‘Our Biggest Change in Two Decades’: New Intro to Computing Series to Begin Next Year | Community

Beginning in fall 2023, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering will replace the current introductory series, CSE 142 and CSE 143, with a new series of three one-year courses: CSE 121, CSE 122 and CSE 123.

“This will be our biggest change in two decades,” said Dan Grossman, the Allen School’s vice principal and redesign lead.

Computing intro seriesaccording to the ministry’s website, “serves as an entry point for students on campus to explore the world of computing” and aims to enable all students “to develop computational thinking and practical programming skills.

Grossman noted how incoming student preparation has changed since the current series was implemented.

“Many other students come to UW having already taken a programming course,” Grossman said. “Currently we do not serve these students well because CSE 142 is too revisable and CSE 143 is often too advanced and generally assumes that students have completed CSE 142. efforts – makes CSE 142 less welcoming to students with no experience prior.

In the new sequence, students will be able to take the course that matches their level of experience. To facilitate this, the computer science department will implement a self-guided placement system that will contain resources to help students make their own choice, unlike other departments at UW like chemistry, whose placement exam the score is binding.

“CSE 121 for those with no prior experience, CSE 122 for students who have already taken a programming course, and CSE 123 for students with substantial prior experience,” Grossman said. “We believe this will improve our courses for everyone.”

This change will also bring the UW sequence in line with most other universities that teach introductory programming for a full academic year.

“It’s time to stop cramming it into two quarters,” Grossman said. “Many students have told us for a long time that the CSE 142 and CSE 143 courses are very fast and challenging.”

According to DawgPath28.4% of students score 2.5 or less on CSE 142, and 8.61% of students fail outright.

“It would make it less stressful for the students if the pace of the class was a bit slower,” said Alex Fernandez, a third-year computer science student. “I personally thought the pacing wasn’t too bad…but if they want the class to be nice and slow so it’s really welcoming to the students, I think that’s also valid.”

The new series will total 12 credits – each individual course will be four credits and will have two weekly lectures and two smaller quiz sections.

“We don’t plan to add any significant new content, so overall the pace will slow down,” Grossman said. “We plan to continue to use approaches such as resubmissions, specification-based grading, and active learning techniques, as well as creating space for students to bring their own interests into certain courses.”

Fernandez expressed concerns over the lack of new content, citing the huge increase in available time.

“If they make it a full year series, even if they slow down the pace, I still expect them to introduce new material, because they have a lot more time…they spend 20 weeks between two nine-credit courses to 31 weeks at 12 credits,” Fernandez said.

Besides pacing, the series will emphasize testing and debugging skills and contemporary applications of computing. Recognizing the value of testing and debugging skills in general, these skills will be taught more explicitly. Additionally, applications and examples used in class and for homework will be updated to emphasize the applicability of programming to contemporary social and scientific issues.

However, one of Fernandez’s concerns was how the tests would work in the new structure. In CSE 142 and 143, testing consists of a mid-term test and a final test on cumulative material, although since the transition to online more flexibility is needed and faculty have moved to mid-portfolios. – Easier “simulated” session and problem solving.

“For a lot of people, the tests were kind of scary — they scared me a little too… so I usually spent a lot of time preparing for the test,” Fernandez said. “Maybe they could participate in more review sessions.”

For students seeking admission into the computer science and computer engineering majors, the application requirements will not change much.

“I don’t see anything that could affect [the] straight to middle finger [program] and other UW students differently,” Grossman said. “For current UW students applying to the major, I anticipate we will need [the] completion of CSE 123.”

Fernandez disagreed.

“For people who don’t come in through direct admission…it’s more of an investment to get all those classes that would be needed to apply,” Fernandez said. “Previously, to get into CS if you already had AP CS credit, you only had to worry about one class before you could apply.”

UW’s infamous computer science major limited capacity and accepts an average of 20-25% of applicants, forces many of those who have applied to rely on the expectation that their computer science courses will meet the prerequisites for admission to the backup major choices.

“For people who only take these classes for fun, they don’t have to go that far, they can stop after one or two classes,” Fernandez said. “And that, overall, would be less credit work than taking the two courses you would have before. [had] to do.”

Other majors like computer science and electrical engineering also require courses in the Introduction to Computing Series for admission and as part of their degree requirements.

After meeting and discussing the change with program officials from multiple departments – including the College of Engineering and the Information School – “each program will need to make its own decisions about how to adjust course prerequisites and course requirements. degree,” Grossman said, but added that he “doesn’t anticipate any significant disruptions.”

Some programs and courses will only require CSE 122, while others will require CSE 123 and require students to schedule an additional quarter of coursework and increase their credit requirements.

“But we think the new sequence will serve these students better,” Grossman said.

For incoming freshmen and transfer students, this change will affect them little. Students with AP Computer Science credits will receive credit for CSE 121. Entry-level and transfer students taking courses at Washington State Community and Technical Colleges will receive the equivalent course credit as currently listed. Community college courses will continue to match the old series for the foreseeable future.

The last time CSE 142 will be offered is Summer 2022, while CSE 143 will be offered once or twice during the 2022-2023 academic year, with Fall 2022 being a confirmed term. For students taking the new series, CSE 121 and CSE 122 will begin in the fall and CSE 123 in the winter.

Contact contributing writer Eric Lee at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @EricLee37375815

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