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What are three ways that the UH ICS program could improve?

If you can think of more than three things, then please limit your response to your top three!

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Three negative perspectives I have regarding being an ICS undergraduate are:

1. Some professors seem to lack the ability or passion for teaching at this point in their careers. I respect them and appreciate their knowledge and experience, but several over the semesters seem to lack the enthusiasm, drive, or ambition they once had to transfer knowledge to students. Lacking the ability is exemplified by professors who are not native speakers of English, who ask one question on an exam, but expected a completely different answer than what an entire classroom of students understood the question to be asking. One class I enrolled in we discussed the questions for homework assignments for half of every class period. The professor and students had to hash out the meaning of homework questions due to the poor word choices the professor had made in creating the questions. This is equivalent to another instance in a Discrete Mathematics course when we were learning about propositional logic, but being taught about “proportional” logic because the professor was not a native English speaker. Those professors having lost the passion for teaching slump their shoulders and drag their feet when entering the classroom, have course materials with spelling and grammar mistakes (despite of the material being used over and over again from one semester to the next), and come to the class obviously unprepared for that day’s session.

2. Being a working professional UH’s class schedules are not designed in a manner that facilitates evening and weekend classes. Unfortunately, this means earning a degree takes longer and forces me to choose work over education some semesters.

3. Berating Microsoft would have to be my final negative perspective as an ICS student. I’m not championing MS, but at the same time, I don’t care what a professor’s personal views of MS are. If the professor cares to present legitimate arguments concerning MS’s products or what-have-you, then I can respect that and am open to listening. But at the same time, just complaining about MS or not acknowledging the contributions that it has made to the computing world is unfair and inappropriate.
Three bad things about being an ICS student:
1. Career building throughout through-out one’s college career. ICS advisors should make mandatory appointments with students. Like the College of Arts, all students in that college have required appointments when registration is coming up. ICS advisors should also do that, and gives us tips and tricks to building an excellent resume, professional profile, and things of that nature. Helping students build a strong career portfolio from their start of college to the date they graduate would be nice. At least the students are ready to should employers what they have.

2. A study area in POST for ICS students. I would love to study in the POST building, but there are only three tables on the second floor that let us do that. It would be great if there was a floor or rooms that let students study and work on homework, maybe a lounge to go with it would be nice. The library is a great place to study, but it does not have a lounge area where students can take off from all those studying and relax for couple of minutes.

3. Where are all the ladies at? I agreed with fellow student John on the female-to-male ratio comment. ICS should be an interesting course for the ladies to take. They take ICS 101, but after that course is over they do not take any more ICS courses. ICS should be a little more interesting, so it not only will get more students to take ICS but also for the current ICS students to enjoy ICS.
Hi Ronn,

I am probably one of those professors who occasionally makes what appears to be a snide remark about Microsoft. Having been in the computing profession since the 1970's, I watched Microsoft use its OS monopoly to the detriment of software innovation in general and the open source movement in particular (google on "Halloween Document" for one well documented example).

I will also say this, however: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has the potential to change the world in a fundamental and positive manner, and I am delighted that Bill Gates is now focusing his considerable talents on the foundation.

I will try to reign in my snarkiness in future. Thanks for the heads up.
1. Lack of the fairer gender - The ratio of males to females in the ICS major is appalling and sometimes the appearance of even one female is an ICS course is a big surprise. I'm not sure why the major is so unattractive to females but there is something definitely wrong with the way the major is being presented to them.

2. Tough introduction into the major - For some people, learning Java right off the bat is like learning a foreign language. Some professors view the beginning courses as 'weed-out' classes but this in turn makes the major very unattractive for people who are interested but not necessarily devoted to learning computer science. In my opinion, there should be a more gradual lead-in, teaching basic concepts of computers and programming before the student even touches one line of code.

3. Lack of fields of study - Unlike other technical majors which has different tracks, computer science does not offer any focus of study. This makes it hard for students to pick classes that are interrelated, and the problem is exacerbated when the classes are determined by the professor's availability, so every semester the courses are different. Students therefore have a hard time trying to focus their studies in their particular topic, either due to lack of knowledge of which courses to pick or simply because the courses are not available from semester to semester.
1. I feel that there should be more programming practice within the curricula. Sure there are programming projects for certain classes, but as far as the required ICS courses, some did not exercise our ability to program complex ideas over several different programs.

2. No required "Senior Project". I have been asked by multiple interviewers "What did you do for your 'senior project'?" This requires time away from classes and leisure time to focus on a main directive that you work over the course of at least a year. Doing something to be active in the computer science field while in school is always a benefit to the future.

3. Absence of a Web 2.0 Development courses. Aside from "Introduction to Programming for the Web", which I felt just covered "basics", I feel that there should be a part 2 or a branch off from this course.
1. I like this idea that Daniel had to have a study area just for ICS students.
2. I also like the idea that someone posted of learning to combine the different skills to create a program.
3. It would be nice for students who get an internship, to get credit for that internship instead of adding to their workload as mentioned before.
1. A wider range of classes to choose from. Recently, the variety of 400-level ICS classes has quite suddenly shrunk.

2. Oral communication classes relevant to our major. While our major does a lot of it's work in text form, learning how to actually talk to other people in a team so that they can grasp what we are actually communicating would be a great skill to learn. Even better, learning what a client is actually asking you to do when they give you a job. Simply because they can be vague or have no idea what they really want.

3. Class times. While taking my earlier ICS courses, time conflicts were not uncommon.
1. More interaction with the class and hands-on experience. Also less lectures

2. Some classes are offered once a year. There should be a survey (for ICS students) of most wanted 400-level classes and offer that every semester.

3. Notify incoming ICS majors (freshman) about this. I kind of wish I knew about this during my freshman year because I now feel like I'm part of the ICS community.
1. The Area requirement forces ICS graduate students to take certain classes. This requirement should be done away with because there are certain classes that I need to take in order to graduate but I am not interested in any of them.

2. There are not that many W, O, or E courses offered by the ICS department for the undergraduates. When one does come up, everyone jumps in to grab a seat so that they could graduate sooner. Then there are students who have to take extra classes because the seats are full and would not be able to graduate quickly.

3. There needs to be more TAs for the undergraduate classes. Some graduate TAs are doubling up because of the financial crisis, and there are not enough of them to go around and help other classes.
1. Some courses are only offered in certain semesters. So far I haven't encountered this problem but I've seen some people wait an extra semester because the course that they need to take are offered only during Fall or Spring, not both.

2. Having a required course that is supposed to be offered once a year, but never becomes available during the year.

3. I believe it was mentioned before but actually getting credits for an internship would be really helpful.
1. They could teach conceptual topics with a bit more explanation. Many classes go through material too hastily. Or at least provide more reading material.

2. More project opportunities for students that don't have a lot of programming experience outside of classes.

3. Need advisers that can guide us through the program.
1. Sometimes there are a limited number of classes available. It would be better if there was a wider selection of courses to choose from.
2. I would also like to be able to know when those courses would be offered. I have seen some courses listed that I was really interested of taking but they aren't being offered anymore and I don't know when and if they will be offered again.
3. I wish the ICS department had its own computer lab for the ICS students to use anytime. It would be a lot more convenient.



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