instruction courses where clickers are used, data is gathered about student performance automatically throughout the term. We've found that student performance on these questions is correlated with final exam performance and have used machine learning to predict students at-risk across different terms of the same course. Ongoing work seeks to improve our prediction accuracy and to explore possible interventions for at-risk students.
Predicting Student Success Using Fine Grain Clicker Data - Chair's Award ICER 2014
Lightweight, Early Identification of At-Risk CS1 Students
Developing a Concept Inventory for the Second Programming Course (2014-)
Partially Funded by NSF IUSE 1505001
A Concept Inventory (CI) is a validated assessment designed to measure student learning in a topic and/or course. By providing a common measure of student learning, CIs facilitate pedagogical research, curriculum revision, and multi-institutional comparisons. We are developing one such instrument for the second programming course following the method developed by Wendy Adams and Carl Wieman.
Our meta-review of work on Concept Inventories in Computing
Developing Course-Level Learning Goals for Basic Data Structures in CS2,
A New Computer Science Faculty Teaching Workshop (2015-)
Partially Funded by NSF IUSE 1641214
In other STEM disciplines, new faculty often attend a workshop in their first few years of their career to learn about effective pedagogical practices. Beth Simon (UCSD), Mark Guzdial (Georgia Tech), Cynthia Lee (Stanford), and I have created such a workshop for new faculty in computing. The workshop has been in a small-scale pilot phase for the first three years and we look to grow in upcoming years.
Preparing tomorrow's faculty to address challenges in teaching computer science.
Micro-classes: Improving the Community in Large Classes (2015-)
Partially Funded by NSF EAGER 1451521
As a former small-college professor, I know the close community possible in small classes. We are exploring whether it is possible to create such a community in large classes using ``Micro-classes'', essentially small groups led by Teaching Assistants within the larger class.
Evidence for Micro-classes Improving Classroom Community
Lightweight Techniques to Support Students in Large Classes,