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A look back: undergraduate computer science education: a new curriculum philosophy and overview

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3 Author(s)
Knight, J.C. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Virginia Univ., Charlottesville, VA, USA ; Prey, J.C. ; Wulf, W.A.

As the discipline of computer science grew, undergraduate computer science education continued to change and, has for the most part, kept pace with the new topics in the field. However, the pedagogy had not changed significantly. Although the curriculum at the University of Virginia was comparable to that of most other universities, it had neither the rigor nor the practical experience needed to prepare undergraduates for the workplace or meaningful graduate study. Thus, we believed a major shift of emphasis away from the traditional computer science curriculum was needed. We believe that: a more engineering orientation must be incorporated into all of our core courses; students need a more extensive grounding in software engineering; all courses must increase the degree of mathematical rigor; students need hands-on experiences with appropriate, current artifacts, as well as intense laboratory experiences which will help students develop inter-personal and engineering skills in addition to course content; and providing real-world “practice” is important and needs to be a fundamental element of the complete curriculum. We have incorporated these concepts into our new CS curriculum. We have offered the new CS1 course for 10 semesters with good results; we have also developed and offered three follow-on courses. The student and faculty responses have been very favorable. They are excited by the new courses and the closed laboratory component. All of these courses have lecture slides, laboratory activities, homework assignments, etc. available on the web for public viewing

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1997. 27th Annual Conference. Teaching and Learning in an Era of Change. Proceedings.  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

5-8 Nov 1997