3 Ways that the UH ICS Program could improve are:
(1) By structuring the ICS curriculum and the CENG curriculum alongside each other, which could possibly done through cross-listed courses, the hassle of having to ask for overrides from one person in charge of the department or course could be mitigated, and all ICS and CENG students would have more options and would be able to gain the skills of their choosing.
(2) By adding co-requisite lab sessions that are dedicated to learning technical skills pertaining to the lab’s lecture equivalent. It can be difficult (with other life obligations) to do these things on your own time. I find that throughout my courses, the courses I find most enriching are those I could learn technical skills from, whether it be programming hardware or assembling circuits. If these labs incorporated assignments with industry standards, students would be better equipped to enter the workforce.
(3) Through the addition of online courses, which would make it convenient for students to take courses at their own pace, especially if these students are unable to sit in a classroom because of again, life obligations such as having a job or a family.
1. Class availability and overrides: As someone who is in computer engineering, I have had a hard time registering for classes every time I need to take an ICS course, this is because the prerequisite courses are ICS specific and engineering courses are not immediately accepted. By the time I get the override to register, the class is already full.
2. The Disproportional Assignment Times: Engineering has this problem too, where the amount of credits awarded by the course is completely irrelevant to the amount of time the class requires. Classes that take up more time should award more credits.
3. The Lack of Fluidity Between Classes: Whenever I have taken an ICS class, it seems like the prerequisite class has nothing to do with the class that I am taking and I need to relearn everything in the way the professor chooses. I think the program could be improved by making the classes feel like a continuation of one another.
1. Flexibility of the classes being offered could be improved. Currently, ICS 212 is only being offered in the evening and creates discomfort within many ICS students. If it could be offered during earlier times, or even online, it would greatly improve the response of students regarding class schedules.
2. Regarding class content, material is very condensed. Different ICS classes are taken concurrently with each other, and the workload adds up very quickly. Homework and class material could be more spread out to ensure that students really understand the material, rather than rushing through a topic in a week.
3. An internship opportunity provided by the ICS program would tremendously help every single student. The main thing for internships is the experience you get. However, in order to be considered by many companies that offer internships, you need experience to be considered. Doing internships within the program would give this experience to many of the students.
1. You might spend a lot time looking at something that actually does not help you to solve your problem, this include both the distraction from other things or a misguiding. But this is part of learning process.
2. As at took a look at these bad things people posted 12 years ago, I feel are my issue is quite minor compare to them, I believe the bad things could be a good things as there is room for improvement.
Flipped Classroom Strategy
I understand that most of the higher ICS classes uses the "filliped classroom strategy" for example ICS 311. However, not being use to this learning style, it was hard to get a grasp of how the class ran the first week of school. I like the idea where we have to come to class prepared with the material, but I would also like to have a class period where the teacher would lecture us on the material instead of getting into groups and most likely be confused on the exercise problems given.
As you take higher ICS courses along with other courses required for your degree, the work load for the semester becomes very stressful. Since I am taking 311 and 314 at the same time, I already know it's going to be a tough and stressful semester. If I do not pass 311 the first try, then I would be pushing my graduation date further behind than when I wanted to graduate.
The ICS classes are scheduled either really early in the morning or late at night. Most likely you will have a semester or semesters where you end class late one day and the very next day you have an early morning class. Since most students stay up late studying, they would go to their early morning class exhausted and not pay attention during that period of time.
As a computer engineer major, I do not know much about the UH ICS program but here are some of my suggestions on how it could be improved:
The ICS program particularly the Computer Security track could be improved in a few ways:
1.) The required classes that must be taken to unlock the upper division security courses offer little in terms of valuable skills that are needed for a job in the field. The classes should be more focused on real world skills and less about theory.
2.)The first class ICS 222 is almost entirely review. It covers mathematical induction (ICS 141), Moore and Mealy machines (ISC 241), and Turing machines (ICS 241). With the course being structured in this way it gives little time for other topics to be covered. The course should be looked at in aggregate with the other required courses that a student is required to take.
1. I feel there could be more of a focus on applicable skills. For example I am in the Cyber Security track and I have yet to learn how to use any practical programs or skills. All I have been learning is concepts
2. The ICS space is too small for the amount of people that want to study. Although ICS assignments are something that can be completed online with others, it would be far more effective to have a place where more people could gather to collaborate.
3. It would be great if the ICS courses fulfilled more requirements. Requirements like WI are hard to get in ICS because not many ICS classes come with a WI requirement. This just means that a lot of people take many random classes to fulfill requirements that could be a lot easier to get. A good example of a class that works well with our requirements in 390 which fulfill ETH, WI, and OC.
1. There are classes the end quite late, which is kinda inconvenient for students riding the bus home. Maybe having an online class for that course would give less burden to those students.
2. In upper level courses, there are classes that are only available on the spring or fall semester, so you will need to wait a semester to take the class. The worst case scenario will be if you fail the class you will need to wait a bit to retake the class again. Bringing in more professors could reduce that problem and students will have more options for their selected courses.
3. The introduction to ics is not really beginner friendly, I would say at least a small amount of experience or research before attempting the class would be required to be able to understand the work. Maybe a basic program as a first assignment first would help and gradually increase the difficulty.
Three bad things about being an ICS student.
1. Class Time is not friendly for students that do no drive, For example, ICS 212 which is in the evening.
2. Lack of Space. Because of the lack of sections and space in the ICS program, most classes are full fast. Which lead to waiting for a whole semester before taking the class.
3. Stressful. Homework can be very stressful sometimes and time-consuming.
The requirements for the major have gone through some changes and can be a little prohibitive at times. I decided on majoring in ICS a year in to my university career and have had to do some backtracking to take classes required for upper division ICS classes. While this is completely reasonable, as the classes required are especially important for ICS courses, it can make things a little annoying for students who are still undecided and exploring different things when they first start college.
More class availability. This is a kind of unavoidable, as it is highly dependent on the availability of professors, but more classes and options to choose from is always nice as a student
Some way to incorporate more "real world" experience. I do not really feel like I have had any experience with what it is like actually working in the ICS field so far. Internships do this, but it would be nice if there were opportunities in the program itself.
1. The topics can be very challenging. In order to succeed in courses, students must be passionate about the subject area and be motivated to work hard to grasp new concepts. Courses can be fast-paced and filled with a plethora of important information.
2. The course load can be heavy. Although learning new programming languages and skills are enjoyable, it can also be extremely time consuming.
3. Some courses are offered only in one semester (either Fall or Spring) and not both semesters. Having class availability that is always guaranteed would be an improvement.