Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


College of Engineering


Ayaan Kazerouni

Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Knowing when and how to seek academic help is crucial to the success of undergraduate computing students. While individual help-seeking resources have been studied, little is understood about the factors influencing students to use or avoid certain re- sources. Understanding students’ patterns of help-seeking can help identify factors contributing to utilization or avoidance of help resources by different groups, an important step toward improving the quality and accessibility of resources. We present a mixed-methods study investigating the help-seeking behavior of undergraduate computing students. We collected survey data (n = 138) about students’ frequency of using several resources followed by one-on-one student interviews (n = 15) to better understand why they use those resources. Several notable patterns were found. Women sought help in office hours more frequently than men did and computing majors sought help from their peers more often than non-computing majors. Additionally, interview data revealed a common progression in which students started from easily accessible but low utility resources (online sources and peers) before moving on to less easily accessible, high utility resources (like instructor office hours). Finally, while no differences between racial groups was observed, the lack of diversity in our sample limits these findings.