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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.  I think ICS should offer an intro level course that focused on the tools and resources that prepare the students for the program. This course would not have be 3 credits. Just as ICS 101 prepares students to use programs like Microsoft Office and Photoshopt, I think it might help for the ICS majors to learn more about the tools used by programmers. For instance, how to use git. I am excited to learn how to us git this semester, but it seems odd that learning version control comes so late. When I took ICS 111, my coding group shared code via one of our member’s Google drive. IDEs and text editors would be another important topic that the course could cover. I used the Eclipse IDE for both ICS 111 and 211, but no one taught us how to really leverage Eclipse. My ICS 211 TA was shocked when he discovered that none of us knew how to compile our Java code via command line, so thankfully, he took the time to show us. Using UHUNIX would be another valuable topic that would come in hand with ICS 212 and 332.

2.  There is a lot of bottle necking with many of the ICS courses.  ICS 312 always seems to fill up fast. For the last couple semesters, the ICS department seems to add a last minute section ICS 314 to the schedule. Given the number of students in the ICS undergraduate program, I think the department could definitely use more funding to hire additional faculty.

3. This suggestion might not feasible given the size of the ICS program, but peer mentoring program might be helpful (or maybe that is what ACM is). When I took ICS 212, the instructor had some former students give short talks about the importance of participating hackathons, internships, or other extracurricular coding work.

1. As all ICS students come to find out, the work load is intense. ICS courses are not your typical college courses. Each one requires many hours of independent work, late nights debugging your code, and lots of frustration when you can't figure out what the problem is. If you are going to school and working on the side, it can sometimes be a struggle to manage your time. I think that this is not so much a problem with the department itself, but rather it's the material that is time consuming. It is the nature of the beast.

2. I wish that the ICS program provided students with more classes that fulfilled graduation focus requirements. The program does not offer enough ethical, oral, or writing intensive courses to fulfill the requirements. This forces ICS students to scavenge for upper division classes in other fields that do not require prerequisites, which is always difficult. It also increases the time required to graduate substantially because most other majors provide their students the opportunity to "double/triple dip" and knock out a few requirements with one course.

3. The list of available courses changes every semester. I've run into the problem of not being able to meet the course requirements because one or more courses in the requirements list is no longer being taught. This resulted in me having to change tracks and take extra courses that were not required for the previous track. This also pushes graduation further back. It is hard to tell potential employers when you will be graduating because it can change every semester. Until you have the degree in your hands, you cannot know for sure.

1. I think more extracurriculars pertaining to ICS would be beneficial. At this moment, I think ACM is the only main club for specifically ICS students.

2. More collaboration. Teamwork is heavily emphasized in the community especially since there is always something to learn so more opportunities to learn from your peers is needed. Additionally, I think the image of computer science students being socially awkward should be a focus because from my experience, it's fairly true.

3. I definitely think the program needs more females in the field so shifting some recruitment towards women would be beneficial. In majority of my courses, the ratio is somewhere 1:7. Women in tech are still disadvantaged and part of the issue is just not having many females participate because ICS looks (and is) a male dominated field.

1. Registration for courses is overly stressful. Normally, there is only one section of an upper division (UD) ICS course (sometimes there may be two, but very rarely). As there are many students all trying to get into the same class so they can graduate on time, the class fills up very quickly. As a sophomore, most (if not all of my UD ICS classes) had to be waitlisted for a long time before I could actually register. 

2. This one might be unavoidable, but sometimes classes are scheduled for 6:00 at night (and end very late). Because I work, classes that are offered at this time are almost impossible for me to take. I understand that professors have their own work schedules as well, which is why this happens, but I wish that some of the required classes weren't this late.

3. It would be nice to have more ICS courses meet the WI, ETH, OC, or other graduation requirements. I understand that ICS and these focus requirements may be hard to integrate, but at the same time, I'd rather take classes that would peak my interest in my major, rather than just take classes that I have no interest in just to fill the graduation requirements.

1) Expensive, need a pretty decent laptop usually around $800 to $1200 as well as books.

2) Class availability is scarce for the amount of ICS students often having to take a semester later or certain sections of the same class do not offer the same graduating requirement.

3) Maybe more focus degrees since there only security, bioinformatics, and IT. Maybe like a focus for software/web development or database system.

1)   Finalize requirements for the degree.  I'm in my junior year of computer science, and every year a new rule or class requirement has been changed and caused confusion for students.

2)   Course availability.  Too many ICS classes that are pre-requisites or required classes are instantly filled up and only taught every other semester.  We need either larger classes, more professors, or more sections.

3)   Our own college department.  Being under the college of Natural Sciences means we have to take 2 years of a foreign language, when I would rather be using these credits for ICS.

1. Various courses are not always available. 

2. ICS courses can become very rigorous and daunting

3. At least at the moment, the time availability for classes is not ideal.

The ICS program has developed significantly over the years but there's still room for opportunity.

1) We've recently added a focus in Security Science. Asking students what focuses they would like to see come to life at UH and adding some focuses may be beneficial for other students.

2) Availability of courses. I know this may have budget ramifications, but my biggest issue thus far has been getting into the classes I need. I've had to delay taking a number of courses due to the limited number of seats.

1. When I first came into the UH ICS program and met with my major advisor, we were looking over the degree requirements for the BS in CS and I noticed that a full year of chemistry was listed. I didn't see the correlation between computer science and chemistry so I asked my advisor and he said "oh there is none." I was really discouraged by this since I was never strong in chemistry in high school and a full year of lecture of labs felt like a daunting obstacle, especially since it doesn't have to do with the degree. Not to mention the extra cost tacked onto my tuition.

2. Many would say the copious amount of time needed to put into this degree is a benefit to the student, but at times it can get intense. A little more intense than it needs to be, in my opinion. I'd say the expectations for a lot of the ICS classes are a bit much when considering the heavy curriculum for ICS students each semester.

3. I feel like a lot of ICS students have similar personalities, i.e., we're introverts. This can be a huge hinderance especially when the classes are a challenge and it's sometimes near impossible to do everything on your own without at least a little bit of collaboration. However, I think this is more of an issue in the lower division ICS classes where it's a large class and no one knows each other and are too shy to talk to anyone/ask for help.

1) I wish that the ICS program could cover more of UH's focus requirements. 

2) Registration for courses are a bit stressful sometimes. I believe that there should be more seats for certain courses that are more popular than others.

3) I think more tutors at the emporium to help out students would also be beneficial.

1.) Registration can be really frustrating for ICS students.  Classes required to progress through their major often have 2 sections open.  These classes fill up extremely quickly and for students with lower-priority registration its very hard to get these classes. Often I had to settle for a class with inconvenient lecture hours or take the required class at a community college to keep moving towards my degree.  I think increasing the class size might not be the answer here because it'll reduce the "quality" of learning for a specific class period.  Maybe creating additional classes will help, but it might create more stress for the professors and the TA's.

2.) Some concepts are hard to understand at first.  This isn't a problem by itself, but it would be nice to have access to additional resources that break down concepts to make it simple to understand.  Sometimes the explanations given in the textbooks are hard to read and make understanding simple concepts difficult.

3.) One of the questions I ask myself is "when will I get my degree?"  It really makes me worried because there are many classes that I need to take and many requirements that I need to fulfill.  If more ICS courses covered some of the graduation requirements such as WI credits, it would make it easier for ICS students to earn their degrees sooner.

1) Registering for ICS classes can sometimes be a pain to do. This is mostly due to the fact that there aren't many seats available in the classes and some classes only have one or two sections.

2) I feel like the workload is a little intense even though it is only the beginning of the semester. 

3) Maybe having other learning material or sources like videos or online tutorials may help us learn the content.

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