Monday, February 28, 2011

Changes to CSC110 Computer Science I

We have made a significant change to our Computer Science I course that we are very excited about.  It is currently a four-credit four hour class and our classes run almost full to 32 students per class.  We were concerned because 32 students makes it difficult to get to everyone when we are doing hands on activities, so we have decided to split the course into separate lab and lecture sections in much the same way other science classes are run.  The lecture section will be a normal three-credit three hour class and the lab will be a smaller section (limited to 22 students) containing the hands on work.

In addition, we are creating two versions of the lab: a three hour lab for majors and a two hour lab for non-majors. We hope this will improve things for both student populations.  For non-majors, this will let us focus on the challenges the material provides to students whose skills and focus may not be in this area.  For majors, we are going to use the extra hour to provide a freshman seminar experience including material about potential careers, study skills, college life skills, team building, etc.

This is a big change that was initiated as the result of our assessing the retention and failure rates in CS1 and we are hopeful that we will see significant improvement in both of those measures as a result.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update on Shirts and Travel

Today, the programming team is creating their "flash" video for the CS Games.  Here they are in their team shirts:

David Abrams, Danielle Leonard, Brian Ettinger, Emily Bruckart, Rob Koch, and David Kelly (not pictured: Jada Williams, Logan Kennedy, and Steve Bussey)

And their team name:  Getting Our Codon!

(look up codon if you don't know what it is . . .)

The department shirts will look like theirs without the special team name on the back.  They are still available if you want one . . .

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Programming Team Travel and Department T-Shirts

The Programming Team is traveling a bit further than usual this spring.  They will be going to The CS Games at Concordia University in Montreal.  This event lasts three days and includes a wide variety of competitions.  Nine of our students will be competing as a team led by Dr. Armstrong.  It will be an adventure and I will let you know how it goes.

While we are supporting this trip with moneys from our alumni and the Dean has offered his support as well, not all of the expenses are covered.  The team has designed department T-shirts to raise some money.  Check out the cool designs!  The QR codes take you to are department's web site. White shirts are $10 and red ones are $15.  If you are interested, let me know what to order!

On a side note, Steve Bussey (pictured with the white shirt above), is the member of a jazz band: Jive Turkeys on the Loose.  They will be performing at  McFeely's lounge in the lower level CUB, this Saturday from 9pm to 11pm.  The band will be performing some jazz standards for the first 50 minute set and doing a more impromptu "jam" style performance for the second 50 minute set.  The music will be a mix of  blues, bebop, funk, and ambient styles.