Assessment of Student Learning



Computer Science Discipline

SPRING, 2000

Phase I.

Unit Mission/Goal(s)

Please state your unit’s mission/goal(s):

To educate our students and the residents in our region on the principles of computing and the benefits and limitations in deploying computing throughout our society.

Please describe how your unit mission/goal(s) relate to the institutional mission

The institution’s mission is teaching, research and outreach which corresponds precisely with our goals.

 

Student Learning Objectives/Expected Outcomes

Learning Objective 1.

Learn the fundamentals of computing including problem solving skills, algorithm development, programming and developing effective solutions through group activities.

Expected Outcome 1.

Students learn how to think critically.

Learning Objective 2.

Acquire appropriate communication skills for the field.

Expected Outcome 2.

Students will present seminars, give papers at regional conferences, and prepare papers.

Learning Objective 3.

Develop a broader perspective of the computing field.

Expected Outcome 3.

Approximately 50% of our students will study abroad, will complete internships, do research, complete a MAP or MAI position.

 

Assessment Methods & Tools

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 1.

CS3190 is a "capstone" course for assessing the learning of basic fundamental computer science concepts and of problem solving abilities in a group activity. Students as well as faculty will participate in the assessment of each group’s progress and of the final project outcomes. Instruments will include an evaluation form to be submitted by each student, an evaluation form to be submitted by the course instructor, and demonstrations of the projects by the students.

Outcome 1

Starting Date for the Implementation:

In Progress

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

Spring 1998 (with evaluation and suggestions for the 1998-99 year)

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 2.

Quantity and quality of presentations and papers submitted, especially in the Seminar course

Outcome 2

Starting Date for the Implementation:

In Progress

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

Spring 1998 (with evaluation and suggestions for the 1998-99 year)

Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 3.

Quantity and quality of non-classroom experience

Outcome 3

Starting Date for the Implementation:

In Progress

Anticipated Date for the First Results:

Spring 1998 (with evaluation and suggestions for the 1998-99 year)

Phase II.

Use of Observed Outcomes and Possible Actions

Please comment on the possible use of the findings of your assessment plan.

In responding to this question you may want to consider the following issues; How would the results of the assessment be communicated to faculty in your own and other disciplines? How could the results be used to improve the student learning and programs? How could the results produce input to other related processes (e.g., academic and nonacademic planning, curriculum review)? How could the results of the assessment change your unit’s mission/goal(s)? With which other units would you like to share the results of your assessment?)

Results will be compiled and displayed in a graphical format for easy comparison with previous years.

Summaries of data will be made available to the campus and others through our Computer Science Discipline Home Page.

The field of computer science is changing rapidly and we will share results with our discipline (especially the graduating student surveys) to continually update our curriculum.

A library will be kept of our CS3901 student papers to help other students learn about new and different fields of study not found in their coursework.

Results will be shared most closely with the mathematics and physics disciplines to coordinate our course offerings and give students more learning choices.

The Implementation Needs

Please comment on the information and assistance necessary for the successful implementation of your assessment process.

In responding to this question you may want to consider issues such as: What are the other units (e.g., other disciplines, programs, administrators and/or committees) that should produce input for the successful completion of your assessment cycle? What type of input do you need from other units? What should be the function of the Assessment of Student Learning Committee and Coordinator to increase the effectiveness of your unit’s assessment process? What type of support might your unit need for the planning and application of your assessment cycle?

We need data summarizing our discipline coursework and activities. This would include the surveys from the CS3190 course, the CS3901 course, and information on outside activities that our students are involved in such as internships, research, and conference presentations.

We need data from the Alumni Coordinator to help track our graduates.

We especially need results of the exit surveys to help assess if we are meeting our goals.

It would be very helpful to have a ‘post-exit’ interview survey instrument which our graduates would complete 2-3 years after graduation.

We need student help to gather data and create displays of the data in an easily understood format which lends itself to discussions of reviewing and of improving our assessment plan.

Any information that could be received from our former students who have gone on to graduate school or employment would be very helpful. We need some way of assessing how the plan is affecting our students' lives after they graduate.

Phase III.

Application: Observed Outcomes

Please comment on your findings of the implementation of the assessment methods and tools.

In responding to this question you may want to summarize your findings, provide data that supports your interpretations, discuss the validity of your results, and suggest ways of improving the methods and tools that you have used.

Observation 1

In assessing our program three years ago, we were in complete agreement that many of our students were programming first and problem solving later. This was observed during examinations and in assignments where code was erased, changed, etc. but no algorithm was present. Often documentation was missing or added after coding. We were following the accepted first-year curriculum for first-year majors in computer science, but changes were definitely needed to address this problem.

Observation 2

In assessing our program three years ago, we remarked that some of our students were reticent to speak out in class and that technical writing assignments did not produce organized, well thought-out arguments. Our major did not include oral presentation in any required course. Many students expressed fear of presenting material to an audience.

We find it hard to assess the assessment plan. We do, however, find it easier to assess our student accomplishments. We need better tools to assess the impact of oiur plan, especially after the students have graduated - this is when we feel the results of the plan will be most visible. Such a tool would also assess student learning outside of course evaluations.

We can measure expected outcomes numerically for some of our goals, but it is more difficult to find ways of assessing the impact of our "creative thinking" and "communication" goals.

We have gathered together our recent data for assessing our students' participation in research, internships, and other writing and presenting skill areas. We need to compile this data in order to better determine if our goals are being met.


Actions Taken

Please comment on the actions that you have taken or planning to take based on your findings.

In responding to this question you may want to consider the following issues: What other units were involved with the actions that you have taken? What was the impact of the actions that you have taken on the students’ learning? What other structures do you propose to increase the success of your actions?

To counter Observation 1, we implemented a new beginning sequence for the major which emphasizes creative thinking and problem solving without programming for the first course. In the second course, after students have learned how to think about solving problems, programming is introduced.

To answer our concern about students being able to present ideas and solutions to problems both orally and written (Observation 2), we decided to require a seminar course which helps students learn to read research journal papers in computer science and to present that material to their peers in both written and oral form. We also changed our major requirements to include two courses in communication, one within and one outside of the discipline.

We are making changes to our curriculum and may have to change our assessment plan to correspond. Our seminar course, CSci 3901, was successful. Both faculty and students were very excited about the course and the amount that was learned by the students. It was decided by the discipline (with student input) to make the course a sophomore instead of a senior course. We felt that our students needed the experience of reading research articles, writing papers, and presenting results at an earlier time in their undergraduate careers. This will give students a chance during their junior and senior years to be better prepared to help professors with their UMM research, to study abroad or to participate in summer research experiences or internships (some of our other assessment goals).

We are gradually implementing this plan. During Fall 1999, we had mostly seniors in the class. We have data to show the student's improvement over the course of the semester on their presentation skills. The class for Spring 2000, however, is about 50% seniors and 50% juniors. Next Fall, we hope to have mostly juniors and few sophomores and, by 2001, we will be teaching sophomores only in the course.

The goal of this class was to have students prepare to write and present in a professional manner. To this end, we have a professional conference as the capstone event at the end of the class. There are parallel sessions, a program, a proceedings and we even serve a luncheon for the students. They are participating, in every way possible, in a professional conference. We invite other students and faculty - and some parents also attend the conference. We now have evaluations by the audience of each presentation. We hope to find ways to evaluate quantitatively this part of the course.

Appendices

You may want to provide the following optional information that may be relevant to your unit’s assessment of student learning plan.

Number of degrees granted within the past 5 (or more) years

Major

Minor

Area of Concentration

Emphasis

Teacher Education

Majors in computer science:

1993 - 14 1996 - 12

1994 - 15 1997 - 18

1995 - 16

Please list the graduates of your program who are (were) in the graduate programs and provide approximate acceptance rate for your graduates.

1997

Lisa Hollerman - MS program, Iowa State University

Dan Keller - MS program, Iowa State University

Colin Sweeney - PhD program, University of Minnesota

Craig Wilcox - PhD program, University of Washington

1996

Brad Wosmek - MS program, University of Kansas

Stephanie Fonder - PhD program, University of California-Riverside

Darla Kuras - MS program, Michigan Technological University

Keith Vertanen - PhD program, Oregon State University

1995

Brent Dahlen - MS program, University of Minnesota

Steve Damer - MS program, University of Minnesota

Scott Perowitz - MS, Mankato State University

Matt Schumacher - MS program, University of North Dakota

Angela Snelson - MS program, University of Minnesota

Jeff Ulrich - MS program, University of Illinois

Scott Van Eps - MS program, South Dakota State University

1994

Sarah Heymer - MS, University of Minnesota

Jeannie Gilbertson - MS, University of Kansas

Robin Wooley - MS, University of North Dakota

Bruce Hartung - MS, University of Kansas

Joe Luhmann - MS program, University of Minnesota

1993

Jenny Walter - PhD program, Texas A&M University

Neil Buesing - MS, University of Illinois

Brenda Schoenecker - MS, University of Minnesota

Paula Budig - MS program, University of Minnesota

Will Scullin - MS, University of Illinois

Alan Krueger - MS program, University of Minnesota

Eric Carter - MS, University of Michigan

Brian Lopez - MS program, Stanford University

Please list student publications in your program that took place within the past 5 (or more) years.

(UMM students starred*)

*Hollermann, L., Hsu, T.S., Lopez, D.R., & *Vertanen, K., "Scheduling Problems in a Practical Allocation Model," Journal of Combinatorial Optimization, Vol 1(2), pp. 129-149, 1997.

Alan Olness, Dian Lopez, *Jason Cordes, *Colin Sweeney, and W.B. Voorhees, "Predicting Nitrogen Fertilizer Needs using Soil and Climatic Data," Proceedings, Eleventh World Fertilizer Congress, September 7-13, 1997, Gent, Belgium.

Alan Olness, D.R. Lopez, *J. Cordes, *C. Sweeney and W.B. Voorhees, "A Nitrogen Fertilizer Decision Aid: Theory," 89th American Society of Agronomy Meetings, Anaheim, CA, October 26-31, 1997.

*J. Cordes, Alan Olness, D.R. Lopez, *C. Sweeney and W.B. Voorhees, "A Nitrogen Fertilizer Decision Aid: Development of Components," 89th American Society of Agronomy Meetings, Anaheim, CA, October 26-31, 1997.

*C. Sweeney, Alan Olness, D.R. Lopez, *J. Cordes, and W.B. Voorhees, "A Nitrogen Fertilizer Decision Aid: Results of Field Trials," 89th American Society of Agronomy Meetings, Anaheim, CA, October 26-31, 1997.

*Keller, D., Lopez, D., Richards, R., "Three Practical Applications of Computer-Aided Multimedia," Proceedings, 30th Annual Small College Computing Symposium, pp. 241-248. April 17-19, 1997, Kenosha, WI.

*Lee, J., Lopez, D., *Royce, W., "Simulation Studies of a Parallel Scheduling Algorithm," Proceedings, 30th Annual Small College Computing Symposium, pp. 227-234. April 17-19, 1997, Kenosha, WI.

*Sweeney, C., Olness, A., Lopez, D., Voorhees, W., "A Model for Predicting Leaching of Nitrate-Nitrogen," Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium, St. Paul, April 27, 1996 (abstract published in the Minnesota Academy of Science Journal). Above paper won a Winchell Best Presentation Award.

*Jason Cordes, Alan Olness, Dian Lopez, and Ward Voorhees, "Modeling Changes in Nitrate-Nitrogen in the Natural Environment Using Five Components," 63rd Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Academy of Science, UMM, April 28-29, 1995 (Abstract published in the Journal of the Minnesota Academy of Science, Vol. 59, No. 3, 1995).

*Schumacher, Matt, "Using Computational Geometry to Enhance Enclosing Polygon Algorithms," Proceedings, Fourth Annual Argonne Symposium for Undergraduates; Argonne National Laboratories, Argonne, IL. November 5-6, 1993, p. 75.

A. Lopez, D. Lopez, and *B . Schoenecker, "Electronic Data Interchange - Its Present and Future Impact on World Trade," Proceedings, 26th Annual Small College Computing Symposium, Cedar Falls, Iowa, April, 1993, pp. 120-126.

J. DeRung, D. Lopez, and *D. Tracy, "An Inexpensive Environment for Parallel and Distributed Computing," Proceedings, 26th Annual Small College Computing Symposium, Cedar Falls, Iowa, April, 1993, pp. 191-198.


Please list student presentations/performances/artistic exhibitions in your program that took place within the past 5 (or more) years.

(UMM students starred*)

*Colin Sweeney, Alan Olness, Dian Lopez, *Jason Cordes, and W.B. Voorhees, "A Model for Predicting Leaching of Nitrate-Nitrogen in Soil," Eleventh National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR-97), April 24-26, 1997, Austin, TX.

*Craig Wilcox, "Genetically Engineering Virtual Race Car Drivers," Pi Mu Epsilon Undergraduate Research Conference, St. Johns University, April 4-5, 1997.

*Colin Sweeney, "A Mathematical Model Using the Leaching Function to Predict Nitrate-Nitrogen Formation in Soils," Pi Mu Epsilon Undergraduate Research Conference, Collegeville, MN, March 29-30, 1996.

*Lisa Hollermann and *Keith Vertanen, "Sharing the Load--n-Processor Task Allocation," Pi Mu Epsilon Undergraduate Research Conference, Collegeville, MN, March 29-30, 1996.

*Stephanie Fonder, "Background and Target Discrimination on Images," Pi Mu Epsilon Undergraduate Research Conference, Collegeville, MN, April 7-8, 1995.

*Sarah Heymer, "Use of Genetic Algorithms in Software Pipelining," Proceedings of the 27th Annual Small College Computing Symposium, Winona, April 29-30, 1994.

*Joe Luhman, "Using Neural Networks to Classify Human Faces, " Pi Mu Epsilon Undergraduate Research Conference, Collegeville, MN, April 8-9, 1994.

*Matt Schumacher, "Enclosing Polygons with Minimum Rectangle, "Pi Mu Epsilon Undergraduate Research Conference, Collegeville, MN, March, 1993.

*Sarah Heymer, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," Pi Mu Epsilon Undergraduate Research Conference, Collegeville, MN, March 1993.

*Jeanne Gilbertson, "Guiding a Robot Down an Unknown Path," Pi Mu Epsilon Undergraduate Research Conference, Collegeville, MN, March, 1993.

Please list honors and awards that the students in your program earned within the past 5 (ore more) years.

1996-97

In 1997, 30% of the UMM Honors graduates (Lisa Hollermann, Dan Keller, Craig Wilcox) were from the Computer Science discipline as were 25% of the prestigious UMM Scholar of the College Awards (Lisa Hollermann, Kris Nelson, Keith Vertanen, Craig Wilcox).

Keith Vertanen received the Katherine Sullivan Study Abroad Award, an all-University award which allows him to study abroad for one year, all expenses paid. Keith went to Sweden.

McCree Award: Amy Gingrich

1995-96

NSF REU Research Award at University of Iowa: Craig Wilcox

McCree Award: Craig Wilcox

1994-95

NSF REU Research Award at University of California-Riverside: Stephanie Fonder

NSF REU Research Award at Rensselair Polytechnic Institute: Lisa Hollermann

McCree Award: Lisa Hollermann

National Physical Sciences Consortium Graduate Fellowship (worth $150,000): Jenny Walter

1993-94

NSF REU Research Award at University of Iowa: Brent Dahlen

NSF REU Research Award at University of California- Riverside: Stephanie Fonder

1992-93

National Physical Sciences Consortium Graduate Fellowships worth $150,000 each: Brenda Schoenecker and Eric Carter (only six given in computer science throughout the United States)

NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Utah State University: Sarah Heymer

Summer Research Program for the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute: Angela Snelson

NSF Summer Research Program, Institute for Visual Information Processing, University of Nebraska:

Joe Luhmann

McCree Award: Sarah Heymer

Please comment on the success of your graduates on professional and graduate program exams.

Those that apply for graduate schools have NO problem getting accepted. We do not keep track of all exam scores, but our students usually score in the 50-90% range in the subject area and between 60-99% in the general categories for the GRE.

 

 

Please list participation of your students in special programs such as study abroad, internships etc.

 

Study Abroad:

Jenny Reichart - Africa

Jeremy Lopez - Costa Rica

Keith Vertanen - Sweden and Australia

 

1997 Internships:

Amy Gingrich - Dartmouth College, NH (NSF summer research grant 1997)

Monique Knierim - IBM, Rochester (6 months, summer-fall 1997)

Deron Greenwaldt - American Financial Security, Inc., Morris (spring 1997)

Joe Cooley - College Pro Painting, St. Cloud (spring, summer 1997)

Joleen Wulf - ARS, Morris - with Steve Wagner (spring, summer 1997)

Kevin Johnson - Computech Technical Services, Virginia, MN (summer 1997)

Dominic Orella - MN Dept. of Children, Families and Learning, St. Paul, MN (summer 1997)

Nic Hopper - Anderson Consulting, Minneapolis (summer, 1997)

Brent Heeringa - Anderson Consulting, Mpls. (summer 1997)

Lisa Martin - City of Minneapolis (summer 1997)

Lora Martin - Berkeley Holding Systems, Luverne, MN (summer 1997)

Adrian Daley - IBM, Rochester (6 months, summer-fall 1997)

Ryan Benke - Anderson Consulting, Mpls. (summer 1997)

Barbara Baratto - MN Dept. of Children, Families and Learning, St. Paul (summer 1997)

 

1996 Internships:

Kris Nelson - IBM, Rochester

Lisa Hollermann - IBM, Rochester

Denise Mohn - Cray Research

Brad Fisher - Plus Delta Performance

Mike Tyrrell - West Publishing, Eagan

Amy Gingrich - Info Link, Morris

Joseph Allen - Education Division, UMM

 

1995 Internships:

Darla Kuras - IBM, Rochester

John Wagener - Info Link, Morris

Kris Nelson - IBM, Rochester

Bryan Symalla - Dairyland Computing, Glenwood

Joel Barten - Dairyland Computing, Glenwood

Youmeng Yang - Clear with Computers, Edina

 

1994 Internships:

Holly Miller - IBM, Rochester

Michael Herbst - Metaphase Technology, Mpls.

Tou Ziong - MN Dept. of Transportation, St. Paul

Nathan Ryan - USDA Ag Research Services, Morris

Craig Wilcox - USDA AG Research Services, Morris

Jason Cordes - USDA Ag Research Services, Morris

Scott Van Eps - Dairyland Computing, Glenwood

Brad Wosmek - Motorola Cellular, Liberty, Illinois

Sandy Marthaler - Cray Research, Eagen

 

 

1993 Internships:

Scott Perowitz - USDA Ag Research Services, Morris

Scott Van Eps - WCES, Morris

Shannon Ryks - Dairyland Computing, Glenwood

Chai Vue - Green Tree Financial Corp., St. Paul

Brian Symalla - West Publishing, St. Paul

Joel Carlson - Cray Research, Eagan

Sheri Fick - The Wyatt Company, Bloomington

Mark Hove - Pioneer Hybrid International, Johnston, Iowa

Please present some case studies that present other learning outcomes not reflected elsewhere.