Report on Undergraduate Forum of March 24, 2016
The CSE Undergraduate Studies Committee (UGSC) organized the annual
undergraduate forum on March 24, 2016 in CL 120. The forum started at
about 5:30 pm and continued till about 7:00 pm, with most students
staying on till near the end. The summary below tries to describe the
main points that were made during the discussions. The summary is based
on notes made by Paolo Bucci and Jeremy Morris; many thanks to both for taking
- Glen Gainer, senior
- Reid Fu, junior
- John Feerick, junior
- Zach Schuller, senior
- Michael Abbott, junior
- Sandeep Battula, senior
- Anshu Kumar, sophomore
- William Conlon, sophomore
- Erik Thiem, senior
- Max Buck, senior
- Michael Schulz, senior
- Evan Danish, senior
- Lucas Miller, senior
- Shadman Sakib, sophomore
- Kevin Freeman, freshman
- Sean Zhang, freshman
- Dalton Flanagan, junior
- Winnie Li, junior
- Haonan Wang, freshman
- Yihand Du, sophomore
- Sam Litowitz, senior
- Advising staff: Leslie Dowler, Nikki Strader, CA Wade
- Systems staff: Pat Jacobs
- Neelam briefly welcomed everyone to the forum, explained the purpose of
the forum, and explained the activities of the Undergrad Studies Committee.
Following that, everyone in the room introduced themselves.
- Neelam talked briefly about the continuing popularity of CSE and CIS
and how this (severely) impacts enrollment in classes as well as admission
to the majors.
- Changes to undergrad programs: Neelam summarized three sets
of changes that have been made recently:
- Changes in ECE course requirements: Until recently CSE majors had to
take ECE 2000, 2100 (4
credit hours each); CIS majors had to take ECE 2000 (4 cr hrs).
Following feedback from a number of students (see last year's
forum report and discussion in UGSC),
these were modified as follows:
require CIS majors to take ECE 2060 in place of ECE 2000;
require CSE majors to take ECE 2020 and 2060 in place of ECE 2000, 2100;
and move the extra
hours (1 cr hr in the case of the CIS program and 2 in the case of the CSE
program) to the tech elective requirements.
Another change, also based on feedback from students related to CSE 2501 and
the ethics course requirement CSE majors. All Engineering majors are
required to take an ethics course, one of these being Phil 1337; CIS majors
are not required to take an ethics course but many take 1337 as a GE
(Cultures and Ideas course). But, given
that the topic of 1337 is ethical issues related to computing, there is
considerable overlap with CSE 2501. However, Phil 1337 does not require any
oral presentations by students and the writing component is not as strong as
in CSE 2501. To address this, we worked with the Philosophy Dept. to have them
develop Phil 1338, a 4-credit version of 1337, which will include these missing
components. Phil 1338 has now been offered and seems to have been well received
by CSE majors. We are also working with the Philosophy Dept. to develop an
appropriate rubric for use in 1338. With the introduction of 1338, CSE and
CIS majors who take that course will not be required to take CSE 2501; and
students who are considering taking 1337 will be advised to, instead, take
Students at the forum approved of both changes. With respect to the ECE courses,
a couple of specific comments were made:
a. ECE 2060 is still very fast-paced.
b. The labs seem very accelerated.
c. The first lab seemed rather strange but the rest were okay.
Neelam will pass on the comments to ECE.
- Comment from Advising Office:
Leslie noted that the introduction of the specialization
(tech elective) options
is simply a formalization of the previous "focus areas"; the advantage of the
formalization is that it appears on the students' transcripts and allows
employers and others to easily identify students/grads who may be suited to their
particular needs. Students can change their specialization option at any time;
indeed, since the options are very flexible, a set of courses that meet the
requirements of one option may also meet (or come close to meeting) the
requirements of another option.
On a different note, students planning to graduate soon should complete the
graduation application in a timely manner.
- Comment from a student: How about a career services office for just CS students?
Nikki responded that we tried to do this at one time but were overruled.
It was also noted that there are various other issues, such as turf questions,
the requirement of special certification to be a career counselor etc., that
prevent a departmental career services office.
- Suggestion from a student: How about an online bulletin board for
items of interest to undergrad students, instead of sending out tons of email
that get lost? For example, posts about startup career fairs
that the Business Builders Club hosts or various hackathons etc.
would be suitable candidates for posting on such a bulletin board.
Nikki and Leslie agreed this would be a good idea and we will try to work on it.
On a tangential note, some students noted that participation in events such
as hackathons brought excitement to classes after the event. Moreover,
many employers look for evidence of such participation in future employees.
It is also worth noting that there are numerous start-ups in the Central Ohio
area and students should consider those opportunities as well.
- Comment from a student: The standardization in Software I, II seems
really helpful. Such standardization is missing in Fnds I, II, and in
Systems I, II.
Neelam agreed that this was a good point and will bring it up to the
appropriate faculty. Doreen Close noted that standardization might be
especially important for Fnds I and Sys I since Fnds II and Sys II build
directly on those courses. A number of students felt that this was much
more the case with Fnds I/II (than with Sys I/II) so standardization is
really important for Fnds I. We will discuss this in the Curriculum Committee
and see if we can find a sensible way to address this.
- A student suggested that Apple development environment should be available
for student use. Pat Jacobs noted that the Macs in CL 112 are specifically for use
by a capstone class; to expand to other courses, faculty should make
appropriate requests. The Systems Committee (chair: Jim Davis, jwdavis@cse)
would be a good place to bring up such questions, suggestions, etc.
- A student asked about grader positions and who was in charge of it.
Anna noted that, at least for SW I, II, recommendations from recent instructors
count for a lot. Paolo suggested that students considering grading position
should not do it for the money but rather because they want to help other
students. It is also a true learning experience since looking at material
from a course that the grader completed a while ago through the eyes of
other students currently taking the course really helps solidify the grader's
grasp of that material and related material.
A student suggested that it is a bit intimidating to apply for a
grading position and that recruiting would help ... there seem to be a general
feeling that the grading situation should be improved although it was not
clear what the most effective approaches might be. One suggestion was to
prominently advertise the need for graders for specific courses on the
undergrad web site. We will discuss this in the Undergrad Studies Committee.