Overview of the Class
Senior Design, or CS461, is a required course for every student to graduate with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science. The class is taken as part of a three-term sequence by every senior and is managed by a team of instructors.
Senior Design has over 250 students enrolled in it and has experienced approximately 20-30% growth every year for the last three years. It is expected to continue growing as more students enroll in the CS program, which is challenging considering it is a project-driven course. We, as facilitators of the course, are looking at future challenges such as how to integrate with both a section course offered online.
Hybrid Development and Course Improvements
Through hybrid course development, we plan to provide instructional videos on an as-needed basis for the sake of asynchronous learning. The course is a project-based class where students connect with a huge diversity of outside partners, timelines, and project deliverables. We plan to build interactive videos for students to master course content, such as technical writing and project management, at their own pace and depending on their outside partners’ milestones.
Additionally, we’d like to boost interaction among peers through active peer advisory pages. These pages will be more extensive than piazza or other similar platforms–they will help students self-select which other teams they will interact with for a series of design and other peer reviews. We hope these pages will increase the students’ resources for answering difficult technical questions, as well as help students develop networks of peers to provide assistance and information, leading to better project outcomes.
Finally, Scott (the other instructor for the course) is developing a number of innovations to Capstone, itself, associated with the hybrid development. These innovations include an online documentation system and project generator that students and project partners can query outside of the normal class meeting times. He is also developing an app so that projects can be viewed virtually.
This sounds super exciting! The challenges of engaging with so many students on so many different timescales seems vast. Can you tell us a bit about the technology options you’re developing to facilitate this course? It sounds exciting and innovative.
There are many elements in CS 461 that are quite interesting and relevant for my WSE 425 class as well, such as the need to provide instructional content on a as-need basis, and the intention of boosting peer advisory.
I am particularly interested to learn what platforms you will use to support peer tutoring and interaction with external project partners.