In 1995, at Monash University, first year computer programming students in the Faculty of Computing and Information Technology were perceived as having an unacceptably high failure rate and a comparatively low retention rate. A collaborative project between the faculties of computing and education, beginning with a study to identify the problems experienced by students and staff, has resulted in a series of modifications to the structure and delivery of the subjects, and the development of a tutor training course. Responses of staff members and students have been mostly positive, and the subjects are still being improved each year. The transition from high school to university life, in which students were expected to adjust immediately to a different style of teaching and learning, was part of the problem. This paper describes the approach that has been adopted and which has resulted in improved learning behaviours. It also demonstrates the way in which a collaborative, cross-discipline approach to educational change can affect the teaching and learning process.