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When Computer Science Majors Take Improv

Students perform an exercise in theater and improvisation class.

Computer science majors at Northeastern University are required to take a class in theater and improvisation.

Credit: Kayana Szymczak/The Wall Street Journal

Northeastern University computer science (CS) majors are required to take a class in theater and improvisation, in which they practice exercises to cultivate empathy, creativity, and teamwork.

Northeastern president Joseph E. Aoun said the course aims to "robot-proof" CS majors, ensuring they maintain their uniquely human skills.

Some professionals see improv's value in training people to communicate and work in teams, because many software apps are developed by teams of collaborating engineers, writers, and designers.

Other skills the course helps foster include making presentations, which Uber software engineer and Northeastern alumnus Tiffany Seeber noted is a regular requirement of her profession.

Almost 800 CS majors have taken Northeastern's improv course so far.

From The Wall Street Journal
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