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Curriculum Challenges for Educators in Larger vs. Smaller Classes

Two key pain points for educators today—low student engagement and satisfaction—are related to curriculum challenges. These challenges include not only low engagement but also high attrition, acting as technical support and configuring machines.

When asked to rank these pain points, 27% of respondents to Codio's 2019 Survey of Computer Science Teaching indicated that low student engagement was the highest-priority pain point.

Curriculum Challenges Ranked


When averaging the ranks, acting as technical support topped the list of challenges. While at first, these results might seem muddled, clarity arises when the data is split by scale.

Curriculum challenges for small classes

Looking at smaller scale teaching, configuring software on student machines placed in one of the top 2 spots for 50% tied with acting as technical support with 50% prioritizing it in one of the top 2 spots. These pain points are primarily technological in nature.

In contrast, those in larger-scale teaching contexts were primarily concerned about low student engagement/satisfaction with 53% of respondents ranking it as the top or second challenge. This priority is primarily pedagogical in nature.

Curriculum Challenges for Large Classes

Slicing this data another way, if we consider configuring machines and acting as technical support to be part of “Technology Concerns” and low student engagement/satisfaction and high attrition to be part of “Pedagogical Concerns” the difference is quite clear:

Large-scale teachers are more concerned about pedagogical challenges where small-scale teachers are more concerned with technological challenges. This may be due to the difference in resources available.

Type of Curriculum Challenge by Scale

As we saw with TA resources, large-scale teachers often have more support. This external support could free the large-scale teachers of other concerns and allow them to focus on pedagogical concerns. As the distribution of these types of resources is often outside of the teacher’s purview, this leads us to another of challenge—course administration challenges.

Learn more about how Codio enables higher student engagement and satisfaction—download the research or request a demo today.

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Joshua Ball

Joshua is Codio's Director of Marketing.

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