Thursday, February 12, 2009

Enrollments 2009, Update

Sometimes, enrollments drop the first week, as students see the first assignment, or the first few lectures convince them to switch out. (And some students start out taking an extra course and then drop one as they figure out what they like.)

This year, my numbers are holding remarkably steady.

CS 124: 84
CS 222: 24

Both classes have "officially" gained a student since the last post. In fact, more students will likely come in; I know there's paperwork in the pipeline for a few more students for CS 124; and one student in CS 222 brought in a couple of friends from MIT who may cross-register into CS 222. I suppose it will be at least another week before I have the final numbers.

Of course, assignment #1 for CS 124 is due today. That might have the effect of getting a few students to drop...

In any case, the huge jump from last year for CS 124 (again, described in the last post) has held up. I'd like to understand how much of that is due to cyclical increases in CS enrollments, and how much of it is due to our new introductory class bringing people into CS. Please comment on whether or not you're noticing increases in enrollments, and their size, in your classes (or department more generally).

1 comment:

Matt Welsh said...

I'd love to think that this has to do with the "Malan bump" we've seen in CS50, but, CS51's enrollments are down, as were CS61's last term. My theory is that the pool of students who want to take CS courses at Harvard in a given year is subject to a high degree of burstiness and oscillatory behavior. This variation tends to be more pronounced in the middle range of courses than on the extremes.

We could probably model this as an open queueing network with load-dependent service centers.... let me try to work out the dynamics and get back to you.