Rick Conn said: My Freshman dropout rate is a little more than 50% this
semester by my current estimates.

Are you saying that it would be higher if you used something other than
Visual Basic?

Years ago (in my life as full-time faculty member at Eastern Kentucky
University), I made a startling (to me, anyway) discovery.  The harder I
asked my Freshman CS students to work (up to a point), the better grades
they made AND (the startle factor) the lower the dropout rate!

They found their fun (motivation) in the challenge, not in the glitz.

My dropout rate this term (the highest in several semesters) is about 30%.
Over the last few years as a part-time instructor at the University of
Dayton, it's been more like 15%.  The average grade in my sections of CS 2
is in the B range.  They work hard and have something to be proud of.  For
serious students, at least, that translates to enjoyment (maybe not fun, but
something akin to it).

ON THE OTHER HAND -- one man's meat is another man's poison.  Translated,
that means that the same approach may not work for everyone.  From what I
know of Rick, I'll bet he's a good teacher, and I'll pretty much guarantee
that his approach isn't all bad (not even mostly bad, I'll bet).

Phil


Philip W. Brashear
EDS Conformance Testing Center
4646 Needmore Road, Bin 46
P.O. Box 24593
Dayton, OH  45424-0593
(937) 237-4510
[log in to unmask]
http://www.eds-conform.com