Putting the magic in the machine since 1980.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CSCE 242 Sign Up Now, Please!

As of this writing exactly two students have signed up for my CSCE 242: Client Server Computing class. With so few students signed up we will have to cancel the class, and I will be bummed.

I find it strange that there is so little interest when nearly all programming jobs nowadays require at least some web development, whether it is using a REST API, developing a web front-end, a mobile web front-end, or actually building a complete web application. Plus, javascript is a boatload of fun! Where else can you modify the inheritance hierarchy at runtime?

Maybe someone can comment and explain this lack of interest to me?


Jose M Vidal said...

We are now up to 4 students, woo hoo! Still nowhere near what we need but it gives me hope.

Click here to see the current enrolment number.

Jason said...

I hope enough students will sign up because I really want to take this class. My opinion on low registration is based on the latest update to the Academic Bulletin for Computer Science. Thus far everyone has been required to take 245 and many CSCE students probably don't realize that they have a choice now for a 200 level CSCE elective. The bulletin is also unclear about what will happen if you take 242 instead of 245 since 330 and 350 both have a 245 prerequisite so students will feel obligated to chose 245 by default. I hope there will be leverage with the upper division classes prerequisite of 245 because I'm not planning on taking 245 if 242 will justify. If this isn't the case however, I will have to take 245 instead of 242 and will be sad. I enjoy web application programming and the outline for class is everything I'm interested in.

- Jason Rikard

Jose M Vidal said...

Thanks Jason! I will certainly look into making the bulletin more clearer on the fact that all majors have at least one "lower level major elective" requirement which could be satisfied by 242.

As far as 245, that is a C++ class. It is good for students planning on to work on high-speed applications: games and graphics, simulations, etc. But, it is probably not very useful if going into web applications, business applications, or any industry that values fast time-to-market over fast execution time: where dynamic languages such as python, ruby, etc. are blossoming.

Anyway, I think many of those classes that list 245 as a prereq don't really require C++ knowledge. Specifically, the current 350 should not (10 years ago 350 was a programming class and we used C++ for the homeworks, thus the requirement).

It is always possible to take a class without a requirement if you get permission from the instructor. If you are unsure about a particular class you can find who is teaching it and ask them if they would let you in without taking 245.

Still, I will see about getting rid of the 245 req. for 350.

Ryan said...

From what I remember of my undergrad curriculum, only CSCE courses labeled 500+ counted as electives. That was the reason that I did not take a lot of the interesting 200 level classes. Maybe I am mistaken on this; and maybe other students are too.

Is it possible to teach this class on a 500 level? I agree with you, I think a class on this topic would be extremely beneficial.

Ryan Yandle

DuckDuckMAYMALS said...

If you're behind and trying to graduate soon, it's hard to fit classes other than the required in your schedule.

I would love to take this class and I'm going to try, but it may be impossible if I plan on graduating soon.

Maybe this class can substitute for 240? that would make it easy, but I don't see that happening.

Jonathan Mayhak

Jose M Vidal said...

Yes, the requirements have changed. If you look at the latest undergrad bulletin you see that the CIS and the CS majors have a "lower division elective" requirement, which 204 would satisfy.

This is a new change (I think) and I agree that it has not been widely publicized. We are trying to have several 200-level classes that are more application focused (webapps, bio, games, security, etc.) and then match these with a corresponding 500-level class or two.

Also, Ryan, I do hope to teach a 590 web applications class in the Fall (again, if enough people sign up, last time we had a total of 9, with 4 undergraduates). I'm hoping to make 590 build on 242 so we can do more complex applications, look more closely at the current web frameworks, and use more of the popular web APIs out there. So, yes, I hope you sign up in the Fall 09!

Jason Rikard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Rikard said...

If you offer 590 in the fall I will definitely be there. I'll try and tell other students about 242.

Jose M Vidal said...

Jonathan, I agree our degree requirements are extreme. There is very little room for any free electives if you want to finish in 5 years or less. That is why we made sure that classes like 242 would fill some requirement.

That is also why I don't expect any CE major to take 242 since it does not meet any of their requirements.

Jason, cool, I hope to see you in the Fall. I wonder if by then we will see a large business hosted at google app engine, I'm betting YES on that one.

Jose M Vidal said...

For the record, I talked to prof. Wang, who is currently teaching 350, and he said he is willing to waive the 245 requirement. The same should be true for anyone teaching 350.

So, you don't need to take 245, just get a waiver from the prof. teaching it.

Hopefully we will get this fixed in the official list but that can take a long time: mucho red tape.

Chris said...

I'm GIS (geographical information systems) major and am really interested in this course.

The course listing states that 146 (algorithmic design II )is a prereq while the course description says, "this is an introductory class and no previous knowledge of web technologies or programming is assumed."

I'm by no means a novice (good deal of exp with linux, python, etc) but I haven't taken either algorithm courses. Would I be at a distinct disadvantage without 145/146 under my belt?

Jose M Vidal said...

Chris, I will let anyone take this class and I assume no programming background.

However, we will be doing programming, mostly in Javascript and maybe some python. CSCE 145 and 146 are in Java.

So, while knowing how to program will make the class easier for you, there is no distinct advantage to taking 145/6 before taking this class.

In fact, I think if the only language someone knows is Java then Javascript will, at first, seem like a very alien language.

Jose M Vidal said...

Also, I should make it clear, the class also covers XHTML+CSS so there is a part of the class that is not about programming. I will cover usability, probably with don't make me think.

Jose M Vidal said...

We now have 10 students registered. Looks like the class in ON. Hope to see you there!