Blog 8: Where do I go from here?

            After taking CIS 115, I have gained a significant amount of knowledge in the various domains that computer science entails. From lecturing about programming, cryptography, the internet, robots, to even artificial intelligence, each day discussed a different topic regarding the multi-faceted field. As a senior who is 10 days away from walking across that big stage to receive a piece of paper that says I have a Bachelors Degree is psychological sciences, I can’t say that the class has motivated me to go back and spend three more years pursuing a degree in CIS. Furthermore, I will most likely be employed in a job unrelated to computer science. However, the last sixteen weeks in CIS 115 has not been a waste. As I am much more interested in psychology classes than any of the computer science, finance, and business classes I am currently enrolled into, this semester has alleviated my concerns that psychology is the right degree for me.

As I am pursuing a job as an industrial/organizational psychologist, I feel that the majority of what I have learned in CIS 115 will not be applicable to my occupation. The exception to this is what I have learned regarding algorithms and logarithms. As an I/O psychologist I will most likely be involved in various occupational research projects (i.e., how to increase employee motivation, finding out what works and what does not work, how to increase occupational efficacy). Statistical software (i.e., JMP) will examine whether or not these experiments yield statistical significance by running various analyses (independent samples T-test, ANOVA, MANOVA) that preform complex mathematical logarithmic and algorithmic equations. Although as a researcher all I have to do is examine the results, it is still important that I at least have the basics of how the program is computing these mathematical equations. Thus, during graduate school I plan on enrolling into classes that will teach me how to perform these complex computations by hand (which researchers had to do prior to technological innovations). Classes would include Stats 705: Regression and Analysis of Variance, Stats 713: Applied Linear Statically Models, and Stats 730: Multivariate Statistical Methods. As trigonometry is the highest math class I have taken, it is likely I will find all of these classes to be considerably difficult. However, I think they are a necessity for any psychologist conducting research; especially if working with undergraduate research students.

I really do not know what areas of computer science I wished the class would have covered more deeply. I feel that the class successfully covered everything possible in the limited allocated amount of time. Making my own website was my favorite project we did, and in the future I plan on taking additional measures to learn what is involved in website development. What I enjoyed most about the class was that Professor Feldhausen did a brilliant job in making mundane topics seem more interesting. Furthermore, the professor would frequently mention how other fields (i.e., social sciences) were related to computer science. For example, during the lecture on robotics, he discussed the ethicalities involved, such as if it is okay for robots to be doing jobs that once a paid worker would do, and what the point would be in engaging in war if only robots were on the battlefield. I thought bringing these ideas to the surface helped students step outside of the matrix high school confined them to, and bring out their independence to think about things from multiple perspectives.

I do have a few suggestions for next semester. Although Professor Feldhausen’s lectures were extremely interesting (he is just a fantastic speaker in general), because I knew there would not be any quizzes or tests regarding the subject material I found myself often having a difficult time paying attention. In the future I would recommend there be at least random pop quizzes that would be given at the end of the lecture that would ensure students paid attention. Furthermore, I would modify the written part of the group project. I think it is extremely difficult to write a paper as a group, especially when the majority of students are freshman. In the end I feel like one group member generally contributes far more work than anyone else.   I think the groups should still exist and students should still have a group presentation, but I feel that the papers should be submitted individually. As a last suggestion, I feel that there should be more help in Scratch for people who have never programmed before. Because I for one had never used any programming tools, I was extremely confused and lost in the class until one of my CIS buddies really sat me down and showed me one on one how to use the program.

Having said all that, I am really happy with what I have taken from this class. I found many topics extremely interesting, and it was a great class to take even though I am at the end of the road in my undergraduate career.

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