Computer science department sees curriculum changes

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Some programs at Ithaca College Computer Science department are being renovated to provide more flexibility in the choice of courses for students.

The department plans to merge its three miners IT, web development and game design as part of a newly designed computer science minor. The pupils of the new minor will be able to continue to follow the courses which were previously offered in the three minors. Additionally, students looking for more structure might follow a character – a special focus within the department. Game design and web development will make an appearance in the characters, along with software engineering, data and artificial intelligence, and systems programming.

The changes, while not directly related, are occurring amid the restructuring of university programs as part of the Prioritization of the academic program (APP) in order to create links between schools and disciplines. As part of the second phase of the APP, committees from the five schools will oversee changes to the admission application process, program review, program reorganization, and graduate program oversight.

Toby Dragon, associate professor and acting chair of the Computer Science Department, said the new minor will be designed to give students the opportunity to create an experience that is unique to them. While admission to web development and game design minors has been closed for fall 2021, he said he hopes the program will be available to students by fall 2022.

“Our field is so large that four years is not enough,” said Dragon. “We need to provide them with an education that gives them some sort of basic understanding… instead of pushing them down a specific path… we hope they will have a choice… to explore the type of computing that interests them. “

The Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science is also undergoing major changes. Dragon said he hoped to implement a new integrative project course in the major that would help bridge the gap between computer science and other disciplines.

“We’re not necessarily changing things fundamentally, but rather adjusting the type of paperwork in the program to recognize the reality of how our students operate and what we should be promoting in the department,” Dragon said.

Senior Norman Staub has said he welcomes the changes to the department. Staub said he initially wanted to pursue a minor in computer science, but instead opted for game development due to the limited availability of courses required for the minor in computer science.

“I think it’s a big change that they are all merged together because the miners were so similar initially that it didn’t seem like it was worth putting a name on each of those minors,” Staub said.

Going forward, Staub said he sees himself working in the visual effects industry. He said there are many connections between the minor in game development, her major in emerging media and her work as an executive producer at Park Productions, which he hopes to make in his apprenticeship.

“I chose game development… because especially now and in the future these two industries, film and game development, sort of intersect in a lot more ways than they ever have. “said Staub.

Junior Laci Young said that she appreciates the structure of the choice of courses, but also likes the idea of ​​having more choice in the electives.

“I think that’s where we have the chance to really experiment in our field and find the direction we want to go after school,” Young said.

Young, who said she transferred to Ithaca College from SUNY Broome Community College in Binghamton, New York, was first drawn to Ithaca College’s computer science department because of its wide range of courses. Young noted when registering for the fall 2021 courses, she noticed a lot of availability in the compulsory and elective courses for her major in computer science.

“There are a lot of jobs available with a computer science degree, so I think Ithaca College does a good job of helping us figure out where we really want to go with this,” Young said. “Flexibility allows us to acquire our knowledge in the areas that interest us the most.

According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology-related occupations is expected to increase by 13% from 2020 to 2030, adding an estimated 667,600 new jobs to the economy.

Second-year student Elizabeth Richards said she looks forward to changes in the department as a chance to show off her creative side. Thanks to his internship with Girls who code from June to August 2019, Richards said he had developed an interest in IT.

“I knew that if I could implement the way I think creatively in IT – which was completely foreign to me at the time – maybe I could be successful in creating this career, then I would. I’m going in that direction, ”said Richards.

Much like the diverse course selection based on her interests – ranging from animation classes to theater – Richards said she looked forward to more freedom in choosing courses within the vscomputer sscience department.

“You should be free to take the things you want to take because you are interested in [them], not just because they are required courses, ”said Richards.


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