Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

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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1. Cheaper books.
2. More classes/sections.
3. More WI courses.
Three bad things about being an ICS student:

1. Programming is a time eater. When contructing a program and it doesn't work, you could take many hours to find the problem and it is just one little character.

2. If you fall behind on one small part in your studies. You could fall behind the rest of the semester.

3. There are plenty of textbooks to buy for one class.
1. Graduation requirements: While I understand that being a well rounded student is something that everyone will benefit from, the requirements of UH means less ICS courses that a student will take while pursuing their degree. I don't know if the ICS department can do much about this. There are a few ICS courses that integrate requirements like Ethics and Writing Intensive. If we get more of these, it would lessen the load of the graduation requirements and we could put more emphasis into courses that are more relevant to our degree.

2. More courses/sections: The department is currently dealing with budget issues, but I believe that more courses that deal with more apsects of ICS would be beneficial to the students. More disciplines would allow students to experience a larger amount of career options. Courses that are up to date with current trends would be great. I, for one, am interested in iPhone and facebook development. Also, more sections would allow more variation in scheduling. I have had a lot of scheduling conflicts prevent me from taking classes when I would like. I hope these things can be addressed when the budget allows.

3. Course structure: I haven't had any classes in ICS which is structured the way ICS 413 is. Even just after a couple weeks, I think this is something that other classes could use effectively. Most classes have you just going to a lecture and you don't get much interaction with other students. Watching lectures before class and using class time to work with others is a great way to collaborate with others. I feel that I am getting a lot more out of the class than just going to a lecture and working on the program at home. Classmates help a lot because they have gone through the same problems as you. They recognize the same mistakes and can give your first-hand advice. I am convinced that everyone in the class will become better programmers and I hope that other classes will employ this same system.
What are 3 ways that the UH ICS program could improve?

1. Uneven workload
Though many classes provide just the right amount of challenge, I find certain classes drastically undertarget or sidestep the level of depth expected of a graduate program.

2. Lack of diversity within the computer science field
Though the requirement of different areas forces students to diversify a bit, the limited selection of classes offered in a given semester sometimes leave me wishing I could take classes that I simply can't during my period of enrollment in UH.

3. Lack of inter-student involvment in classes
With the current class excluded, I often find that many graduate-level ICS programs fail to provide a means for meaninful student interaction in class.
Good point Kelly. There have been a lot of days where I've wished I had somewhere to study or do my homework without carrying around my 5-10lb laptop. If the ICS department had an open computer lab for students, students could be doing better. Believe it or not, I think there are still a few students in the ICS program that don't own laptops. They probably wait till last minute to do their work because they have to go home to start on it.

Kelli Sawai said:
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.
1) More class to choose. People always can find some subject that they are interested in.
2) More interaction. People should hang out together more often instead of working individually.
3) More hands-on. People learn faster when they do it in practice.
1) Java. Its a four-letter word, and its full of bile. 'nuff said. Eliminate it, substitute python.

2) Very little focus on the immediate future of the industry. Its obvious that multicore is coming on strong, and companies like Google are focused on how to leverage large numbers of machines via functional programming, yet the teaching is still serial algorithms. Relational databases are a dying technology, why ICS 321? UIs are exploding, mostly due to mobile (iPhone / Android), but very little is being taught in this area. Someone needs to develop a 5 and 10 year horizon.

3) The study area would be very nice.
1. Be more selective on who can be a professor. The majority of teachers in the ICS department are exceptional. I'm not saying that all of the professors aren't helpful, but some have very difficult teaching styles that make it hard for students to learn. There are some professors who are excellent researchers, but are very difficult to understand as teachers.

2. Books are another issue that I have with the ICS department (along with others). We are in the ICS department, and because of this I believe we should be able to find free alternative to these large text books that costs $100+. I know that some classes have strived to find open source resources as opposed to paid textbooks and it really lifts the burden of having to purchase these expensive textbooks.

3. A tutoring center where graduate or high level undergraduate students could mentor and help people new to the ICS department. I believe this would really help newcomers to the ICS program; I know it would have helped me a ton.
1. I would enjoy a later start time to my classes. I don't know if I speak for the majority, but I am quite a nocturnal person. If UH had the funds, it would be nice to offer day and afternoon classes of the same course. Alternatively, classes that apply a different approach to class, one befitting computer science majors, are greatly appreciated. For example, making lecture notes and materials available online.

2. I've wondered why ICS students often graduate a year or two later than other degrees. The workload can be tough, but I'm thinking that goes for just about any program?

3. Everyone's really shy and quiet. It's not a bad thing, per se, but expect to see that in class a lot. Also, people want you to fix their computers.
1. The undergraduate program is so broad. It would be good to have a bit more focus on certain topics.
2. Currently a ICS BS requires both physics and chemistry with labs. If those could be dropped or limited to 1 or the other, then there could be more focus to the actual ICS courses.
3. There should be more online lectures while the class should be more lab oriented. In this way the students can learn first hand from the professor and receive feedback straight away.
1. There's not a lot of women in ICS. It has been my observation that in the lower-level ICS classes, there were a decent amount of females (maybe 10-20%) but this has dwindled down to 0 usually in most classes. This isn't really an improvement so much as just an observation.

2. I actually would love to see more ICS club events. I'm not sure if there even exists such a thing, but I've always had good interactions with other students and it'd be nice to see a social-type organization to get ICS students together to mingle and get to know one another.

3. I know this is a budget issue, but it'd also be nice for each student to have amazon cloud computing accounts. Or any other service that allows one to have a virtual machine in the cloud. This would make it really easy for professors to assign work that requires networking because they'd be able to place a computer image that's pre-configured for students to use (unless configuring the machine is part of the class) and would allow all students to have a standard baseline OS and configuration.
ICS is lacking in facilities. There's no dedicated lab, study area, or building. Despite all the ICS professors having offices in POST, most of the classes are spread across the campus. ICS needs to have a central location for all of its facilities and classes.

ICS course offerings are a nightmare. They're offered at the worst times- either at night, overlapping two standard class time slots, or at the same time as every other ICS course you need to take. This is of course assuming the class you want is even offered at all. Some courses are only offered every two or three semesters. It makes planning for graduation almost impossible.

3.Work load
Some ICS professors seem to be under the assumption that your not taking any other classes and have sixteen hours a day to devote to their class. I feel like everything ends up getting done half-halfheartedly simply because there isn't enough time in the day. It seems that almost every class is designed to be a culling class. I feel quite sorry for the TAs who have to sift through all that work.



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