Publication Details

Roberts, M. R. H., McGill, T. & Koppi, T. (2011). What students are telling us about why they left their ICT course. Innovations in Teaching and Learning in Information and Computer Sciences, 10 (3), 65-79.


Student attrition is an issue of particular concern in the field of ICT because the industry faces staffing shortfalls. The study described in this paper provides further understanding of the causes of attrition from ICT courses by exploring the reasons students give for leaving their ICT courses. An online survey of early leavers from four Australian universities was conducted. The results show that many factors can contribute to the attrition of ICT students, and that for many students it is a combination of issues that leads to their withdrawal. Only a relatively small number of ex-students had experienced serious life events that necessitated their withdrawal. It was much more common for the participants to cite reasons associated with the university environment, the teaching of their ICT course, and their inability to combine their studies with other commitments. Recommendations are made to address issues that could be mitigated by university action.