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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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Disclaimer: I am a computer engineering major so I am new to the ICS program

1) There are a huge variety of classes but there are not many time slots for these so getting into classes are difficult

2) Informing students about internship opportunities

3) I noticed that a lot of classes are late Tuesday Thursday time slots. In my opinion I do not like this setup.

I am not a ICS student but a Comp engineer so I can't comment too much on how the UH ICS program could really improve. One thing I did notice is that the program should set up more sections on classes that Comp Engineers need to take as well now to graduate because it is required. I believe that as the departments converge into a more meaningful track for the Computer Engineers with ICS requirements they should also be considerate of how many computer engineers will need the class to graduate on top of the students in ICS already.  

While going through the program there are things I would like to see changed. 

1) There are not enough sections for the classes that you're required to take in ICS. I had to take a lot of my classes out of order, like for instance this class, in my last semester due to not being able to register for some of the required classes. I definitely hope that in the future more sections will be available.

2) This doesn't really have to do with the ICS program itself, but it does have a bit to do with the requirements; I don't really understand why we need to take 1 year of Chemistry if you're trying to get the BS in Computer Science. I feel like 1 semester should be good enough.

3) I wish there were more networking classes we could take.

1. Time conflict between required classes.

2. Very limited spots for classes and sections compared to amount of students that require the classes

1)  Limited amount of sections for a course.

I have noticed that some courses, especially upper-division courses have a max of three sections for a single course, and some courses only offer one section. It can be hard sometimes when you wanna take a class but it is full.

2)  Late-afternoon to evening courses.

There are some ICS courses being offered that are only limited to late hours of the day. It is a little hard (for example) when a student has only two classes for a day where one class takes place early in the morning but that student would have to stay back because his/her ICS class is in the afternoon/evening. Of course, sometimes it cannot be helped because section times are based on the availabilities of the professor(s) teaching the course.

3)  Ratio between female and male students

As you move up the ICS degree program, you start to notice the decline of females. There was an instance where I looked around the classroom of one of my ICS classes and noticed that I was the only female present. It was really eye-opening because it goes to show that there is still a lack of females pursuing ICS as their major.

1. Often times I hear the instructors ask the students, "Did / didn't you guys learn _____ already from ICS ___?" In a good way this surveying the students' current level of knowledge in the class; in a bad way, this is a sign that the instructors are not doing their background research or communicating with the other instructors. Collaboration within the department can be hard, but if there is good collaboration, it will really help the students out to steadily build up their knowledge in ICS without any gaps in between or starting a new class with incongruities between two different subjects.

2. At my first visit to the Wetware social, I could really notice the disparity between talking to an ICS student and talking to a non-ICS student. For example, a marketing student that I met at the event really knew how to lead conversations without making the other person feel uncomfortable and awkward. Of course, I can't generalize this for all ICS students and non-ICS students, but it certainly gave me some thoughts that perhaps as ICS students, we should also focus on refining our oral communication skills. As such, it would be nice for the ICS program to consider putting more emphasis on that.

3. This is sort of building on top of my second point, but I feel that there could be more communication / negotiations between the people within ICS programs.

1. There are a lot of specialties to the field, a survey of those different fields that could help general students gauge their interest in different specializations would be nice.

2. More opportunities to network with other students and teachers in our department outside of the classroom.

3. More programming jobs run through the school that students could use to build up their professional portfolios.

Three bad things about being an ICS student are:

1. With the workload from ICS classes- much time is needed to be dedicated to comprehending the material. However, putting in the time can be very difficult, for students who are taking a heavier course load, have a job, or tend to their family.

2. Scheduling for ICS courses is difficult since there isn’t much class availability for certain ICS courses. Course times for certain ICS classes are scheduled in the late afternoon, which is something not ideal for some students (especially those whose mode of transportation home can be lengthy).

3. Receiving a letter grade of a B, and not a B- for the prerequisite courses, is not only higher than other departments but is asking a lot from the student, which can be very stressful and meddlesome.

1) Heavy course load. I'm assuming there are a lot of late nights in this major.

2) Not enough opportunities to study areas/concepts of interest.

3) Not enough study locations on campus or collaboration areas.

Disclaimer: Not an ICS student, but rather a computer engineer.

1. Many of the 300 and 400 level classes can be limited and only offered certain semesters or years. It would be nice to have more of these classes available because many of them contain interesting content, but at times it feels that some of the 400 level classes aren't what students are interested in but fill up because it is a convenient choice or there is no better alternative.

2. Some of the classes, especially at the 300 level (from what I hear), tend to be heavy on workload. This can lead to certain ICS semesters being very difficult even though it may be required for the student to take those classes. It would be nice if the workload of these courses were reduced in some way to better accommodate students that have jobs outside of school. 

3. It would be very helpful to ICS students if the program could offer, or adjust courses to fulfill the Oral and Ethics graduation requirements. As of right now I believe the only ICS course that helps with those is 390, but not everyone is going to be able to take that. Additionally, 390 does not fulfill any of the ICS graduation requirements so it can be more problematic to have to take that class just to fulfill those requirements. 

Being a ICS student is tough, here is 3 reasons why and how it could be improved

1: Of course the workload is heavy, this is not really an issue that can be resolved while still making sure we cover and retain all of the material, so my only suggestion is to be sure assignments are productive, something we can show to future employers!

2: Projects outside of courses? Im a computer engineering student so a majority of my courses are actually with the EE department. For EE we are required to participate in research, I really enjoy this. It is an opportunity for us to research special topics and apply our skills to large ongoing projects, and its something we can add to our CV. I haven't heard much about research projects undergraduates could join in ICS.

3. Who wouldn't want more choices. I think ICS courses are awesome! I'd love to see more specialized upper 300 and 400 level courses.

1) Workload is necessary to make sure we learn, it will just be tough to manage time as a computer engineer taking other courses that demand just as much time as the ICS course I'm taking.

2) Since my major is focused on problem solving, algorithms and coding, I think the ICS students and CENG students would do well to have more classes together since we should have a lot to gain from being able to work together. Just a thought, maybe more experience in ICS 314 will prove me wrong.

3) From what I've heard in the previous replies, I agree that professional networking is an important part of the experience ICS students will have in this department. Based on the workload I'm expecting in this course, ICS students seem to be getting enough practice to develop the skills they will need to build a professional presence. They will just need the people to reach out to, particularly being in a state that isn't well known for their ICS opportunities as far as I know.



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