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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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1. Time of some of the courses. I know in previous years, ICS 211 and 311 were offered in the evening. Thankfully I function best at night so I didn't mind it, but I know for others it could be troublesome, especially if they commute or live far away.

2. I know in Engineering, they have sophomore, junior, and senior projects. I think incorporating it into ICS would be extremely helpful. It not only forces us to have good work ethics but also gives us something to showcase on our portfolio. I would love for the creation of a course that integrates multiple majors (Eg. Engineering, Math, ICS, etc...) and in that semester/year, you work together on a group project. I feel that it'll be an invaluable experience that mirrors real-life experiences that teach us how to work in groups and different minded individuals. Of course, an implementation of such a course would be challenging so even having just a commonplace (involving multiple majors) where people can look for team members would be great.

3. Internship course. In my other major, we had 3 courses (spanned over 3 semesters) dedicated to fieldwork. It would be great if ICS is able to reach out to other companies so we not only get real-life experience but also class credit for it!

1. Some classes rely on you doing the learning yourself. i notice there are high amount of students who are able to pass classes without showing up to class

2. the learning experience can be very bad for some. Getting a good teacher for ICS can be a hit or miss.

3. Some classes don't really teach you conventional they rather only teach concepts and get it over with leading to a number of unskilled and ill prepared students. 

1. Time consuming

As an ICS student, it does take a lot of time and effort in gaining the skills and knowledge in order to succeed in the program. Without time management, it will be difficult to adjust and work well when taking with other non-ICS courses. It is appropriate to study for at least 2 hours a day for one ICS class. Also, ICS heavily relies on self-learning. It can be very time-consuming to study the material outside of class.

2. High expectations

When taking ICS courses, it is highly expected of the student to understand the concept rather than memorizing and regurgitating the information. Without understanding, it will be difficult in the long run if you don’t understand, especially when taking upper division ICS courses. Like mentioned before, ICS relies on self-learning. For example, the flipped classroom approach. For some students, they may feel more pressured because they are expected to know and understand the material before coming into class.

3. Time availability 

I’ve noticed in some courses that they occur later in the evening. This may add conflict with someone’s schedule, such as work and commuting, but this depends on the student. Also, for those who function better in the day might be less alert when taking an evening class.

1. Most of my petty complaints are all things that happen in other degrees or in the job market as well so I am a bit indifferent, but things like non-standard grading practices, underprepared teachers, and lack of enthusiasm amongst team members during group work do still bother me. We just need to learn to deal with everything and it's a skill like any other.

2. There is soooo much to learn. It's great, but it's easy to become competitive and not spend time enjoying other things in life. For the most part, I spent my life feeling pretty good about myself but being an ICS student can sometimes make me rethink things. Ha. 

3. Well, it's certainly easier for me to come up with three good things so I think I'm in the right place. Perhaps the only bad thing is there is not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do. Again...time management skills can be strengthened but there are cool things out there to learn and never enough time. I bought six books I really wanted to read last semester and then got addicted to whatever I was learning in school so they are all shelved for now.

For me, the first downside from being an ICS student is that the course work doesn't allow for creativity as much as other majors like Art or English. When approaching assignments, my usual process is to lookup how to do certain things rather than just putting my pen or my brush down and just write whatever comes to mind. The second bad thing would be the amount of documentation or reading that is required before using a technology. Until I've used many different tools, like django, flask, or react, I won't be able to intuitively learn them on-the-fly without spending sometime with the documentation. Lastly, the material could be too abstracted sometimes. Learning algorithms or discrete math requires understanding new, theoretical topics that could be unintuitive. In a humanity courses like history, the material you are learning is about often about human interactions that I could imagine to happen. After working through the courses in the ICS program, I hope to get used to these downsides.

1.) The classes offered from the ICS department can be somewhat unpredictable, which makes taking certain classes almost impossible as the time between each offering may be too great.

2.) The ICS program could also benefit from hiring more staff, as there are some classes that are bottlenecks, but there are only a few sections available for these bottleneck classes. Also, more staff could lead to a wider variety of classes being added.

3.) Some class prerequisites could also be updated to make registering for classes easier, since taking AP exams count as a credit for ICS 111. An example is ICS 314, where the prerequisite for the class is a B in both ICS 211 and ICS 111, but ICS 211 has a prerequisite of getting a B in ICS 111. This is redundant and makes registering for certain classes more complex than needed.

Three bad things about being an ICS student

1) You have to buy a laptop. I built a machine learning desktop for $3000 and it broke my bank, but figured it would be useful for school and work. However my teacher requires that we bring laptops to class that are very high-end and so I had to fork out another $1000 for a minimum qualifying laptop, which was put on my credit card.

2) As an ICS student we are sitting a lot. This is very bad for our health. I'm currently battling severe stomach issues because of this and have been to the hospital about 30 time in 2019.

3) It's harder having a full time job for ICS studenst than it is for people in other majors.  This is because ICS students have much harder classes and much larger work loads.  Most other majors don't have to complete Calculus 2 or Physics 2, which are classes that many ICS students fail because of the difficulty.

1. Not many courses that can help complete focus requirements

2. Not many ICS tutor for tutoring

3. Some ICS courses have limited seating space

1. The physical and mental stress that you will have to encounter and overcome while solving problems. Sometimes you don't know where to even start, or how to ask a question when stumped and you can easily be overwhelmed. It feels worse when someone tries to explain things to you and it is still very difficult to understand. 

2. The availability of classes and the time constraints of these classes. Sometimes the only classes that are offered are late in the evening or afternoon and usually, students plan to be at home or work around this time. 

3. Knowing which resources to use online and deciding the most effective way to learn is also a challenge because while there is so much information out there, it is easy to be fooled and use the wrong resources, which can lead to ineffective learning. 

1) I wish there were more introductory level courses besides the ICS 100 ones for those who are willing to learn 

2) Higher frequency on the amount of upper divisional ICS course offerings

3) A better ICS lab or easier access for students who are taking ICS courses 

Three bad things about being an ICS student?

  1. Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that you essentially don't have a life anymore, especially if you're taking a full load of credits and trying to keep a job, even a part time one. I don't know how some CS students manage to take more than 12 credits. In any case, I miss having spare time to myself, as my CS courses take up a huge amount of time.

  2. Another bad thing about being an ICS student, I suppose, is directly tied into the first problem which is that if you're a full time IC student it's hard to work full time, or even anything over 20 hours. This is difficult for someone like me who's a bit older and need to maintain a job to pay my bills. I'm about to leave my "proper" job of 11 years to take on a campus job with less hours and less pay, but this will put a HUGE strain on my finances. So in essence, being an ICS student is making me poor? At least temporarily.

  3. The last downfall of being an ICS student is that you don't have a lot of chances to take CS classes over summer. I don't recall seeing any 300 (or 200) level classes in the last 3 summers, and for someone like me who is on a time crunch to get my degree, not being able to make the best use of my summers to get through the program efficiently is a major disappointment. 

These are three ways that the UH's ICS program could improve:

Credits

Allow for more credits to be given in an ICS class to help students fast track their educational goals. 

Fun

Not all projects and assignments are fun, but teaching students how to have fun with doing these things will improve mindset and completion rates.

Interests

Being more concerned about students finding their direction. I commonly see fellow classmates switch their track, this could be avoided if more effort was made to show students what they are getting into, plus the work involved. 

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