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  1. 1. Learning Assurance Report For the Master of Science in Applied Computer Science Department of Computer Science and Information Systems College of Science and Mathematics December 2004 Prepared by Ken Hoganson, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Learning Assurance Report For the Master of Science in Applied Computer Science December 2004, Ken Hoganson Brief Program Overview The Master of Science in Applied Computer Science (MSACS) at Kennesaw State University is housed in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems within the College of Science and Mathematics. The MSACS offered its first set of courses in Fall 2002, with its first graduates anticipated in Spring of 2004. We currently have 37 active graduate students in the program. The MSACS is a non-traditional, premium-priced program ($5000 per semester, $25,000 total), for experienced professionals. The MSACS prepares students for employment as software architects, embedded systems engineers, software engineers, client-server systems designers and programmers, and any other computing career requiring advanced knowledge of computer science. The Master of Science with major in Applied Computer Science for Experienced Professionals (MSACS) is a thirty-six hour graduate degree program with coursework in the following areas: • Embedded Systems • Computing Systems • Software Engineering Principles • Software Architecture • Parallel & Distributed Systems • Distributed Object Technology • Database Administration • A.I. and Robotics The MSACS is designed for the working professional in computing or information technology interested in obtaining a graduate degree in computer science, to be pursued concurrently with work commitments. Courses are offered in a resource-efficient cohort/learning- community allowing students to complete the program in 22 months (5 semesters including a summer semester). Distance learning technologies are integrated in instruction delivery.
  3. 3. The Fall-Cohort program is approachable for students with modest technical backgrounds, and does not require an undergraduate degree in computer science. Prerequisite foundations for admission include mathematics, physical science, computer programming, computer hardware, and elementary data structures. Work experience can selectively replace certain prerequisite knowledge foundations at the discretion of the program director with demonstration of student competency in the knowledge area. A set of self-study online courses is available to strengthen foundations of matriculating students. The target student audience includes both students concentrating on completing their Master’s degree, and students completing the degree concurrent with work commitments. Web-Based Instruction Delivery Instruction is delivered both on campus and at a distance, using web-based technologies, allowing students to attend lectures on campus, or remote and live from work or home. All lectures are also recorded allowing students to view the archived lecture at their convenience. Real-time interaction between the students and professor will be supported using Voice-over-IP and online "chat".
  4. 4. Overview of of assessment and continuous improvement in the MSACS program at Kennesaw State University. Formal and Informal Systems of Assessment and Continuous Improvement PROGRAM STRUCTURE The MSACS program is a premium-priced cohort-based program with integrated distance- learning, which utilizes a tiered curriculum design of four tiers. The first and lowest tier is the admission requirements and any strengthening courses required based on admissions evaluation (CS 800X level courses). The second tier consists of the first two semesters of coursework, intended to provide a solid and level foundation for all students regardless of their undergraduate major, combined with graduate study in selected areas which form the foundation for the MSACS curriculum. The third tier courses are the advanced courses in the specialized computer science knowledge areas that are the hallmark of the MSACS program over the final three semesters. The fourth tier is the six hours of applied studies experiences that students use both as a capstone experience, and to further develop their education in a specialized area of their choice. Applied Studies Capstone 6 hours (spread over multiple semesters) Semesters 3, 4, & 5: Advanced Specialized Coursework 18 hours Semesters 1 & 2: Foundation Leveling 12 hours Admission Requirements and Remediation 0-3 hours ASSESSEMENT AND CONTINUOUS IMPROMENT MECHANISMS IN PLACE CS faculty who teach in the advanced courses are able to monitor the readiness for specialized knowledge of our students, and provide feedback to the MSACS curriculum committee and the MSACS director. This occurs both formally and informally. Faculty discuss the evolution of their courses in our curriculum committee meetings, and provide feedback about the development of students from the foundational courses through our formal curriculum committee meetings. The relatively small group of CS faculty members who are teaching in the MSACS communicate extensively informally, and collaborate on numerous projects from service to teaching to
  5. 5. research. Through this informal communication process, faculty are able to brainstorm problems, compare notes, and share their evaluation of our level of programmatic goal completion. The MSACS program director takes advantage of the efficient cohort structure to guide discussions and facilitate forward progress. The MSACS matriculates a new cohort on a yearly basis, with most students entering the program in the Fall semester. This periodicity enables a periodic assessment and program improvement cycle. Over the summer semester, the program director guides discussions and brainstorming to address problems and ideas for improvement that arose over the course of normal activities during the previous academic year. MSACS students complete their degree requirements and graduate at the end of the Spring semester. The ideas and suggestions are considered in detail during the fall semester, resulting in a set of program proposals that enter into the university’s formal curriculum approval process during the fall, to be approved during the successive Spring semester, for implementation during for the new cohort to matriculate in the succeeding Fall semester. This smooth periodic process has resulted in substantive program enhancements that have addressed program quality, specialized knowledge depth, and program breadth. Appedices A and B include the overview documents for the MSACS program proposals for academic years 2004 and 2005. ASSESSEMENT AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT OF TIER 3 COURSES Faculty who teach the advanced courses have a high degree of freedom to modify their courses in response to knowledge-content changes in this quickly-evolving discipline, and in response to student feedback and teaching experience in enhancing instructional techniques. CS faculty members who teach advanced courses in the MSACS are teaching in their research and scholarship area of expertise, and are subject-matter experts with national recognition, and are highly qualified to lead the evolution of the courses in their area. The faculty leading the development of each course teach those courses repeatedly, for each cohort, and are able to enhance the quality and teaching through historical experience on a continuous basis.
  6. 6. OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENTS AND TOOLS THAT ARE CURRENTLY IN USE IN THE MSACS: 1. First semester new-student survey of program feature importance in attracting students into the program. 2. GRE score year-to-year comparison of admitted MSACS students 3. Tests and examinations assess completion of learning objectives in each course. 4. Student questionnaire on average work required per credit hour which assesses the level of challenge the program offers its students. The level of challenge that our courses represent for our students is a way to measure one aspect of quality graduate computer science courses and teaching. 5. The number of student papers accepted for publication or presentation in a peer-reviewed process at conferences or in journals. ASSESSING THE PROGRAM BY ASSESSING THE CAPSTONE EXPERINCE: (the six hours of applied studies) Most of the learning objectives of the program are assessed in the capstone experience. All previous coursework and previous study provide contextual background, and most, but not all, courses will provide direct knowledge foundations that contribute to the applied studies experiences. Depending on the student’s choice for how to direct these six hours will determine how much each previous course contributes to the project and is evaluated through evaluating the applied studies project. The general and specific MSACS learning objectives are described on the following pages. Planned future MSACS evolutions will create new GLOs in bio/med computing, game design, and international and global computing.
  7. 7. General (GLO) and Specific Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) of the MSACS Program The following student learning outcomes are derived from the educational objectives listed above for the Master of Science in Applied Computer Science program: K,S,A 1. General Learning Outcome. Fundamental concepts of computer science. (K) Specific SLOs: 1.1. Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the fundamental concepts of computer science through programming, analysis, design, and performance analysis. (K) 1.2. Students will be able to create and build data structures and build object-oriented systems. (K,S) 1.3. Students will analyze algorithms and their efficiency. (K) 1.4. Students will apply their understanding of object-oriented design through analysis, design, construction, and evaluation of software projects. (K,S) 1.5. Students will demonstrate their understanding of professional and ethical standards, and their implications for business practices, and software and system design issues where safety and security are concerned. (K,A) 2. General Learning Outcome. Software Engineering Principles and Practice. (K, S) Specific SLOs: 2.1. Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of modern software engineering. (K,S) 2.2. Students will apply their understanding of modern software engineering through analysis, design, construction, and evaluation of software projects. (K,S) 2.3. Students will demonstrate their understanding of software architecture. (K) 2.4. Students will evaluate application architectures and alternative design approaches. (K) 2.5. Students will apply application architecture principles through analysis, design, development and evaluation of software architecture projects. (K) 3. General Learning Outcome. Computer systems organization, architecture, and performance. (K, S) Specific SLOs: 3.1. Students will apply their understanding of computer hardware organization and architecture through performance evaluation and bottleneck analysis. (K) 3.2. Students will be able to solve problems in computer organization and architecture utilizing design principles and complex problem solving. (K, S)
  8. 8. 3.3. Students will demonstrate their understanding of parallel processing and high- performance computing through the theoretical and engineering laws and limitations that govern the performance of computing machines. (K, S) 3.4. Students will conduct and evaluation of parallel processing and high-performance computing through performance analysis of real and theoretical machines, and appraisal of the results and their implications. (K) 3.5. Students will analyze case studies in parallel processing and high-performance computing. (K) 4. General Learning Outcome. Embedded Systems Architecture, Organization, and Design. (K, S) Specific SLOs: 4.1. Students will be apply their understanding of embedded systems through constructing machine language programming on microcontrollers. (K, S) 4.2. Students will apply their understanding of embedded systems by applying the software development process to create embedded systems. (K, S) 4.3. Students will demonstrate their understanding of embedded systems real-time programming, and real-time design principles. (K, S) 5. General Learning Outcome. Advanced Computing Applications (K, S) Specific SLOs: 5.1. Students will demonstrate their understanding of database administration by completing class projects requiring analysis, design, construction, and evaluation of the final product. (K, S) 5.2. Students will understand the theoretical foundations of database systems. (K) 5.3. Students will apply their understanding of database administration and theory through the construction and evaluation of properly designed database systems (K,S) 5.4. Students will complete class projects and assignments requiring analysis, design, construction, and evaluation of distributed computing projects. 6. General Learning Outcome. Independent Applied or Theoretical Research. (K, S, A) Specific SLOs: 6.1. Students will do either an applied project or a theoretical research project in computer science under the direction of a faculty research director. (K, S, A) 6.2. Students will demonstrate and apply their ability to work independently through completing an applied project under the direction of a faculty research director. (S, A) 6.3. Students will write a research paper summarizing the methodology and results of their research project. (S, A)
  9. 9. Matrix of Specific Learning Outcomes Related to MSACS Courses Specific Learning 8940 Outcomes 843 842 842 841 851 862 863 843 853 862 863 865 Applied 0 1 2 1 2 5 0 1 2 8 5 0 Project 1.Universal Concepts of Computer Science 1.1 Software X X X X X X X X X 1.2 Data Struct X X X X X 1.3 Algorithms X X X X X * 1.4 OO Design X X X X X X X 1.5 Ethics X X * 2. Software Engineering and Software Architectures 2.1 SW Eng X X X X * 2.2 SW Proj X X * 2.3 SW arch X X X * 2.4 ArchDes X X X X X X X * 2.5Arch Anal X X * 3. Computer and Systems Organization, Architecture, Advanced Architectures 3.1 Architecture X X X X X * 3.2 Design & Eval X X * 3.3 Parallel Theory X * 3.4 Performance Eval X * 3.5 Case Study X * 4. Embedded Systems Architecture, Organization and Design, and Robotics 4.1 Machine Prog X X X * 4.2 Emb Design X X X * 4.3 Real-time X X * 5. Advanced Computing Applications 5.1 DB Proj X X * 5.2 DB Theory X * 5.3 DB Design X * 5.4 Dist Comp X X * 6. Computing Projects and Research 6.1 Project X 6.2 Independent Res X X X X X 6.3 Write Paper X X
  10. 10. MSACS Assessment Tools MSACS Evaluation and Assessment Tools Objective & Subjective & Tool Description Quantitative Qualitative Tests and In-class tests and examinations given and evaluated by the Ev-1 X Examinations instructor. A component of the student’s grade for the course. A year-to-year measure of the quality and level of preparation GRE average for Ev-2 X the cohort for graduate study of admitted students. A measure the effectiveness of attracting high-quality students to the program. New Student Survey A survey of new MSACS students at the end of their first Ev-3 X of Program semester of study. Provides a comparative evaluation of the Features importance of program features to newly recruited students. A classic measure of the rigor of academic courses: The Number of hours Ev-4 X spent on homework theoretical expectation is 2 hours of homework and outside work for one hour of lecture, though much lower in practice. Described above: a yearly cycle of program changes and Curriculum Ev-5 X Revision Cycle evolution. The effectiveness of this process is illustrated by the program changes considered and implemented. Each instructor is empowered to continuously improve their Instructor Course Ev-6 X Revisions courses by making changes to course content and teaching methods, within the bounds of the syllabus. Each instructor evaluates student performance and achievement Student work: through their programs and papers completed. But this is also a Ev-7 X programs and way to measure the effectiveness and quality of the instruction in papers the course, and in the prerequisite courses. Some student applied projects and research assistantships result # of reviewed Ev-8 X student publications in published and presented research: an external and reasonably objective measure of student learning. One MSACS objective important to many students is career enhancement through further specialized education. In Student reported Ev-9 X career advancement preparation for their graduation banquet, students are asked to report their progress in their careers, and how the MSACS has enhanced their prospects. MSACS ASSESSEMENT AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES Ev-1 Ev-2 Ev-3 Ev-4 Ev-5 Ev-6 Ev-7 Ev-8 Ev-9 Tests GRE New HW Curriculu Instructor Evaluation of # of Student Reported and Yr-to- Student hours m Revision Course student work: reviewed Career Feature to be Exams Yr Survey Cycle Revision programs & student Advancement Evaluated Papers publications PROGRAM ASSESSMENT MSACS X X X X X Curriculum Quality X X X X X Instruction Teaching X X X X X Effectiveness Continuous X X X Improvement Recruiting X X X X
  11. 11. quality students ASSURANCE OF LEARNING: APPLIED PROJECT (6 HOUR CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE) AP: Project X X X AP: Ind Res X X AP: writing X X Assurance of Learning and Assessment of the Six-hour Applied Project GLO 6: Applied Project or Theoretical Research. (K, S, A) SLO 1: Students will do either an applied project or a theoretical research project in computer science under the direction of a faculty research director. (K, S, A) Ev-7: Evaluation of student work through papers and programs. • A flexible and generic evaluation • Not an objective or quantitative evaluation mechanism, which is adaptable to different technique, but qualitative. types of projects, in different specialized • Difficult to gather an overall sense of knowledge areas. performance of the cohort – requires • Provides a qualitative measure of evaluation of the applied studies projects of comparative performance of each cohort, all students in the cohort. through comparison of the capstone experiences and accomplishments. • Provides a qualitative measure of the effectiveness of student learning achieved by the program as a whole. Ev-8: Number of reviewed and published (external to KSU) student papers and posters. • An external check on the quality of student • Not all projects are intended to result in research papers. publishable research, so this measure does • A quantitative measure of the success of not reflect the accomplishments of all student research. students. Ev-9: Student Reported Career Advancement • A qualitative measure of the both the overall • Not quantitative, but subjective and achievement of an MSACS program qualitative. performance measure, • Will vary due to external factors: number • AND one way to measure the success of of career-oriented students, student student projects for career-oriented students. opportunities, etc. SLO 2: Students will demonstrate and apply their ability to work independently through completing an applied project under the direction of a faculty research director. (S, A) Ev-7: Evaluation of student work through papers and programs. • A flexible and generic evaluation • Not an objective or quantitative evaluation mechanism, which is adaptable to different technique, but qualitative. types of projects, in different specialized • Difficult to gather an overall sense of knowledge areas. performance of the cohort – requires • Provides a qualitative measure of evaluation of the applied studies projects of comparative performance of each cohort, all students in the cohort. through comparison of the capstone
  12. 12. experiences and accomplishments. • Provides a qualitative measure of the effectiveness of student learning achieved by the program as a whole. Ev-8: Number of reviewed and published (external to KSU) student papers and posters. • An external check on the quality of student • Not all projects are intended to result in research papers. publishable research, so this measure does • A quantitative measure of the success of not reflect the accomplishments of all student research. students. SLO 3: Students will write a research paper summarizing the methodology and results of their research project. (S, A) Ev-7: Evaluation of student work through papers and programs. • A flexible and generic evaluation • Not an objective or quantitative evaluation mechanism, which is adaptable to different technique, but qualitative. types of projects, in different specialized • Difficult to gather an overall sense of knowledge areas. performance of the cohort – requires • Provides a qualitative measure of evaluation of the applied studies projects of comparative performance of each cohort, all students in the cohort. through comparison of the capstone experiences and accomplishments. • Provides a qualitative measure of the effectiveness of student learning achieved by the program as a whole. Ev-8: Number of reviewed and published (external to KSU) student papers and posters. • An external check on the quality of student • Not all projects are intended to result in research papers. publishable research, so this measure does • A quantitative measure of the success of not reflect the accomplishments of all student research. students.
  13. 13. 2004 FOLLOW-UP REPORT ON THE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT OF THE MASTER OF SCIENCE PROGRAM IN APPLIED COMPUTER SCIENCE FOLLOWING COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM REVIEW IN 2002-2003 Prepared by Ken Hoganson, Ph.D. Associate Professor MSACS Program Director College of Science and Math May, 2004
  14. 14. Note: this report contains three attachments: an overview of curriculum changes for Fall 2003, an overview of curriculum changes for Fall 2004, and an accepted journal article (Journal of Computing Science in Colleges) that discusses the strategic positioning of the MSACS program in response to the outsourcing/global-sourcing movements. I. Specific Plans and Priorities Adopted for Improving the Program's/Center's Quality Since the Self-Study and UPRC Evaluation Identify the specific plans and priorities adopted by the unit for improving the quality of the program/center over the past two years, linking those plans to the results of program review or other assessments. Even if quality was rated as very strong with little room for improvement, comment on how these exceptional strengths will be maintained. (Avoid responses that suggest you have no plans for improving or maintaining high quality.) The MSACS program is relatively new, anticipating the matriculation of its third cohort of students in Fall 2004. In spite of its youth, the program has undergone two significant curricular revisions in the past two years, in response to the changing computing technology and marketplace positioning of the degree. The MSACS program has shown modest year-to-year growth in a difficult technology environment. Computer Science enrollments are off nationwide, due in part to the tech downturn, and due in part to the well-publicized movement of tech jobs overseas in a global economy with instantaneous communications. Computer Science program coordinators and curriculum committee’s are in a quandary: the organization and content of a science education should not be dependent upon the whims of the marketplace. Yet this new technology environment contains forces beyond the control of governments, let alone curriculum committees, and marketplace effects are playing out in academic environments in terms of enrollment and faculty positions. Current research from the Information Systems discipline analyzed the “global sourcing” movement, and concluded that IT-related business enterprise functions differ markedly in the ease and success in which they can be outsourced. Functions and knowledge areas that are of strategic importance to the enterprise and those that are critical to a firm’s competitive advantage, are less likely to be successfully out-sourced. Unfortunately, the traditional entry- level career step for computer science graduates in basic programming has been identified as relatively easy to move offshore with great success. By examining computer science knowledge areas in light of these observations, a strategy to position computer science curriculum to counter the outsourcing movement is revealed: CS programs can emphasize higher-level knowledge areas that tend to be both critical and strategic to a business enterprise, in order to make the curriculum more attractive to, and of more value to career-minded students aware of the global employment competition they face. The MSACS program has been positioned to counter this trend by emphasizing two meta- knowledge areas that have been identified as strategic and critical to employers, and hence, more difficult to outsource successfully, thus representing employment opportunities for our graduates. The two strategic meta-knowledge areas that the MSACS program emphasizes are:
  15. 15. • Software Architecture • Embedded Architecture Both of these areas are at present and perhaps temporarily, more insulated from the job loses due to off-shoring. These knowledge areas are also those which are predicted by the U.S. Government Bureau of Labor and Statistics to experience substantial employment growth in the immediate future. The two areas of concentration are Embedded Architecture, and Software Architecture both of which stand on the shared foundation of coursework in computing systems, embedded systems, and software engineering. Software architecture plays to our program’s strategic strength in software engineering, while the Robotics course is a capstone to our relatively unique concentration in embedded systems. Both knowledge-areas are viewed as high-demand areas and high-growth areas where technology (and jobs) is likely to evolve and increase. Both areas are regarded as likely to remain insulated from the “off-shore” movement of technology jobs phenomena due to their strategic criticality. Effective Fall 2004, MSACS students will be able to choose to concentrate in either area, or remain general applied CS. These concentrations are achieved by the choice of one of two elective courses, the choice of the professional conference attendance, and by optionally directing an applied project into one area of the other. Thus, up to nine hours of study may be optionally directed by the student into one of two specific areas of concentration, or may be completed as general degree requirements without a concentration. Students who choose to concentrate on embedded systems will attend the Embedded Systems Conference and take CS8650 Introduction to AI and Robotics, and may choose to complete the UNIX certification or complete a research project. Students who choose to concentrate in Software Architecture will attend the Joint International Conference and take CS8625 Software Architecture, and may choose to complete the ORACLE certification or complete a research project. Embedded Architecture Concentration Software Architecture Concentration CS 8650 Introduction to AI and Robotics CS 8628 Software Architecture Embedded Systems Conference Joint International Conference Embedded Project Software Architecture Project Building on required coursework in: Building on required coursework in: Computing Systems Sequence (6 hours) Software Engineering Sequence (9 hours) Embedded Systems Sequence (6 hours) Database Administration (3 hours) Software Engineering Sequence (9 hours) Distributed Technology (3 hours) In addition to the concentrations in the two strategic knowledge areas, a new course in Database Administration was created and required for our Fall 2003 students, to gain an entry point into that highly-compensated and in-demand computing specialty. And, the cohort courses were restructured to allow a formal Spring Admission into the current cohort, to make a stronger appeal to students already holding and undergraduate degree in a computing discipline. The curriculum evolution initiatives were undertaken after first following a curriculum continuous improvement cycle spanning a year, consisting of the following broad phases:
  16. 16. 1. Monitoring of economic conditions, changing technology environment, and the employment marketplace in technology. (continuous) 2. Discussion with faculty and administrators about how to target the MSACS program, consistent with our resources, faculty expertise, and the nature of our program. (fall) 3. Current student surveys are conducted to measure student interest and perceptions of possible program changes. (fall) 4. Tentative curriculum evolution plans are drawn up, and shared with faculty and administrators (fall-spring) 5. The CSIS Industry Advisory Board is asked to review and comment on the plans (fall). 6. The curriculum change plan that results from steps 1-5 is codified in curriculum documents for the GPCC and approval chain. 7. Curriculum changes are approved, and enter the graduate catalog. 8. The MSACS director has an active curriculum/pedagogy research stream, that allows concepts at the core of the curriculum changes to be described, presented, and disseminated in scholarly publications and conference presentations, for further feedback and idea generation, and to share ideas that may have value to other institutions and programs in the discipline.
  17. 17. 9. II. Evidence of Improvements Achieved to Date for Quality Enhancement of the Program/Center Of the plans and priorities cited in Section I, describe the improvements in program/center quality actually achieved to date and present supporting documentation of those achievements either here or in the Appendix (Section VIII). If substantial progress has been made on completing a particular action plan for quality improvement and full achievement will occur soon, report those developments here also. Otherwise, comments about any action plans which are largely unfinished or are scheduled for implementation in the future should be reported in Section VI. The MSACS curriculum evolution to support the initiatives described in Section I, have been carried out and approved through the graduate curriculum approval process, to be effective Fall 2004. The MSACS has experience modest enrollment growth from the first year to the second, and early projections based on student admissions, indicate a possible 10% increase in enrollment for Fall 2004. This is occurring during a period of nationwide contraction in enrollment in computing technologies (CS and IS) of 23% in new freshman enrollments according to the annual Taulbee Survey conducted by the Computing Research Association. The modest growth in program enrollment during a period of national contraction may be attributed in part, to the curriculum design and content focus. Student surveys indicate that the number one “draw” is our innovative curriculum, the number two aspect is the distance learning, and the number three selling point is the credentials and substantial scholarship of our outstanding computer science faculty. The utility of the new formal Spring Admission into the cohort will be evident after the Spring 2005 admission period. Documentation of the MSACS curriculum evolution is available from the Graduate Policy and Curriculum Committee (GPCC) web site, and through inspection of the graduate catalog. The appendixes to this document describe the program changes that were implement in each of the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 academic years.
  18. 18. III. Specific Plans and Priorities Adopted for Improving the Program's/Center's Productivity Since the Self-Study and UPRC Evaluation Follow the guidance given in Section I as it would pertain to adopted plans and priorities for enhancing the productivity of the program/center. The plans detailed in Section I have been adopted, through two cycles of the continuous improvement process for the MSACS program. In summary: February 2004 Program Changes: • The creation of one new course specifically needed to strengthen the programming foundation in computer science (CS 8430) for Fall admission students only, allowing us to remove that content from courses that will be shared with both the Fall and Spring admission students, with a renumbering of one of the existing courses. • A re-arrangement of the courses in the schedule, so that Spring admission students will not take any foundation-building courses, in order to better accommodate and attract students for a Spring admission. This will improve our competitive standing against other master’s-level CS programs, and enhance our ability to recruit. • Combined with rearranging the scheduling of non-traditional applied study courses, this makes Spring admission much more attractive to students, and simultaneously easier to manage. • The creation of one new course: CS 8650 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. • One renamed course: CS 8628 Client/Server Architecture becomes Software Architecture to better reflect the changing knowledge area. February 2003 Program Changes: Creation of a new course CS8630 Database Administration. This new course will become the prerequisite for a current course, CS 8628 Client/Server Systems, which can then be moved back a semester. A third course, CS8625 High Performance Computing Systems can then have a slightly simplified prerequisites courses that includes the CS8628 Client/Server Systems. The two courses with revised prerequisites are not changing in content or goals, but can be taught at a slightly higher level with stronger prerequisites. The new database course replaces the CS8940 Directed Study: Embedded Systems Conference premium, plus each student will now receive a laptop computer with appropriate SW. These changes have been surveyed to be very popular with both current and prospective students. Three specific program changes: 1. New course proposal for CS 8630 Database Administration 2. Prerequisite change for CS 8628 Client/Server Systems 3. Prerequisite change for CS 8625 High Performance Computing
  19. 19. IV. Evidence of Improvements Achieved to Date for Productivity Enhancement of the Program Follow the guidance given in Section II as it would pertain to improvements achieved in the productivity of the program/center. The MSACS program enrollment has demonstrated modest program growth during a period of substantial decline in computing program enrollments nationally. Selling and marketing a new premium-priced program with a nationally unique format, first offered during a period of economic contraction has been challenging. The fact that the program has not just survived, but has thrived is a testament to the program curriculum vision, the continuous improvement process for the MSACS program, and the leadership of the program director. Surveys of student satisfaction, and anecdotal evidence indicate a very high level of satisfaction and acceptance of this unique program model for computer science by our students.
  20. 20. V. Current Status of the Program's/Center's Viability Report the current status of the program's/center's overall viability and comment on any improvements or changes in the program's viability since the self-study and UPRC evaluation. The MSACS program remains successful and viable. Though designed and intended to support a modest level of graduate student enrollment in a premium-priced distance-enable computer science program, the program contributes more to the department and university than just student numbers. The premium tuition has supported (through the graces of the department chair) some faculty travel for conference presentations, some research equipment, and a substantial number of graduate assistants and research assistants. A non-curricular initiative by the program director has leveraged our successful implementation of web-based distance-learning technology, to expand the reach of the program to locals in Georgia that are not within commuting distance of a major campus with a graduate program in computer science. In addition, we have entered into a collaboration with faculty at North Georgia College and State University to allow qualified faculty at that institution to contribute to the MSACS program and in return, to recruit and mentor area graduate students working through assistantships. Though a new initiative, effective Fall 2004, plans are in place to extend the reach of the program by partnering with faculty at Augusta State University, and perhaps one additional institution during academic year 2004-2005. The effectiveness and return on investment of this concept will be closely monitored, as well as to ensure that academic standards continue to be raised.
  21. 21. VI. Specific Plans and Priorities for Continuing Program Improvement in the Future Comment on the status of the unit's plans and priorities for continuing improvement of the program/center. 1. Optional concentrations in two strategic knowledge-areas less susceptible to outsourcing have been approved, and will be effective for the Fall 2004 cohort. The effectiveness of this initiative will be monitored during the upcoming academic year. 2. The collaboration with North Georgia College and State University will be effective Fall 2004, and will be monitored and evaluated. 3. A planned collaboration with faculty at Augusta State University will be pursued during Fall 2004, perhaps to become effective Spring 2005. 4. Possible collaboration with a third institution is being considered. VII. Timetable for and Progress Made Toward Removing the Program from the Regents' Triggered List of Programs with Exceptionally Low Productivity (If Applicable) Not Applicable VIII. Appendix of Supporting Documentation Three appendices are attached, discussing the curriculum evolution and responses to the changing computing technology employment environment.
  22. 22. APPENDIX A MSACS CURRICULUM REVISION for FALL 2005 Program Enhancement and Recruiting with two New Knowledge Areas BIO-MED Computing & Game Theory and Design 10/10/04 The proposed changes to the Master of Science in Applied Computer Science premium-priced cohort program for experienced professionals come from two sources: 1. The changing computing technology and opportunities to broaden our MSACS program to include coverage of additional applied computing knowledge areas, this enhancing our recruiting efforts and program attractiveness. 2. Minor changes to enhance the foundation of entering students. The new and optional knowledge areas to be included are the most interesting aspects of this proposal. They are intended to increase interest and enrollment by better servicing a wider audience of students including those who seek advanced knowledge and unique technical specializations in interesting new applied specializations within computer science: NEW BIO-MED Computing Knowledge Area With the creation of two new elective courses, combined with one existing course, and the six hours of Applied Studies, a student may choose to direct their studies with 15 hours of their 36 hour degree program into synergistic interface area between biotechnology, automated bio- medical devices and applied computer science. The two new courses are CS 8570 BIO-MED Devices CS 8670 BIO-Informatics The Bio-Informatics course requires our existing database course as a prerequisite, while the BIO-MED Devices course requires the embedded systems sequence as a prerequisite. The biotechnology fields are expected to be the fastest high-tech growth industry in Georgia in the next decade, and is supported by funding from Georgia through ….. much more background. NEW GAME THEORY AND DESIGN Knowledge Area With the creation of one new elective course (already offered as a special topics) that connects with two existing courses, and when combined with the six hours of Applied Studies, results in a concentration of 15 graduate hours. So a student may choose to emphasize game theory and game design and supporting knowledge areas with 15 of the 36 graduate hours. It is interesting to note, that modern computer games and movies utilize CGI (Computer Generated Graphics) generated on highly-parallel machines, and games incorporate Artificial Intelligence algorithms. We currently offer courses in these two knowledge areas which neatly combine with a new course in Game Theory and Design to form an informal concentration.
  23. 23. The game design industry alone is a larger slice of the economy than the entire motion picture industry, and is one of the fastest-growing areas within computer science. Other programs and institutions are investigating game design as a legitimate computer science specialized area and one that enhances recruiting. Game design is highly technical and mathematical, requiring an understanding of mathematical routines for CGI (Computer Generated Graphics), parallel algorithms, high-performance computing, and artificial intelligence. These two additional knowledge areas will join the current three areas of expertise as informal concentrations: • Software Engineering and Software Architecture • Embedded Systems and Robotics • Distributed Computing With the judicious choice of just three new elective courses which already synergistically combine with currently required courses, and the flexibility of our six hours of applied studies, we can add these two new and dynamic knowledge areas as strengths of our program. Only three new courses are required, which will be realized in the program as elective choices to current courses, without requiring a modification to the program structure. These two new knowledge areas were specifically chosen for their dynamic growth, student interest, and opportunities, and because they build from our current common foundation of coursework. These knowledge areas build on our programs shared existing foundations and knowledge area strengths, in order to add these attractive new features with minimal additional course offerings. INTERNATIONALIZATION AND PROGRAM BREADTH INITIATIVE This component focuses on broadening our student's education, and joining the universities’ movement toward internationalizing our degree programs. Internationalization and the relationship of computing to the business and the global economy are broader areas that can benefit our students both academically and in their understanding of computing to broader society. By creating two new one-hour courses, the stage is set for an eight-hour international program option, formed by combining the six hours of applied studies with the two new courses. This creates the basis for a study-abroad program or other synergistic initiatives. The two new 1- hour courses that will be created will fill and replace an existing course-slot that is now designated as a two-hour Special Topics. • Strategic Computing: covering the relationship to computing and the business enterprise as a critical resource and competitive advantage. • Computing in the Global Economy: discussing the relationship between the international and global economy, computer science, and the computing industry to include a discussion of outsourcing and off-shoring and the latest surveys and statistics from the Computing Research Association. OTHER MINOR CURRICULUM “TWEAKING”: 1. Add a 1-hour introduction to computer science course:
  24. 24. CS 6000 Concepts in Computer Science Which will be offered as an intensive course offered prior to the start of the regular fall MSACS courses, for students entering the program without degrees in computer science. This new course is a result of our program evaluation and continuous improvement efforts. This course combines with a new course added last year - CS 8430 OO Analysis and Design, as part of our initiative to better “ramp-up” our new students entering the program without degrees in computer science. 2. Renumber or delete the other CS800X courses to the 6000 level for consistency and to correctly illustrate that these courses are taught at a “lower” level than our standard 8000 level courses. These courses are used to strengthen the computing knowledge foundation of entering students in specific areas, and are required through the evaluation process for admission to the program. We are looking ahead long-range into the future and realize that we must eventually move some of our courses down in order to make room for a possible doctorate somewhere off in the future. 3. A detail issue: create a CS8941 Applied Studies Planning one-hour course (leaving five more hours of CS8940) for a special designation of one hour of the current six-hours of CS8940. This new one-hour course would be offered in the student’s first spring semester where our students already take one hour of CS 8940. This is intended to show clearly to our students, that that one hour in the first spring semester is for planning, writing a program-of- study, and obtaining approval of the student’s Program of Study & Applied Project Plan. SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES to the MSACS: BIO-MED and BIO-INFORMATICS Concentration 1. New course CS 8570 BIO-MED Devices 2. New course CS 8670 BIO-Informatics Game Theory and Design Concentration 3. New course CS 8680 Game Theory and Design Program Breadth and Internationalization (replacing a current special topics slot) 4. New 1-hour course CS 6810 Strategic Computing 5. New 1-hour course CS 6820 Computing in the Global Economy Minor Continuous Improvement Changes 6. New 1-hour course CS 6000 Concepts in Computer Science 7. Rename CS 8940 Directed Study as CS 8940 Directed Studies Planning 8. Create a new course CS 8941 (variable hours) Directed Studies 9. Renumber 1-hour foundation course CS 8001 Computing Hardware as CS 6001 10. Renumber 1-hour CS 8003 Elementary Data Structures as CS 6003 11. Delete 1-hour CS 8002 Computer Networking
  25. 25. MSACE PROGRAM PLANNING DETAILS Result: Five Informal ‘Concentrations’ 1. BIO-MED concentration (NEW concentration – two new courses) 2. Game Theory and Design (NEW concentration – courses have been offered) 3. Software Engineering and Architecture 4. Embedded Systems and Architecture 5. Distributed Computing (Spring start only, with BS CS or closely related field) Plus: General Applied or Theoretical Computer Science (no concentration). Plus: Non-project option: substitute courses from two or more concentrations in place of the 6 applied studies hours. Teaching Load Impact: Requires three new courses over the five-semester program as elective choices, which are also needed to engage new CS graduate faculty in the MSACS program, and to take advantage of their expertise in new knowledge areas. All ‘Concentrations’ require the following common courses (27 hours): CS 8421 Computing Systems CS 8430 OO Analysis & Design CS 8422 Advanced Comp. Sys. CS 8411 Embedded Systems CS 8512 Adv. Embedded Sys CS 8431 Software Engineering CS 8532 Advanced SW Eng., CS 8940 (1) Directed Studies Planning CS 8941 (5) Directed Studies Scheduling of Elective ‘Concentration’ Courses: The cohort efficiency remains strong, with very limited elective choices, retaining a strong common cohort structure with 27 common hours. Fall 2005: No electives Spring 2006: No electives Summer 2006: Two Electives: CS 8570 Bio-Med Devices or CS 8625 High-Performance Computing Fall 2006: Two Electives: CS 8630 Database or CS 8655 Game Theory and Design Spring 2007: Three Electives: CS 8670 BioInformatics, CS8650 Intro AI& Robotics, CS8628 SW Architecture
  26. 26. MSACS Informal Concentrations – Fall Start (also available for Spring Start) Game Theory & Design Embedded Systems & Software Engineering & BIOMED Architecture Architecture Fall 2005 6 Hours CS 8421 Computing Systems CS 8421 Computing Systems CS 8421 Computing Systems CS 8421 Computing Systems CS 8430 OO Analysis & Design CS 8430 OO Analysis & Design CS 8430 OO Analysis & Design CS 8430 OO Analysis & Design Elective: CS 6000 Concepts in C.S. (Foundation courses required based on admissions evaluation.) CS 6001 Computer Hardware CS 6003 Elementary Data Structures CS 8990 Special Topics (3 hours) (Elective for those needing full-time load of 9 hours.) Spring 2006 7 Hours CS 8422 Advanced Comp. Sys. CS 8422 Advanced Comp. Sys. CS 8422 Advanced Comp. Sys. CS 8422 Advanced Comp. Sys. CS 8411 Embedded Systems CS 8411 Embedded Systems CS 8411 Embedded Systems CS 8411 Embedded Systems CS 8940 (1) Dir. Studies Planning CS 8940 (1) Dir. Studies Planning CS 8940 (1) Dir. Studies Planning CS 8940 (1) Dir. Studies Planning Elective: CS 6810 Strategic Computing CS 6820 Computing in the Global Economy (Replaces 8990 Special Topcis for Spring Admit Students, and to make full-time load.) Elective: CS 8941 Directed Studies (for 1 hour) (Elective additional hour of directed studies in order to substitute with above for CS 8422) Summer 2006 7 Hours CS 8512 Adv. Embedded Sys. CS 8512 Adv. Embedded Sys. CS 8512 Adv. Embedded Sys. CS 8512 Adv. Embedded Sys. CS 8940 (1) Applied Project CS 8940 (1) Applied Project CS 8940 (1) Applied Project CS 8940 (1) Applied Project CS 8570 BIO-MED Devices CS 8625 High Perform Comp. CS 8570 BIO-MED Devices CS 8625 High Perform Comp. Fall 2006 8 Hours CS 8431 Software Engineering CS 8431 Software Engineering CS 8431 Software Engineering CS 8431 Software Engineering CS 8940 (2) Applied Project CS 8940 (2) Applied Project CS 8940 (2) Applied Project CS 8940 (2) Applied Project CS 8630 Database Admin. CS 8655 Game Theory & Design Electives: choose one(3 hours) Electives: choose one(3 hours) CS 8630 Database Admin. CS 8630 Database Admin. CS 8655 Game Theory & Design CS 8655 Game Theory & Design Elective: CS 8940 Applied Project (1 hour) (Elective additional hour of Applied Project for those needing full-time load of 9 hours.) Spring 2007 8 Hours CS 8532 Advanced SW Eng. CS 8532 Advanced SW Eng. CS 8532 Advanced SW Eng. CS 8532 Advanced SW Eng. CS 8940 (2) Applied Project CS 8940 (2) Applied Project CS 8940 (2) Applied Project CS 8940 (2) Applied Project CS 8670 BIO-Informatics CS 8650 Intro A.I. & Robotics CS 8650 Intro A.I. & Robotics CS 8628 Software Architecture Elective: CS 8940 Applied Project (1 hour) (Elective additional hour of Applied Project for those needing full-time load of 9 hours.) Graduation Spring 2006 M.S. in Applied C.S. M.S. in Applied C.S. M.S. in Applied C.S. M.S. in Applied C.S. Professional Certification Professional Certification Professional Certification Professional Certification 36 or more Graduate CS Hours 36 or more Graduate CS Hours 36 or more Graduate CS Hours 36 or more Graduate CS Hours Note that in both schedules, Note that in both schedules, Note that in both schedules, Note that in both schedules, 6 hours of CS8940 & CS8941 are 6 hours of CS8940 & CS8941 are 6 hours of CS8940 & CS8941 are 6 hours of CS8940 & CS8941 are spread over multiple semesters. spread over multiple semesters. spread over multiple semesters. spread over multiple semesters.
  27. 27. Appendix A: Overview of Changes to the Master of Science in Applied Computer Science (MSACS) Program February 2004 The program changes originate with three key ideas: 1. We are finding that there is substantial interest from students interested in joining the program in Spring, rather than Fall. We are building a formal Spring admission mechanism with different admission requirements from the current Fall admission. 2. The “Global Sourcing” trend (movement of jobs overseas) may begin to affect our graduate’s career prospects. This proposal includes changes designed to avert those potential negatives, by focusing and packaging our coursework and study around technology knowledge areas that are of strategic importance to employers, and hence, less mobile and less amenable to outsourcing. 3. Our lecture series (1 hour each of three semesters) has become problematic in application, and is not rated highly by our students. The 3 hours of seminar are being replaced by traditional coursework. This proposal includes: • This proposal includes one new course specifically needed to strengthen the programming foundation in computer science (CS 8430) for Fall admission students only, allowing us to remove that content from courses that will be shared with both the Fall and Spring admission students, with a renumbering of one of the existing courses. • The proposal includes a re-arrangement of the courses in the schedule, so that Spring admission students will not take any foundation-building courses, in order to better accommodate and attract students for a Spring admission. This will improve our competitive standing against other master’s-level CS programs, and enhance our ability to recruit. • Combined with rearranging the scheduling of non-traditional applied study courses, this proposal makes Spring admission much more attractive to students, and simultaneously easier to manage. • The proposal includes the creation of one new course: CS 8650 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. • This proposal includes one renamed course: CS 8628 Client/Server Architecture becomes Software Architecture. • This proposal does NOT create formal program concentrations or tracks, but allows students to electively orient their applied studies hours in either or non of these two areas. The informal concentrations are a marketing/packaging concept to highlight what our program is already strong in.
  28. 28. Appendix B: MSACS Curriculum changes, Spring 2003, Overview Objective: Redirect 3 hours of study in embedded systems (of 12 hours) to the study of database, in response to changing economic conditions, student requests, and to improve the MSACS premium-program cash-flow. Overview: This initiative includes one new course proposal in database administration, prerequisite modifications to two existing courses, and modifications to the MSACS curriculum to incorporate the new course, and changes to program premiums. Summary of Proposed Changes: Creation of a new course CS8630 Database Administration. This new course will become the prerequisite for a current course, CS 8628 Client/Server Systems, which can then be moved back a semester. A third course, CS8625 High Performance Computing Systems can then have a slightly simplified prerequisites courses that includes the CS8628 Client/Server Systems. The two courses with revised prerequisites are not changing in content or goals, but can be taught at a slightly higher level with stronger prerequisites. The new database course replaces the CS8940 Directed Study: Embedded Systems Conference premium, plus each student will now receive a laptop computer with appropriate SW. These changes have been surveyed to be very popular with both current and prospective students. This proposal package includes 4. New course proposal for CS 8630 Database Administration 5. Prerequisite change for CS 8628 Client/Server Systems 6. Prerequisite change for CS 8625 High Performance Computing 7. MSACS program change to include the new course and changed prerequisites. Also includes changed description for the Graduate Catalog (online version, passed deadline for printed version) Rational: The current premium-priced MSACS curriculum is heavily weighted toward knowledge areas that are within the Yamacraw umbrella. Yamacraw is Georgia’s high-tech economic and job development initiative introduced by Governor Barnes. The “dot-com” recession has heavily impacted jobs in this specific niche, reducing demand for specialization in embedded systems and other areas. The economic slowdown has squeezed state budgets, including Yamacraw funding, which is unlikely to increase under a new governor. In keeping with the applied computer science nature of this program, this initiative will redirect 3 hours of curriculum emphasis from embedded systems toward the study of database systems, thereby enhancing the relevancy of the MSACS program and its attractiveness to prospective students. One of the most frequently asked questions by prospective students is “Where is your database course?” Database administration is a “standard” course generally offered in master’s level CS programs. Because of the tightly directed nature of this novel premium-priced CS program, the curriculum departs significantly from a “typical” CS program (though there is no officially
  29. 29. recognized standard model), and does not include many CS topics, including database. This proposal includes replacing the expensive trip to the embedded systems conference with a course on database administration plus a laptop computer. Recent tech position opening surveys have highlighted the continuing high demand for database administrators (with high salaries), in spite of the downturn that has affected other tech specialties much more severely. A survey of our current MSACS students showed a strong preference for the database course over the embedded systems conference by about 4:1, and these are students recruited into the program with the embedded systems conference included. A survey of a more general audience can be expected to show an even greater preference for the database course. Another survey of our current students ranked this premium program feature 6th out of 10 program features. This is one of the most expensive program features, but has only modest appeal for many of our students. The current embedded systems conference is an expensive premium, estimated to cost around $3000 per student, which is subject to change as airline travel and hotel fees fluctuate. To return substantial monetary replacement value to the students in place of the conference, the MSACS program will now provide a new laptop with database and distance learning software to each new student, at a cost estimate of around $1300 per student, for a savings of approximately $1700 per student, or $42,500 for a 25-student cohort. For those students who still would prefer the embedded systems conference, the CS8990 Special Topics course can accommodate that experience through a student-designed and faculty- sponsored project that includes attendance at the Embedded Systems Conference. In addition, KSU-CSIS department has been contacted by an Atlanta firm that may be willing to sponsor the new database course. Impact on Current MSACS students: Current students do not have a database course in their curriculum, and are required to attend the Embedded Systems Conference. Thought has been given to providing additional options for our current students. • To accommodate current student interest in database, students may elect to work on ORACLE certification as part of their CS 8990 Special Topics, in place of the UNIX certification. • Students who would prefer a laptop computer in place of the Embedded Systems Conference and research paper as CS 8940 Directed Study, may choose a laptop computer in place of the conference, and the topic of the required research project can be in areas other than embedded systems. Applied Studies 9 Hours Current Program (Fall 2002 Cohort) New Program (Fall 2003 Cohort) CS8910 Professional Seminar (3 hours) CS8910 Professional Seminar (3 hours) CS8990 Special Topics (3 hours): CS8990 Special Topics (3 hours):
  30. 30. • UNIX Certification or • UNIX Certification or • ORACLE certification • ORACLE certification or • Embedded Systems Conference & small research paper CS8940 Directed Study (3 hours): CS8930 (3 hours) Database Administration • Embedded Sys Conference & small research paper or • laptop computer and larger research paper. Laptop computer
  31. 31. MS-ACS/EP Prerequisite and Program Structure CS 8635 (3) CS 8625 (3) Distributed High- Sem 5 Object Performance Technology Computing CS 8532 (3) CS 8628 (3) Software N-Tier Client Sem 4 Engineering Server Architectures CS 8630 (3) CS 8512 (3) Database Advanced Sem 3 Admin Embedded Systems CS 8431 (3) CS 8422 (3) Object- CAI/CLEP Courses Advanced Oriented SW Computer Design CS 8003 (1) Systems Data Struct Sem 2 CS 8002 (1) Networking CS 8421 (3) CS 8431 (3) CS8001 (1) Computer Assembly & Sem 1 Hardware Systems Embedded Systems Admission CS-2 Programming Principles II Undergraduate Courses & Work Experience CS-1 Applied Probability Basic Programming Calculus Electronics Principles I
  32. 32. APPENDIX C: COMPUTER SCIENCE CURRICULA IN A GLOBAL COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT, The Journal of Computing Sciences in Kenneth Hoganson, Ph.D., Kennesaw State University, 1000 Chastain Road, Kennesaw, Georgia Department of Computer Science and Information Systems 770-499-3402 khoganso@kennesaw.edu ABSTRACT Computer Science enrollments are off nationwide, due in part to the tech downturn, and due in part to the well-publicized movement of tech jobs overseas in a global economy with instantaneous communications. Computer Science program coordinators and curriculum committee’s are in a quandary: the organization and content of a science education should not be dependent upon the whims of the marketplace. Yet this new technology environment contains forces beyond the control of governments, let alone curriculum committees, and marketplace effects are playing out in academic environments in terms of enrollment and faculty positions. Current research from the Information Systems discipline analyzed the “global sourcing” movement, and concluded that IT-related business enterprise functions differ markedly in the ease and success in which they can be outsourced. Functions and knowledge areas that are of strategic importance to the enterprise and those that are critical to a firm’s competitive advantage, are less likely to be successfully out-sourced. Unfortunately, the traditional entry- level career step for computer science graduates in basic programming has been identified as relatively easy to move offshore with great success. By examining computer science knowledge areas in light of these observations, a strategy to position computer science curriculum to counter the outsourcing movement is revealed: CS programs can emphasize higher-level knowledge areas that tend to be both critical and strategic to a business enterprise, in order to make the curriculum more attractive to, and of more value to career-minded students aware of the global employment competition they face. Based on the opportunities and strategy developed in this paper, a graduate CS curriculum has already been implemented at Kennesaw State University, and a revised undergraduate CS program is being developed that implements this concept while retaining compliance with ABET accreditation guidelines and criteria. 1. INTRODUCTION The outsourcing of jobs, and particularly technology jobs, has been in the news a great deal lately, in both print and digital media. The basic premise is that many jobs can be done less expensively outside of a company, and in many cases overseas (global sourcing). In particular, programming tasks have been estimated to be from 1/5th to 1/10th the cost to complete with labor overseas. The offshore movement of technology jobs is following a pattern established in the 1960s, which hit our steel, automotive, and heavy manufacturing industries, expanded to include textiles and light manufacturing, and electronics and computer manufacturing. “White-collar” jobs like programming were once speculated to be immune from this trend, but no longer. Just as the cost to ship raw materials and finished product around the globe dropped dramatically in the last century, the Internet, conference calling, webinars, and Internet meeting tools have reduced the communication costs for doing white-collar work at-a-distance while providing a sufficient level of interactive communication in real-time. Recent newspaper stories [USA-
  33. 33. Today] on technology venture capitalists requiring a large fraction of the labor of startups be outsourced overseas, and IBM buying an existing outsourcing firm in India employing 5000 workers to better manage its labor costs, illustrate the accelerating trend. An analysis of U.S. Government Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) [2] published in Computing Research News (CRN) [8] revealed that “Between 2000 and 2002, OES data show that employment in the professional IT occupations fell 5.0 percent, significantly higher than total U.S. employment which fell only 1.7 percent. A variety of factors are likely to have contributed to these job losses in the IT occupations, including: the dot-com bust; the end of work on Y2K; the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their related effect on the U.S. economy; a downturn in corporate IT spending; the brief 2001 recession; productivity increases; and the offshore outsourcing (off-shoring) of IT work.” The BLS data reveals that some IT occupations suffered disproportionate loses: computer programmer positions lost 13.8 percent over the period studied, and computer support specialist positions lost 8.4 percent over the same period. A recent newspaper article [4] quoted Rich DeMillio, Dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech: “Universities cannot wait for the government to measure the scope of the change. Tech is already adjusting its teaching approach based upon the assumption that routine computing jobs will be done overseas in coming years. The economics are overwhelming. We don't need the government to supply the statistics." The article goes on to explain that a US software developer job at $60 per hour can be moved to India where they would earn $6 per hour. The annual Taulbee Survey conducted by the Computing Research Association, and published in Computing Research News reports that the number of new undergraduate majors entering computing programs has declined nationally by 23% from 2002 to 2003, while total enrollment in computing bachelor’s programs dropped 19% [3] in the same period. The authors specifically mention student concerns about the tech shakeout and outsourcing as discouraging potential computer science students: “One major reason for this striking new trend is that the decline in the technology industry and the moving of jobs offshore is making computer science and engineering less alluring to new undergraduates.” Another contributing trend is suggested: “The introduction of new undergraduate programs in the IT field has created alternatives to the traditional CS and CE majors, possibly siphoning students who previously would have selected CS/CE programs.” “In any case, it is quite clear that the period of explosive growth in enrollments in Bachelor's programs is over.” A recent IT industry survey [9] revealed details about the outsourcing movement, and related the success of outsourcing initiatives to the criticality of the outsourced function to the success of the enterprise. Firms were surveyed about their success in outsourcing a portion of their business functions. The survey revealed that functions that were critical to the development of their product or the business enterprise’s core competencies, and those that were critical in maintaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace, were difficult to outsource with success. Functions that were not critical to the business enterprise in either regard, were reported as being much more successfully outsourced. For example, a firm that designs, develops, and markets software applications for personal computers would be unlikely to be successful in outsourcing
  34. 34. the design and overall development of their product, yet could successfully outsource portions of the programming process after the overall application design has been determined, and could outsource much of the marketing effort with success. The design and overall development of the firm’s product is critical to the success and survival of the enterprise, failure in this regard threatens the existence of the firm. The firm will invest significant time and resources in these tasks, developing a product that must withstand the rigors of the marketplace. The marketing function can be outsourced with greater potential for success, because an inferior marketing strategy will diminish a firm’s prospects, but it is less likely (but still possible) that it will undermine the overall enterprise itself. Outsourcing of the programming construction of components of the overall software design is less likely to be critical because poor performance in constructing one component may be remedied by replacing the contractor with a different team or contractor. A good overall software development process tends to discover and remedy problems in the development process, and hence mitigate their negative effects through early detection. These observations suggest that IT knowledge and skills that are critical to a business enterprise, and hence more difficult to successfully outsource, may form the basis for positioning computer science degree programs. Computer science degree programs that capitalize on these observations to prepare their graduates with knowledge in areas that tend to be critical and strategic, may mitigate some of the effect of the outsourcing movement on their graduate’s job prospects and on program enrollment. The computer science accreditation criteria (ABET) [1] constrains a curricular response to this evolving situation. The criteria includes minimum requirements in various areas, but offers sufficient flexibility for CS curricula to adapt and evolve. Minimum hours are required in a variety of areas: humanities (30), math and science (30), and computer science (40), with a required foundation in computer science with coverage of algorithms, data structures, software design, programming languages, computer organization and architecture. Advanced courses must build on that foundation. These requirements are general enough to allow sufficient flexibility in the upper level courses and electives to fashion an effective response to these trends by emphasizing advanced computing knowledge sets that projected to be less amenable to outsourcing and are projected to experience significant job growth. 2. STRATEGIC CONFLUENCES The premise of this analysis rests on the recent research that revealed that some functions are more likely to be successfully outsourced than others [9]. Those functions that are not critical to the success of the business enterprise, those that are not critical to its competitive advantage, and those functions that are not central to the function of the organization, can be outsourced with a high probability of success. Functions that are core to the enterprise’s business enterprise’s model, or which represent a competitive advantage over its competitors, are less to be successfully outsourced. The reasons for this difference in outcomes are numerous but might include: • The need for close cooperation and communication with the rest of the organization. Close communication and cooperation requires more than just an avenue of
  35. 35. communication (i.e. email) but requires also a shared understanding and vision of the product or task and its context and impact on the organization. • Strategic thinking about the firm’s and the firm’s product’s competitive positioning in the marketplace, require the knowledge of key players within the enterprise, who are intimately familiar with the goals, strengths, and weaknesses of the firm or product. • A critical feature that confers a competitive advantage would need to remain ‘in-house” in order to protect that technology and competitive advantage. An analysis of data collected from companies with varying experience and success with outsourcing, “global sourcing” and “off-shoring”, confirm this hypothesis. Many tech jobs that have become commoditized and can be outsourced with a high probability of success (in terms of lowered costs without compromising quality, or responsiveness), include disaster recover, system administration, and much “code-slinging”. Note that the functions that currently do not outsource with great success, are members of a dynamically changing set. As workers outside the firm and in other nations enhance their knowledge and skills, as technology evolves, and as work management concepts relating to outsourcing and off-shoring evolve to make those processes more effective and more efficient, additional functions are likely to become more successfully outsourced. This suggests that to the degree that curricula are to deal with current economic conditions, they must remain dynamic and responsive. This also leads to the philosophical issue about whether we are teaching a static science of computing and mathematics, or applied/engineering skills that change and evolve as the needs of society, or combinations of both view. This author suggests that a consistent core of computing science may be maintained in a program that is coupled to a dynamic set of electives and concentrations that respond to changing circumstances. The second premise then, is that a strategic CS program emphasis can be constructed within the umbrella of a standard CS program, both at the undergraduate level, and at the graduate level, which counters the outsourcing movement by identifying computing knowledge areas and skill- sets that are strategic to an enterprise’s success. Those knowledge areas can be included within the umbrella of a program’s upper level electives, as optional concentrations or tracks. The program can remain both academically sound and rigorous within the ABET criteria as well as prepare students for an environment of global competition where communication costs allow knowledge-worker jobs to follow the lowest cost provider across the globe. Based on these two premises, this paper offers two example strategic knowledge areas for consideration (Software Architecture, Embedded Architecture) which are at present and perhaps temporarily, more insulated from the job loses due to off-shoring. These knowledge areas are also those which are predicted to experience substantial employment growth in the immediate future. There may well be a number of strategic knowledge areas that may be discerned, some of which may be a better fit with the existing strengths of the faculty in a particular computer science department. Figure 1 graphically defines Application Architecture as an umbrella concept that encapsulates core computer science foundational knowledge and skills (programming, analysis&design, computer organization), with specific higher-level knowledge and analysis
  36. 36. (software engineering, software architecture, and application security). It includes basic programming as a foundational skill and knowledge, but puts the emphasis on the higher-order or “meta” thinking/knowledge abilities: software engineering and software architecture plus systems analysis and design of systems that may be distributed by parts over distance. It has been demonstrated that workman-level programming can be done with similar skill and sufficient resulting quality in India or Russia and other places, but at lower cost. A program that focuses on developing higher-order thinking and analysis skills will produce graduates capable of participating in computing areas that are not outsourced as readily and are predicted to experience employment growth. As the complexity of the computing environment grows, the complexity of application architecture grows, requiring a wider range of skills and knowledge, and a deeper level of understanding of dependencies and integrations of subjects that are generally taught as isolated knowledge areas. Twenty or more years ago, a good computer science graduate could be a contributing employee with general knowledge of computer science and one programming language in particular. Now, comparatively few applications can be designed without incorporating knowledge of networking, distributed computing, database systems, human-computer interface concepts, and application security. The meta-knowledge concept of Application Architecture transcends the foundational knowledge areas, and isolated specific advanced topics, to require the integration of all spanned subjects and knowledge areas. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that computer software engineers are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the 2002–12 period, with “Highly favorable opportunities are expected for college graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering or computer science and with practical work experience.” [2]. Application Architecture that includes software engineering and analysis and design is more difficult to outsource successfully than just the component programming itself, because the context of the problem may be the entire business enterprise that includes many sub- organizations, interfaces with disparate computing systems, processes and procedures that may be determined by government regulation or historic precedent. This context is a form of knowledge and data that is much more difficult to distill and capture for understanding and assimilation by a remote contract worker. The application architect will determine the overall structure of the application, and then structure the design into components. The development of defined components might then be outsourced individually or as a whole set.
  37. 37. Application Architecture Software Application Architecture Security Software Database Operating Data Comm Engineering Admin Systems Networking Basic Analysis and Organization Programming Design & Arch Figure 1. Application Architecture Knowledge Areas A second example of a strategic knowledge area is embedded systems. The proliferation of inexpensive computing chips into all manner of devices and appliances is predicted to continue as a strong agent for change for at least the next 10 years [5]. Embedding microprocessor computing power into devices closely couples the design and development of a product with the computing technology and programming. This close coupling limits the fluidity in which the embedded control design can be separated from the rest of the product design, and hence strategically couples embedded design and programming to product design, and increases the resistance to these functions being readily “off-shored”. Figure 2 illustrates the knowledge structure implemented at KSU in the graduate program, to develop student strength and expertise in Embedded Architecture. Embedded Architecture Real-Time Application Systems Security Embedded Operating Data Comm Systems Systems Networking Basic Analysis and Organization Programming Design & Arch Figure 2. Embedded Architecture Knowledge Areas 3. GRADUATE COMPUTER SCIENCE CURRICULUM This strategic analysis and its conclusions have been implemented in our graduate program at the author’s institution. We are in the third year of our Master of Science in Applied Computer
  38. 38. Science (MSACS) [7], which is a premium-priced cohort program. The cohort program means that all students matriculate through a fixed program of courses as a group (cohort), which builds a strong learning-community of students with shared experiences and prerequisites. In addition to the pedagogical motivation for the cohort model, it is also very resource-efficient, requiring only a small set of course offerings each semester, as all student progress through the set schedule together. The MSACS offers two traditional courses (six hours) each semester, which all students in the cohort will be registered for, plus up to three non-traditional applied studies hours (for those who need a full-time load). With two cohorts running simultaneously, the course-offering load is only four traditional courses per semester, plus projects and applied- studies experiences, a relatively light demand on departmental faculty resources. The integration of strategic computing knowledge into the curriculum is examined in this unique program, but the lessons learned are applicable to traditional graduate computer science programs as well. The MSACS requires a common core of 27 hours of coursework, with nine hours of electives. Students are required to complete a foundation sequence in computing systems, a course in object-oriented analysis and design, and a first course in embedded systems. To this foundation are added a two-course sequence in software engineering, a second embedded systems course, database, high-performance/parallel computing, and software architecture plus additional courses in AI and Robotics, and distributed object technology. Our premium/professional program needs to offer prospective students the most current knowledge anticipated to be of major importance in the future evolution of the computing industry, and consequently generate consistently high-demand for employment. Our analysis and discussions on this issue have identified the two strategic knowledge areas previously mentioned, which are targeted in our program: Software and Application Architecture, and Embedded Architecture and Robotics. Software architecture and application architecture plays to our program’s strategic strength in software engineering, while the Robotics course is a capstone to our relatively unique concentration in embedded systems. Both are viewed as high-demand areas and high-growth areas where technology (and jobs) is likely to evolve and increase. Both areas are regarded as likely to remain insulated from the “off-shore” movement of technology jobs phenomena due to their strategic criticality [5]. MSACS students will be able to choose to concentrate in either area, or remain general applied CS. These concentrations are achieved by the choice of one of two elective courses, the choice of the professional conference attendance, and by optionally directing an applied project into one area of the other. Thus, up to nine hours of study may be optionally directed by the student into one of two specific areas of concentration, or may be completed as general degree requirements without a concentration. The two areas of concentration are Embedded Systems, and Software Architecture both of which stand on the shared foundation of coursework in computing systems, embedded systems, and software engineering. Students who choose to concentrate on embedded systems will attend the Embedded Systems Conference and take CS8650 Introduction to AI and Robotics, and may choose to complete the UNIX certification or complete a research project. Students who choose to concentrate in Software Architecture will attend the Joint International Conference and take CS8625 Software Architecture, and may choose to complete the ORACLE certification or complete a research project.
  39. 39. Embedded Systems Concentration Software Architecture Concentration CS 8650 Introduction to AI and Robotics CS 8628 Software Architecture Embedded Systems Conference Joint International Conference Embedded Project Software Architecture Project Building on required coursework in: Building on required coursework in: Computing Systems Sequence (6 hours) Software Engineering Sequence (9 hours) Embedded Systems Sequence (6 hours) Database Administration (3 hours) Software Engineering Sequence (9 hours) Distributed Technology (3 hours) 4. UNDERGRADUATE COMPUTER SCIENCE CURRICULUM The B.S. in Computer Science [6] at the author’s institution shares aspects with a standard CS program with a structure consistent with ABET standards. The program requires a database course and a networking course, and the standard programming, systems analysis and design, data structures, and algorithms. Our department integrates a B.S. in Information Systems with the CS program with many shared and overlapping courses, requiring all of the courses listed in the “Foundational CS” column of Table 1. Through our use of electives, we have developed an elective sequence in software engineering. A new course in application security is being developed. By combining the required courses with selected upper-level elective courses, a student can develop significant knowledge in Software Architecture and Application Architecture. The program also contains courses in embedded systems and in real-time systems, which together develop modest strength in this secondary strategic knowledge area. There are not sufficient elective hours available in the program for a student to complete the coursework in both strategic knowledge areas without taking more than the minimum number of credit hours. Table 1 illustrates how we are building an undergraduate program that allows students to emphasis either strategic knowledge area: Software Architecture and Embedded/Real-Time. A new course in Application Security is being developed that is the last missing piece in building the meta-knowledge structure for Application Architecture as illustrated in Figure 1. Table 1. General Foundational CS Advanced and Major Requirements Electives Math 20 hours CS0, CS1, CS2 9 hours Alg. & Data Structures 6 hours Science 12 hours Intro Data Comm 3 hours Programming 3 hours Languages English 9 hours Database 3 hours Data Comm Protocols 3 hours Humanities 26 hours Organization & Arch 3 hours Senior Project 3 hours Operating Systems 3 hours Electives 9 hours Free 8 hours Systems Anal&Des 3 hours SW Engineering

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