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A Computer-Science Program Takes a Dramatic Approach to Getting Students to Open Up

Students at Northeastern University, in Boston, all participate in its signature experience — a semester “co-op” in which they work full time for a semester. Presenting is often key to a successful work experience, but traditional workshops and classes did not seem to be helping computer-science majors blossom. “We always had a course on how to present. But I didn’t feel like it was doing what it needed to,” says Carla Brodley, dean of the Khoury College of Computer Sciences. “It was about standing up and giving a PowerPoint presentation.”

Brodley turned to a friend, Antonio Ocampo-Guzman, interim chair of the theater department, and together they designed a required improv course for computer-science majors. This video takes a look inside a class to see what’s working at Northeastern.

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