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

I am a domestic exchange student, which limits my feedback regarding the ICS program.

1) I do appreciate how the ICS program at UH Manoa has a lot of practical and hands-on content, as I have seen so far. Back at my home college, the CS program is more theory-based. Maybe adding more theory to courses to balance out and make concepts more generalized.

2) More collaboration spaces. I have been in ICSpace and seen how crowded it can get. I think lounge areas are very important for ICS programs, as they can be the starting ground for collaboration projects. 

3) Variety of CS courses. I was able to take really cool courses this semester, after sending various e-mails regarding requirements. I think if the required foundation/introductory courses can be kept to a general bunch and more higher-level courses can be offered after one has completed those, the number of interested students in specific CS topics would increase.

1) More flexible ICS course options, such as more online courses and more class times for students who work, etc.

2) The time required for ICS classes is challenging. ICS isn't an easy major, but I think the department could do more to help students balance ICS and the rest of their life.

3) Offering more ICS electives to fulfill graduation requirements versus a lot of specific courses which every student must take.

1) I'd like a little more exposure to the various fields of computer science at an early level. I feel like this is going in the right direction with the new ICS 102 course Intro to Data Science, but having a brief introduction to web development, cybersecurity, and even software engineering would be beneficial for students to decide what track they would like to pursue. Possibly some kind of survey class that can be provided for those that are interested in learning computer science, but not know which subset of it to pursue.

2) Discrete mathematics and Algorithms. The material is hard to understand, and from my experience, those that teach these courses aren't the best at making sure that every student understands the material well enough to succeed. In some courses, extra credit is so abundant to the point where we feel like we don't have to understand the fundamentals and core concepts to succeed, which sets us up for failure later on because other courses build upon these fundamentals. 

3) More independent hands on learning. Having the hands on experience in the introductory courses was great and all, but I felt like I didn't really think for myself and just wrote code that I was told to write. 

1. I wish the classes would cover more historical ground, explaining how the ideas and technologies developed over time to arrive in their current state. I feel it would make certain ideas, such as Object-Oriented Programming, easier to understand.

2. More summer classes would be nice (if possible).

3. In some of my previous classes, it was hard to distinguish what the central, or key, concepts and ideas were, and what were details, so perhaps more emphasis on the most important topics would be helpful.

1. Unlike working on essay papers, one homework task can take a lot of time. One little mistake or misunderstanding could change the whole problem. The solution is that we must be careful, but it is very stressful sometimes.

2. Some classes offer only one semester per year. If we miss the moment to get the classes, we must wait until the next school year. The worst thing is that those classes are sometimes necessities in order to graduate on time.

3. The ICS department does not have a lot of online classes. A lot of students have jobs. Some people will say that just work less and you can come to classes but not everyone has a financial support they needed to come to school at the regular time. Moreover, the living cost in Hawaii is one of the top expensive places to live. Some other people will say so you can take fewer classes to balance the schedule. That does not solve the problem since the students have to take double or triple time to graduate compared to a full-time student. Online classes can offer those students a great solution for those students.

1. The class options are extremely limited; upper division classes may only be taken if the students have taken the prerequisite courses for them, but getting into majority of the courses in the department is very competitive due to their limited seating. Also, the there aren't that many classes that are offered at various times so it gets hard to adjust your semester schedule that meets all the university requirements as well as the ones for the department.

2. We need more tutors. I am aware of the fact that there are professors and teaching assistants who can guide us through the course assignments or clarify any misunderstandings the students may have, but it is not guaranteed that the students or the professors/teaching assistants will be available at the same time, on the same day. I found it difficult to set up an appointment with them throughout my first year of college as the schedules never really worked out. Hence, having more tutors available at the Learning Center or Learning Emporium could allow the students to make frequent visits to receive help on the assignments, especially because those tutors are essentially the students who already have taken the courses and should have a decent understanding of what's expected.

3. I believe that being exposed to various aspects of computer science earlier on would be extremely beneficial to some of the students. I know that there are online sources that allow us to explore the fields of computer science, but it would be helpful to offer introductory-level courses related to different areas of study within the computer science discipline so that the students may obtain better understanding of what they might want to focus on later on. Being introduced to broad subject of computer science was great, but I felt that it would help students a lot to teach them different aspects so that they are not forced to make a decision they're not too sure of later on.

1. There are a limited amount of seats for core classes and too many students trying to register for those seats.

2. There's a limited selection of upper division classes

3. Some of the class content feels outdated as there are better and faster ways to do things or learn things. For example, using modern development tools like VSCode, learning Web development frameworks, and topics like machine learning and AI.

1. Realizing how such insignificant pieces of code can ruin your project and your experience for hours or days on end.

2. Trying to mix ICS and being successful in the major with work and having a personal life. 

3. Watching people in other majors relax most of the time while you spend another 3 hours debugging your code.

1) Instead of focusing on a specified area (Cyber Security, IT, General) we should be able to just take those as a major and not a focus.

2) We have one class that is a 200 level course and the difficulty of that course is much higher than it should be.

3) More teachers that could teach focus courses because some are only offered in the spring/fall which could push a person's graduating time back.

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

1.  I agree with some of the other students on this post that unfortunately computer science is a major time commitment.  I'm not sure how exactly you could improve this since it is a very involved program.  However, I find that most students, on top of their full time class schedule, are working and involved in some wort of extra curricular.  Some even have a full time job and a family to take care of.  Finding a way to shorten the workload by using more efficient methods or providing more ICS extra curricular opportunities that complement the program courses, would benefit the students time and knowledge of the material.

2.  I find that internships are also a topic people struggle with.  While there are many computer science internships out there to apply to, I find the process can be very overwhelming and intimidating.  It can be difficult knowing where to apply and how to make yourself desired by companies when you have little to no experience to begin with.  Having internship workshops for ICS students would be very beneficial to our students, especially for those just starting the ICS program here at UH.  If you help students build their portfolio and professional image from the very first ICS or college course, it would benefit their future career immensely.  I wish I had the push to begin growing my professional image from the very beginning, so that when it came time to start looking for internships I would have been more prepared.  I think an actual counseling service or workshop would help more than a professor just mentioning it during class one day.  I think this professional portfolio side to this ICS 314 course is extremely helpful and would be even more so if presented at the beginning of the ICS program. 

3.  As I am sure it has been mention at some point, I can't help but notice the lack of women in the program.  I have also experienced this in my computer science courses in community college as well. I can say from personal experience that being 1 of maybe 3 women in a course can be very intimidating.  It is very easy to suddenly feel "imposter" syndrome.  Computer science can be intimidating in general, and having a group where women of all class levels in the ICS program can meet each other would be helpful. It sounds very simple, but having an easy way to meet you peers who are similar to you can boost a persons confidence quickly.  I think having a group where women in the ICS program can help other students would be great.  I think more women would choose to stay in the program, knowing they had peers to help them.  Also the group would be able to inform incoming students about the ICS program and would hopefully encourage more women to enter the field of computer science by providing a positive image for women in computer science. 

#1) I agree with William,  "Engineering majors at UH do not have a foreign language requirement, and I wish this would be extended to ICS majors also."  We're learning multiple computer languages.

#2) The student population of the ICS department is growing every semester, upper division classes are already super limited due to lack of seating. If you guys don't start preparing to enlarge the amount of classes, if you guys don't start looking into expanding this department soon, I feel the department is going to suffer greatly.

#3) The two discrete Math classes should be geared directly to help students achieve in the algorithms course, instead of just chugging through the Rosen Texts the class lessons should be specifically designed to prepare students for algorithms.

1. Time consuming. We spend so much time being confused and staring at our computer screen that we barely get free time or we're dead tired by the time we turn the computer off.

2. Getting frustrated when you can't figure out how to make your program work when you just missed one bracket or put the number 1 instead of an i and couldn't see it. 

3. Classes end up becoming a self teaching class because the professor doesn't go over things well at times.



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