Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Nontraditional Students

Los Angeles City College Pi Shop and Byte Shop

Roger Wolf, Dean

855 N. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90029

213-669-4000, wolfrw@lacitycollege.edu

Description: The practice is designed to increase the success of math and science students and to increase the completion rates of all students at Los Angeles City College. The practice is particularly beneficial to women in math and science. The Pi Shop and Byte Shop are located in two computer labs that are set up to facilitate collaboration and group projects. The Pi shop focuses on supporting students encountering difficulties with math, and the Byte shop provides support in computer science. Students learn of the pi and byte shops via word-of-mouth and classroom announcements.

The program is marketed to other faculty who are encouraged to send students who may be experiencing difficulties. The shops are very popular with students and many spend time there completing work in addition to receiving assistance. The shops serve as a support network for these students. They can play an important role in supporting female students experiencing difficulties in math and technical areas.

The shops are staffed by a full-time coordinator and part-time student tutors. The centers contain computers, tables, and employ a tracking system via a log-in and log-out system to monitor student use. The tracking system shows that the skills of students who participate with the Pi Shop or Byte Shop increase to a level that is higher than average in math and science. The cost of the programs is paid by student contact hours and a National Science foundation district grant.