Rewrite cycles in CS courses: Experience reports

Linda Null, Mike Ciaraldi, Liz Adams, Ursula Wolz, Max Hailperin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The generally accepted wisdom among teachers of English composition is that a "rewrite cycle" should be used as a teaching strategy. Rather than expecting students to extrapolate from the grading comments on paper N what they should do differently on paper N + 1, it has become conventional to ask for a rewrite of paper N itself. Of course, there are many variations on this theme. For example, peer review may supplement or replace some of the rounds of grading. The panelists will explore some of the ways they have applied this pedagogic strategy in computer science courses. Most obviously, when we have our students write papers, we have them do rewrites. However, some of us don't stop there, but rather also apply the same idea to the writing of programs or mathematical analyses. This encourages our students to do a high-quality job, and to feel that they have truly mastered a topic. Clearly, there are tradeoffs and difficulties, principally involving time. The panelists will also discuss this aspect, indicating how they have coped with the pitfalls, and indicating what has worked well, and what not so well Ultimately, however, all the panelists are optimistic about the value of rewrite cycles. After the panelists share their experiences, there will be some time for discussion with the audience. Based on the interest this topic provoked on the sigcse.members mailing list, and in ensuing private email, we look forward to an active audience. We will also make materials from the session available at

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Food Science
  • Hardware and Architecture


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