Archive for category Computing Education

Computing for Good at Georgia Tech

Network World has an interesting article about a computing-for-good project at Georgia Tech. C4G, as it is known, was started by Georgia Tech distinguished professor Santosh Vempala in Fall 2007 when he made a presentation urging his colleagues to get involved in the growing national movement called “computing for a cause” or “socially relevant computing.” C4G focuses on using computing as a platform to improve the human condition.

So in spring 2008, Vempala, assistant professor Michael Best in the School of International Affairs in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and joint with Computing, and School of Computer Science Professor and Chair Ellen Zegura co-taught a course called Computing for Good (C4G). About two dozen graduate and undergraduate students formed teams to tackle challenges in public health, society and politics as close as downtown Atlanta and as far away as sub-Saharan Africa.

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Outsourcing Academic projects

Came across this post,”UK students outsources IT coursework to India” on Cnet News (UK), which discusses recent findings showing that UK students at the high school and university level were contracting out some of their programming assignments. Is this simply the globalization of cheating, or a more sinister trend.   According to the article even final dissertations are being outsourced with milestones being met by the off site developers. Be it at a shockingly low rate of around $200 (100 UK pounds). One would think a college final dissertation/project would be worth more than that.

This would be a disturbing trend if left unchecked.  Aren’t these individuals robbing themselves of the joy of actively engaging in trying to solve the problem, or what about those long hours spent hunting for that illusive bug.   Some might argue that going out and hiring a programmer in India or Romania, is solving the problem. It is a practical solution to some extent, and depending on the type of work you do after graduation, it’s probably what you will end up doing anyway.

It might be a  small fraction of individuals who stoop to such lengths to weasel out of an assingment, however wouldn’t this behaviour have a knock on effect of negatively impacting both the overall value and perception of a Computing education.

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Richard Stallman’s Talk on Free Software: Hosted by HFOSS

On Tuesday June 17, 2008 Richard Stallman, the founder of GNU and the “father” of the Free Software Movement presented a talk on Free Software in front of a audience of about 100 at Trinity College. Mr. Stallman used personal information, humor, factual evidence, hair twirling, and pill popping to engage the audience in his opinion on free software, proprietary software, and the purpose of the Free Software Movement. He discussed the four freedoms of software all while differentiating the use of proprietary software and free software based on the different freedoms.

In the attempt to inform the audience of what proprietary software is all about Mr. Stallman introduced some properties that Windows contain that decrease the actual privacy and or freedom of the actual user. He stressed that the Window’s operating system is not the the only system (i.e MacOS) that consists of features that invade the user’s privacy and freedom. Overall, Mr. Stallman’s opinion is that the user should have the freedom to view the source of the software he or she is using. If the user does not have this freedom, the software being used is not considered “free”.

He ended the talk by donning his Saint iGNUsius garb of the Church of Emacs and blessing the entire audience after explaining that HFOSS (Humanitarian Free Open Source Software) should be renamed to FLOSS(Free/Libre Open Source Software). Here he is with his halo that he states is not a computer disk:

You can see more photos of the lecture @ http://summer.hfoss.org.

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HFOSS Summer Institute Gets Going

The 2008 Summer HFOSS Institute got started on Tuesday. We have 13 talented students from 5 different colleges (Trinity, Connecticut College, Wesleyan University, University of Connecticut and University of Hartford). We spent Tuesday and Wednesday getting to know each other a bit and introducing students to the five development projects we will tackle this summer: Read the rest of this entry »

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Bowdoin Project Spreads to Savannah

Allen Tucker reports that he just got back from Savannah , Georgia, where he helped install the RMH Homebase system at the Ronald McDonald House there. Here’s a link to the Savannah site.

RMH Homebase is the calendar and scheduling system that Allen and four of his Bowdoin students built as a course project for the Ronald McDonald House in Portland, Maine. This is exactly how we had hoped the HFOSS project would grow and spread. It would be really great to find a team of CS students at a school in Savannah who can help maintain it or otherwise get involved in HFOSS.

Way to go Allen!

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Sahana/IBM Training

This past week an H-FOSS team attended a week-long, IBM-supported Sahana training session at IBM offices in Washington D.C. The team consisted of H-FOSS Project Director, Trishan de Lanerolle and summer interns Antonio Alcorn (UConn ‘10), Ernel Wint (Conn College ‘09) and Vinit Agrawal (Trinity ‘10). I attended the Thursday and Friday sessions. Antonio and Ernel worked on our Volunteer Management (VM) module last summer.

The workshop was organized by Diane Melley and Rebecca Curzon of the IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs office and conducted by Chamindra da Silva and Ravith from Sahana. IBM brought in 10-12 members of its crisis management team from Milwaukee, San Francisco, San Diego, and other locations in the U.S. as well as a developer from the IBM office in Poughkeepsie.

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Computer science graduating class of 2007 smallest this decade

But turnaround possible as new enrollments show signs of leveling off

“March 5, 2008 (Computerworld) Enrollments in computer science programs, which plunged after the dot-com bust, may have leveled off, according to new data from the Computing Research Association (CRA). The group follows year-over-year enrollment and graduate trends at 170 Ph.D.-granting institutions.”

Have we hit the bottom of the curve this year and can we start seeing improvements in CS department enrollments? Will the current economic situation in the US have a positive or negative impact on Computer Science enrollments. Most trends that get cited on a regular basis indicate the IT job market to have positive growth, indicating new job opportunities should open up for recent graduates in the field.

Source: Computer World

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