Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 15:29:02 -0500 (CDT)

From: Dian Lopez <>


Cc: Dian Lopez <>

Subject: assessment



Here is a copy of the assessment report gathered from the information sent to me and from our meetings. Please advise of any corrections, additions or deletions. The seminar results came from our evaluation of the JSTOR grant.







Computer Science Unit Assessment Report


Dian Lopez is responsible for the assessment report in the computer science discipline.


The goals of the computer science discipline are to:


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


b) Acquire appropriate communication skills for the field and


c) Develop a broader perspective of the computing field



Many of the skills in a) above are necessary in order to complete our Software Design course ( CS 3601). All students must pass this required course in order to graduate with a computer science major. Training in a) is also given in the three courses that are required before taking the Software Design course and in the core courses required for a major/


To accomplish b) above, students present seminars, give papers at regional conferences, and practice writing technical papers. Our Seminar courses, CS3902 and CS3903 help prepare students with their communication skills.


Results in 2001-2002: Twelve students gave conference presentations at the UMM Undergraduate Research Symposium, the Midwest Instructional Computing Symposium (MICS), the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), the Creating Partnerships, Creating Scholarship Conference, and the Classrooms of the Future Conference.


One of our students won the Best Student Paper Award at the MICS conference.


To accomplish c) above, approximately 50% of our students study abroad, complete internships, and/or do research, (MAP, MMP, NSF-sponsored, MAI, UROP or other grants).


Results in 2001-2002: Approximately ten internships, two Minority Mentorships(MMP),

four NSF-sponsored grants, two Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program(UROP), two Morris Academic Partnerchips(MAP), one Morris Administrative Assistant, one student working on a JSTOR grant, and one study abroad student. This is over 20 students which is about half of our juniors and seniors, therefore we are meeting our goal.



2. Assessment of your upper level seminar/capstone project or course:



How do you measure whether a student has achieved these goals?


Students and faculty formally evaluate both written and presented papers. We have designed a form to assess these results.


As a discipline, are you satisfied with your assessment of this course? If not, how might you improve it?


The assessment seemed to work well. Our discipline is taking steps next year to improve the computer science seminar courses. We found that second year students did well in CS3902 but were not ready to take CS3903. We now have split the two courses and have a prerequisite of CS2101 for 3902 and a prerequisite of a 3400+ course for the 3903 seminar course which includes the writing and presenting of a technical paper. Both courses will now be held for a full semester (one credit each) instead of the half semester used previously. The discipline expects much better results from these changes.


We also tried to use JSTOR and Portfolio software packages in the Seminar course. In our assessment, we found the JSTOR database helpful only for the CS3902 course because JSTOR contains information on ethics but it is an archive and not up-to-date, therefore not much help for our technical writing in CS3903. We found the students were not interested in using Portfolio as seniors since it has very little benefit for them after they graduate. It was decided that this software should be introduced at an earlier time in the student's education, if it is used at all.

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