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K-State Today

February 17, 2023

Computer Science Seminar Series to host 'Engineering, a Complete Curriculum Overhaul' talk

Submitted by Nathan Bean

The Computer Science Seminar Series will host a talk by Luther Tychonievich, teaching associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urabana-Champaign, at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, in Room 1109 of Engineering Hall.

Tychonievich will present "Engineering, a Complete Curriculum Overhaul." A reception with light refreshments will follow.

Abstract: Degree programs define a complete curriculum, by which Tychonievich means a set of courses and their prerequisite dependencies. While carefully designed and generally positive when first implemented, curricula do not age well. The match between curricular coverage and the most important topics in the field tends to degrade over time, and pairs of courses that once meshed well also tend to drift apart. In this talk, Tychonievich discusses these phenomena in general and specifically as related to computer science degree programs. 

Tychonievich addresses three avenues for curriculum maintenance, with the pros and cons of each, and shares examples from work with Mark Sherriff and others at the University of Virginia, revising multiple courses individually as well as revamping the entire undergraduate curriculum between 2014 and 2022. Tychonievich also discusses various practical issues and tips for curriculum change and gives his perspective on when the improvement in the curriculum is worth the effort and cost of designing and implementing a change.