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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.  The amount of work and stress can sometimes become unhealthy if you don't handle it properly.

2.  The times when courses are offered can be difficult to work around, considering that many classes are offered at night, rather than during the day. 

3.  The general education requirements are a little ridiculous.  I understand that ICS heavily involves math, and that the general education requirements help us build a solid foundation, but I find it a little ridiculous that we need to take General Physics I and II and General Chemistry I and II with their labs, alongside Calculus I and II.  I'd rather be able to spend more time studying ICS related material.

1) Although this point has been made a by numerous people before me, I think it is a point that could really improve the state of the program, and that is the difficultly of signing up for classes, namely 300 level courses. This in turn causes a very topsy turvy progression for most students where they take classes which they don't even have the prerequisites for. The core requirement was implemented to remedy this, but I, as well as others here, have already been through most of the curriculum. 

2) Very few classes in the program satisfy FOCUS requirements. Perhaps this is just due to the nature of the field of study, as most of it is in practice and implementation. Classes like 314 are very appreciated and I would like to have more classes that allow us to write academic journals and essays in our field of study.

3) Being in this major is getting increasingly stressful to a point of being almost unnecessarily so. With the implementation of new core requirements and the "B or higher" requirement for such classes being in consideration, things are looking dim for most of the new ICS students. Granted, this (314) is the last core class that I must take, but I would be lying if I said that these classes are easy, in fact they are far from it. The possible "No Repeat" rule in conjunction with all of this makes ICS possibly the most high risk STEM major offered at UHM. And that's a scary thing for both new and current students. Simply getting a B- in 311, in my opinion the most difficult class in the curriculum, will weed out a lot of students, if they weren't already scared away from the harsh requirements. I believe that these requirements are more detrimental to the student. 

Three bad things about the ICS Program:

1) Not enough seats for certain classes. I have been wanting to take ICS 314 and ICS 332 for a while but was not able to as a sophomore. Now I am a junior and luckily I was able to get in those classes via overrides. Having extra seats or extra sections for those classes would be nice. Luckily, I still am on track for graduation despite this though I feel that ICS 314, a class that teaches professionalism and JavaScript, would have been beneficial for me to take as a sophomore.

2) More classes that focuses on UI design. Although this does seem like something that would belong in the ACM or ART department, I feel that UI iDesign s a growing field in the world of tech especially at larger companies like Google and Microsoft. Its nice that ICS 314 and ICS 464 focuses on the human aspect of design and computers but I feel that there should be some classes in the ICS department that allows students to learn more about UI Design and take on UI Design projects as undergraduates to have a decent portfolio in UI Design if they were to pursue a career in this vs. a whole bunch of students from Stanford, UW, etc. who already have a portfolio when they're applying for jobs.  

3) Interview prep. Although ICS has a variety of classes such as Software Engineering and Data Structures, I feel that there should be a class that focuses on technical interviews to prepare ICS students for internship and job interviews at bigger companies. Often times, in the 2nd round of an internship interview for one of the mainland companies, applicants have to code on a text editor via Skype and in the final onsite round, they have to code on a whiteboard in front of 4 engineers. It is also not just about finding the right answer to a problem they give but rather the best answer with the best runtime. A candidate that had a O(n log n) solution would definitely be picked over someone who did two for-loops and did a O(n^2) solution. To prepare myself for this, I often have to spend extra hours studying at home in preparation for this, so it would be nice to have a class that helps out with this like this one supplemental class they had at MIT:

  1. There could be more ICS courses that fulfil the Writing Intensive, Oral Communications and Ethics requirements. Some of these require at least a 300 level course, which usually require having taken another course in that department.
  2. When I was at Leeward Community College many ICS Courses had both a live and online section available. It would be nice if Manoa would do the same thing particularly for the prerequisite courses since online classes are flexible for scheduling.
  3. At Leeward sections that had a meeting time in a classroom and required a lot of online work were labeled as hybrid. This also included classes that used the inverted approach or when the professor decided that attending the live portion was optional. If Manoa employed a similar, if not the same, labeling system then the students would have a better idea of how the class they were registering for would be structured and prepare their schedule around that or register for a different section if a traditional section is available, allowing students to more easily choose a learning approach that they prefer.

1. For the BS degree in ICS, I dislike how we have to take Physics and Chemistry for 2 semesters with both the labs. Taking these classes take up a lot of our time and I would rather spend that time and energy in ICS courses. 

2. There should be more clubs available for ICS students to join so they can get to know their peers and work on projects together. These projects would be very useful to help students build a good portfolio and prepare for jobs when they graduate.

3. It would be nice to have tutoring services for ICS like the learning emporium for math, physics, chemistry, etc. Although ICS professors and TAs provide office hours to help us on our assignments, sometimes this is not enough. It would be nice to get a little extra help since ICS is quite a difficult major. 

1. The classes usually favor those that have past programming experience. I had no programming experience when I started this major, so I felt behind compared to other students who could finish assignments with ease because they knew what to expect in programming.

2. The grade requirements for the ICS prerequisite classes are higher than any other major that I have seen. Not meeting the high grade requirements in a certain class could delay your progress significantly.

3. To be successful, you have to also work outside of class. Your portfolio and projects become very important for your resume. This seems to be more prevalent in computer science.

I have not had much experience in ICS courses at UH Manoa because I am a Computer Engineering student. In my experience thus far, I have no experienced anything negative in Professor Johnson's class. My classmates are knowledgable and friendly, I feel like it would be unfair for me to say anything constructive about the ICS program thus far.



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