Whereas a long-standing concern, college students have not too long ago expressed concerns concerning the overwhelming workload required in pc science programs. In response to those considerations, the Division of Laptop Science applied a activity power to overview the division’s curriculum over the course of this tutorial yr and pc science professors have supplied flexibility with course necessities. Whereas these efforts are commendable, they’re inadequate to promptly remediate pupil stress ranges attributable to overwhelming quantities of labor in pc science lessons. Along with a long-term examination of the pc science curriculum, we suggest that the duty power provoke a direct overview of points attributable to the pandemic and proceed to work with professors to alleviate pupil stress.
Apart from revamping Intro to Laptop Science (COMP 11) in 2019, the Division of Laptop Science has not made vital updates to its curriculum in years, necessitating a long-overdue restructuring of curricula. Moreover, universities throughout the nation are struggling to seek out methods to draw and keep a various pupil physique in pc science. Radical adjustments inside the division are mandatory and can take time; we commend the duty power for its long-term overview of the curriculum.
Along with the duty power, some professors responded to pupil complaints by making adjustments to course necessities. For instance, Mark Sheldon, a professor of pc science, has lowered coursework and employed extra instructing assistants to scale back wait instances in workplace hours. These efforts must be acknowledged as they signify a viable short-term answer to a bigger, structural downside inside the pc science division.
Regardless of these short-term strides, college students taking pc science lessons stay overwhelmed by coursework; some college students reported that they spend greater than 15 hours every week on homework. Whereas pc science lessons are notoriously rigorous, the pandemic exacerbates course issue and will increase pupil workload, as many college students can not simply collaborate with others or entry in-person instruction. In consequence, college students might sacrifice time spent finishing work for different lessons to maintain up with pc science, compounding stress ranges already attributable to studying throughout a pandemic.
Whereas the duty power goals to deal with these considerations in its overview, placing college students by means of one other semester of inordinate quantities of labor and stress in pc science lessons is unacceptable. Along with a long-term, structural overview of pc science curricula, the duty power also needs to conduct a extra fast, semester-long investigation of the pandemic’s results on pc science workload.
To begin, the duty power ought to use the findings of latest midsemester surveys despatched out to pc science lessons to make short-term modifications of sophistication necessities in accordance with college students’ wants. By the top of the semester, the duty power should make concrete suggestions to the division about methods to restrict workload and higher help struggling college students throughout the pandemic. Within the meantime, pc science professors who haven’t already ought to observe Professor Sheldon’s lead in making fast, tangible adjustments to their lessons’ workloads, equivalent to giving extra time to finish assignments and lengthening workplace hours.
In the long run, it can be crucial for the Division of Laptop Science to dynamically adapt to the evolving calls for of the educational world. In its year-long overview, the division ought to look into extra everlasting options, directing its efforts with the steering of pupil suggestions.