Computer Science Education

Mon, 27 Jan 2003 17:41:22 -0800

This post has nothing to do with Marx, the Middle East, Bush, Social =
Policy, etc.

I am currently teaching Computer Science at DeVry University.  [Please =
limit yourself to one snicker at the expense of my students.  You are =
also allowed one lament that they have to put up with me.]

I am teaching Structured Design and Analysis though I=E2=80=99ve never =
done any. =E2=98=BA
I=E2=80=99m also teaching Object Oriented Design and Analysis though I =
wasn't known as an OO person.

Now, these kids don't have an operating system course, a data structures =
course, or a software engineering course.

They have had 2 semesters of C++ and one of Java / C++.


1. Is anyone doing old fashioned Data Flow diagrams anymore?  The =
program director assures me lots of people do.  I've never worked for =
any, though.
2. It was my impression that most Analysts were MBAs.  T/F?
3. I've wound up using a Problem / Group Brainstorm / Professor Critique =
method for trying to teach design.  This why each kid gets a shot, gets =
to see what the rest of the class came up with, and then gets my ideas.  =
Anyone have a better suggestion?  I have trouble coming up with Design =
problems that are simple enough to do but not trivial.  The ability of =
the students to screw up trivial problems can not be over-estimated.
4. Not a single one of the kids really knew what a list was or could =
implement even a simple list routine.  The people who taught the earlier =
courses admit they never covered it.  I was shocked.  Am I expecting too =
much from students who have had 2 semesters of programming?
5. Any suggestions for teaching OO that doesn't wind up either being an =
essay test or a syntax test are welcome.
6. I made them do book reports.  Books chosen have included "Mythical =
Man Month", "Extreme Programming", "Code Complete", "Writing Solid =
Code", and "Refractoring".  There was also a book that included some =
Design Patterns.  Suggestions for other books that might help broaden =
their education are welcome.
7. Do 'normal' undergraduates have enormous problems going from generic =
descriptions to concrete practice?
8. Is there a 'Database Design Patterns' book out there somewhere?
9. If you were designing a CIS program, would you be teaching Structured =
Analysis instead of Data Structures, Operating Systems, or Software =
A. Anyone know a good reference for 'the theory of testing software'.  =
My kids have never been exposed to 'test harness', 'regression test', =
etc.  I'm doing my best but I'm shooting from the hip on that one.