The report card for the introductory programming unit at our university has historically been unremarkable in terms of attendance rates, student success rates and student retention in both the unit and the degree course. After a course restructure recently involving a fresh approach to introducing programming, we reported a high retention in the unit, with consistently high attendance and a very low failure rate. Following those encouraging results, we collected student attendance data for several semesters and compared attendance rates to student results. We have found that interesting workshop material which directly relates to course-relevant assessment items and therefore drives the learning, in an engaging collaborative learning environment has improved attendance to an extraordinary extent, with student failure rates plummeting to the lowest in recorded history at our university
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