Florida State University
Computer Science Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
2004-2005 Outcomes for BS/BA in Computer Science

Computer Software Programming Skills

Outcome: Upon completion of the senior-level programming courses of the major, the student will be able to design and implement computer software solutions for complex problems.

Assessment and EvaluationProcess: Thi swill result in 80% of the students scoring 70% or better as determined by a capsone programming project for one of the required senior-level programming courses in the major.

Results: On the capstone programming activity for COP 4530, the faculty instructor reported that 97% of the 35 students scored 70% or better on the capstone programming assignment. For COP 4610, the faculty instructor reported 80% of the 79 students scored 70% or better on the capstone programming assignment. Results are reported by instructors to the Chair on the assignments in the capstone experiences. In both instances, student performance exceeded the standard. Faculty evidenced some concern about the degree to which the standard had been exceeded and observed the need for some strengthening of the curriculum.

Actions: The undergraduate curriculum is currently being re-designed to, among other goals, strengthen students' programming skills. The official changes will begin Fall 2006. Meanwhile, some initial improvements are being made. We are now putting the CS majors in a separate section of the beginning programming course where more advanced concepts can be introduced. Non-majors are placed in sections with more general, less advanced topics. With this change, we anticipate the percentage of students with exceeding the standard in the later courses will increase.


Oral Presentation of Programming Project

Outcome: Upon completion of the senior level course on Programming Languages COP 4020 (or Software Engineering, CEN 4010 for students in SE track), the stduent will be able to give an oral presentation, with an accompanying written document, on a large programming project. This is an important skill for a student whether going into the workforce or on to graduate school.

Assessment and EvaluationProcess: This will results in 80% of the stduents scoring 70% or better as determiend by a class presentation given in the COP 4020/CEN 4010 class. The oral presentation part of the project constitutes 10% of the overall grade and is evaluated by the instructor.

Results: In COP 4020 students selected a topic that addressed an issue in programming languages. They then wrote a short paper on this and presented their findings to the class. In a class of 78 students, the faculty instructor reported that 85% received a grade of 70% or better. In the corresponding course, CEN 4010, for the Software Engineering major, the students participate in a group software requirements analysis and design project. The resulting formal document is typically 20-35 pages in length and covers the topics of problem statement, introduction, background, requirements definitions, analysis, and design. Each student is required to give a 5 minute formal oral presentation to the class and a panel of faculty on his or her portion of the project. Overall, the faculty instructor reported that 96% of the 12 students received 70% or better on the oral presentation. Faculty noted that while the results are good, improvements can be made to increase student awareness of the importance of this skill.

Actions: The results show an understanding of the importance of oral presentations in the workplace. However, even better results may be obtained by some time being spent at the beginning of the semester emphasizing what a critical skill this is in today's work environment. We would like a higher percentage of students in COP 4020 to have met or exceeded the standard on this important component.


Fundamental Skills in Computer Science

Outcome: At the completion of the program, undergraduates in CS will have skills that remain current as specific technologies change. Such skills include: mathematical bases of CS, theoretical foundations of programming languages, ability to analyze algorithms.

Assessment and EvaluationProcess: This will result in 80% being employed in field or accepted into graduate school as evidenced by an exit interview with employment and graduate school information, completed within one semester of graduation. A second survey is sent to students one year after graduation to obtain further information on employment and graduation information. Some students will not have employment immediately upon graduation or determined their plans for graduate school, but one year later more accurate information is available. By having a solid background in CS fundamentals, graduates will be attractive to both industry and graduate schools.

Results: The undergraduate advisors request all graduating seniors to complete a departmental exit survey. The results from the exit surveys, completed by 30 of the 66 graduating seniors from fall 2004 and spring 2005, showed that 97% of those who knew their post-graduation plans, either had employment in field or were planning to attend graduate school.

Actions: Students often have not finalized employment decisions by the time they graduate and so we implemented a "one-year-out" survey. However, mailing these was both costly and frequently sent to an incorrect address. We now have made this into an electronic survey and are sending it to students at an email address supplied on the original exit survey. We hope that this will help maintain more accurate records.