Critique of Capstone

I find it very interesting that this is the topic for this weeks blog post considering I happened to have a zoom call with Professor Pfeil in which this topic came up (The meeting was for a different reason). It was insightful and while I don’t have great answers to the problems that I have had, I am glad to know that they are partially understood and I had a chance to at least inform him of pain points.

CS461, the first term of the capstone, is were most of my issues lay. It is extremely high paced for a class that is suppose to be the beginning of a long term project. This leads to either high amounts of stress, being behind, not understand project well enough or some combination there of. Part of this is that it is a WIC class, so it force feeds writing elements, in some cases to the detriment of the project. Speaking from experience, spending time writing reports for things instead of going through code, playing with the build left to us from the last group that worked on the project, was a detriment. We were so behind the 8-ball the entire first term leading into the second term. I would love to see them get rid of the WIC requirement. If not, you at least need to lessen the burden, use discussion posts for whatever to easy the “word count” issue.

As a list of small things I would love to see added/changed:
A tutorial of github pulls, commits, merges, etc.
Content with the previous team if there was one or a better resource to get us started.
A stricter guideline for teams with sponsors. Specifically how a dev team should interact with a client.
A closer checking in the first term from the professor/s/TAs

The idea is to create a project that you put your name on and use to get hired. I am sure for many groups that ends up being true. But for some others, that is not at all. I would like to see more options/help for struggling groups other than “It may affect your grade”.

Lastly there should be an orientation or lecture video at the end of each term about what to expect going into the next. A video explaining specifically what to expect with the EXPO, the timeline leading up to it and what is expected to have at the time of the submission point.

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