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. The UH ICS program could improve by working more closely with other UH campuses. I transferred from Honolulu Community College last semester and one thing I noticed is that the classes are a lot different here. The counselors at HCC were also not up to date on what classes needed to be taken for the ICS program. This confusion has set me back a semester. 

2. Online classes are another thing that HCC offered that I could not find at UH. Granted these were introductory level ICS courses so I can understand why the program would not want to implement higher level courses into an online learning environment. 

3. The only other improvement I can think of would be more class space/classes. Classes are so limited and sometimes it is hard to fit other classes into my schedule without being stuck on campus with massive amounts of downtime. If more classes were available at different times this definitely would help a lot. However this is more of a quality of life change and it is understandable that we cant have the same class offered at all times during the day. 

Three ways that the UH ICS program could improve could potentially be

1.  As it has been previously mentioned multiple times by others, ICS is a time consuming major. How to improve that would prove to be difficult as it would affect the planned structure of the course. If there was a lessened workload or extra time, it would just cause for the schedule to be pushed back. 

2.  Cost of equipment seems a bit much. ICS requires a fairly decent laptop for everyday usage with specs averaging to a price over $1000 minimum. Tying in with the first issue I mentioned where having free time is fairly scarce, working part time is difficult and even suggested against or to the lowest hours possible. With ICS itself needing that $1000+ equipment, there is a income struggle. To improve such a thing would perhaps have the curriculum work around the price or to provide personal use of a laptop that meets the requirements for school use.

3.  After taking the previous ICS courses thus far, the issue that I have come across multiple times is the mindset of how to approach the concurrent problems. From what I've experienced, I don't believe the previous courses has helped me in problem solving or how I should approach the problem. Many times it's been the case where I get stuck in the beginning but once the ball gets rolling things go fairly smoothly. 

1. I would like to be able to choose to learn certain languages over others.

2. It would be nice if we had some specialized classes to take that focuses on other parts of CS.

3. We also need an area that gives us a space to focus purely on CS with a lot of resources around.

  1. It is better if the students majoring in ICS be able to have internships in big well-known computer companies which have educational cooperation with UH. In this way, students will gain real-life experiences in the computer fields and prepare them for their future professional careers.
  2. The UH ICS program should offer more classes to be available with different days and time. In this way, the students will be able to avoid conflicting time with the other required classes.
  3. Provide more ICS tutors who will also be available in the library for assisting the students

1. More time flexibility of ICS courses. For many of the upper-level ICS courses, there are sometimes only one option and not much flexibility in the class times/days. It would be more beneficial if there were more options and openings for ICS courses because otherwise some students do not get to take their required classes needed to graduate on time.

2. More occupational knowledge. I am in my third year as an ICS student and I still feel uneasy about going into the workforce. I do not know what will be expected of me or how my knowledge will aid my success in my future career. It would be very beneficial for us all if we were given information/experiences of working in the ICS industry.

3. Correlation of degree requirements across the UH system. I am a transfer student from Leeward Community College where I got my AS in ICS. It turned out that more than half of my ICS credits earned for my AS degree was completely useless for my BS in Computer Science when I transferred to UH Manoa. I think there should be a better system or correlation between the ICS degrees throughout the UH system.

1. The material covered in the introductory courses at the UH community colleges, at least at Windward CC, is in need of a serious overhaul.  I took it upon myself to discover what would be required in the upper level courses, and since then have devoted much of my free time to self studying as a means to prepare.  Although, the real issue is communication, by happenstance I realized what the classes were providing would not suffice.  If there were some disclaimer saying, "<important> material will not be covered, but is highly recommended," that would have made me a happy camper.  At least I would have been aware, not caught off guard.

2. More writing intensive applicability!  Code is written in a language, that has to count for something.  Forgot about 1,000 word essays, how about 1,000 lines of code you smile at like it's your child.

3. More caffeine on campus.  This is a big one for me. I am a coffee junkie, and resources are limited. 

Productivity, we'll call P, where P(x) = - log(x), where x is the distance at any given time of the nearest caffeine source.

1. There is a lack of free time. This is the most obvious. ICS courses tend to be very time consuming. A student must be ready to devote hours upon hours in learning and understanding code. 

2. ICS is difficult. Some fellow students may disagree but it is undoubtedly no "walk in the park." People would compare it to being the same difficulty as learning a new foreign language. I would say it is more difficult than learning a new foreign language. With programming, it is vital for the user to understand exactly what they are doing. They cannot "kind of" understand what they are doing. A mistake in coding could be disastrous. With foreign languages, you can get away with knowing "just enough." Sure, it is best if you master that foreign language. However, you can still communicate with that language with only elementary knowledge and semi-fluency. 

3. It could get very expensive. First off, if you do not have a laptop with viable specifications for programming, you must buy one. That laptop will likely cost more than a thousand dollars. Books could cost over a hundred dollars each. There are many other expensive equipment that you will need to purchase, depending on what courses you plan to take in the future. 

1. There isn't a lot of professors compared to other majors at UH, which results in confining schedules for students.

2. Some gen-ed class classes required for the major seems unnecessary.

3. More specialized classes would help students focus on areas of computer science that interest them.

  1. Registering for some of the core classes can be difficult due the low seat availability. 
  2. The discrete math courses can be hard to digest. This eventually leads to students struggling with classes like 311 down the road. 
  3. Having a language requirement for ICS students means less available course time for more ICS courses. 

As an ICS student, I feel spending so much time in front of a computer screen detracts from the time I could spend engaging with people and experiencing the beauty that Hawaii has to offer. Also, I worry about the opportunity cost of subjects and topics I lose the chance to learn because I chose to study ICS. Lastly, I sometimes hate the frustration about not being able to figure out the problem in my code. 

1. The class scheduling, either not enough seats or a really bad time

2. The amount of time outside of class you have to spend on each class

3. The way some classes are taught by like lectures at home, screencasts, etc

  1. I think that they should offer more seats or class sections available for certain courses that are extremely popular and difficult to get into. (ICS 311, 314)
  2. ICS 311 is notoriously difficult for many students. I think that they should break this course into two different classes so that we can spend more time on the tougher topics to ensure that we are understanding and comprehending the subject at hand.
  3. A larger portion of studying is done outside of class compared to other majors. Similar to learning a foreign language we need to be able to practice every single day for numerous hours.



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