Meeting with Josh Poon also included Eric van Wijk and Veronica Wong from the Study Abroad Office. (Was met by Veronica; Shari Lee, School Manager was out ill, as was head of school, Sanjay Chawla).
They made the transition from Science to Engineering in 2007. Coincided with a physical move. After arrival in their new building, they were informed that they had also changed colleges (!).
Josh provided PowerPoint slides on “Undergraduate Studies in The School of Information Technologies”.
They have two degrees: a four-year BIT (Bachelor of Information Technology) and three-year BCST (Bachelor of Computer Science and Technology). Both degrees are a balance of theory and practice. BIT degree requires higher GPA than BCST. BIT 3rd year project is larger.
They have an agreement with Accenture to participate in at least one of their courses, a project management course. Accenture employees are guest lecturers. The course is a core requirement of both degrees. Course is INFO 3402.
Students take four courses (“subjects”) per semester; two are IT related. Other two are more general. Generality and flexibility for students are recent changes–previously the degree was focused much more fully on the content area (“unlike the US”). This issue came up at other universities (e.g., UNSW); the trend is to give students more breadth, like US colleges.
All students have a team project course at the end of their studies.
Josiah signed forms for three students to participate in Exchange programs last week.
Each degree (BIT and BCST) has two “streams”, like majors.
They teach Java in their first year, then C. Faculty divided over using Python in first year.
Architecture course in first year.
Typical intro course is two lectures per week plus two or three lab hours per week (led by senior or PhD student). They are transitioning from recitations to labs. Students didn't like recitations–want hands on–despite faculty attempts to emphasize “design”.
Labs have about 20 students. Lectures have 70 to 270 students (some courses have 750 students but are broken down into 3 parallel lecture sections).
Three math classes are required, covering topics like linear algebra, statistics, discrete mathematics, and calculus.
Many science degrees in Australia don't require (much) math, but IT does (as does Engineering).
Six courses taken during year three. Two are required: the 3402 Mgmt course and a software development course (3400 or 3615, see chart).
Software Engineering is in Engineering (not this IT department). Courses from Software Engineering are used/required for both CS & IS streams.
IT is more applied (than Engineering).
Honors degree in fourth year is possible. BIT is the more prestigious degree. Entrance requirements are 97 (of 100) for BIT, 82 for BCST. (Numbers are for a standardized entrance exam and are percentiles.)
Combined degrees are possible. See chart.
“Constant practice is required for CS.” The project course must follow soon on content courses, rather than deferring until after combined degree (e.g., Law) courses taken.
Handbooks are available on the university website. Engineering portal site includes details.
Enrollment dropped from 1000 in circa 2000 era to now around 250.
They adopted Problem-Based Learning approach to teaching, but have stopped using so much in recent years. They had mixed success. Some advantages, but it was (1) difficult to create problems that covered a wide breadth of material, and (2) the best students did well, but the marginal students were able to slack off. Problems mainly at first year level; upper level classes seem better.
They did fun presentations at end of 1st year course. Years later (at graduation) parents remembered seeing the project sessions.
Abolished faculty-specific research labs–labs are not assigned to projects, but are just places where students and faculty work.
Research areas include algorithms, cloud computing, CHI, machine learning, data mining, and databases.