Contact the Department
Phone: (208) 885-6592
Fax: (208) 885-9052
Janssen Engineering (JEB)
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1010
Moscow, ID 83844-1010
Contact Debbie Caudle
Phone: (208) 282-7983
Fax: (208) 282-7929
1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402
The Computer Science Department is committed to delivering high quality courses that meet students' needs and expectations. The primary responsibility for course delivery resides with the course instructor. The department has more than 40 officially numbered courses that are listed in the University of Idaho catalog. In addition, the department regularly offers special topics courses that provide students with access to emerging technologies and in depth treatment of material related to faculty research interests. For each course that has been approved for offering, the University catalog provides a brief course description. Additional information about the material to be covered in these courses is documented in the UCC course approval form. For courses that are offered in support of the ABET-accredited undergraduate program, the department has developed a course description that provides a more complete description of topics to be covered, resources available, as well as homework and laboratory exercises to be completed by students. The department also has an on-going process that documents course offerings on a regular basis by collecting course material provided by the instructor and samples of student work that show the spectrum of student performance. Courses that are offered as Special Topics go through a review process in which the instructor identifies the content of the course, and seeks approval from the faculty before the course is offered. In Section 4700 of the Faculty Staff Handbook, General Responsibilities of Instructors are addressed. As a Department, we are fully supportive of these responsibilities and expect all of our instructors to comply with them. To help ensure the completeness and consistency of the Department's course offerings, each instructor is expected to do or provide the following for each assigned course offering:
- The guidelines identified in this document are focused on courses that are offered using a traditional lecture approach. Some of our course offerings do not use this approach and therefore are not subject to some of the specific items listed. Specific courses that are recognized as having unique situations include: CS 299, CS 398, CS 401, CS 480, CS 481, CS 499, CS 500, CS 501, CS 502, CS 580, CS 599, and CS 600. For undergraduate courses, the course description should identify most exceptions to this guideline. In addition, some graduate courses might emphasize the writing of a research papers rather than demonstrating learning through examinations.
- For officially numbered undergraduate courses, deliver instruction that covers the topics identified in the course description.
- Instructors are expected to provide students with the course syllabus. The course syllabus should identify the instructor's course policies, the educational objectives for the course, the work that students are expected to perform, and an indication of the instructor's expectations of students and grading practices (see FSH 4700 B).
- Instructors are expected to provide students with the instructor's policy on academic integrity. The policy should identify what is permitted and / or what is not permitted and must be consistent with the University's general policy on academic integrity. The consequences for violating the policy must be specified. The instructor has the obligation to enforce the policy to the best of his or her ability (see FSH 4700 D).
- Students have the right to know the general schedule of activities that will occur during the semester and when major assignments and exams will occur. Instructors are strongly encouraged to provide students with a copy of the course schedule. The course schedule should provide sufficient detail that a student knows what will be covered in individual or groups of individual class sessions. If making a full semester schedule available at the start of the semester is not feasible, the instructor should provide periodic updates to the schedule that provide his / her best estimate of activities and events for several weeks in advance.
- Instructors are expected to let students know when he or she will be available for out of class consultation.
- Instructors are expected to meet with students at the scheduled meeting times for the vast majority of planned sessions. A standard semester is 15 weeks in length plus a week for final examinations. A three credit class has approximately 45, 50 minute class sessions available, or the equivalent if a different scheduling format is used. Failure to meet a scheduled session because of instructor illness or business-related travel are generally considered justifiable unless it results in substantial loss of contact time. In this latter case, a suitable replacement should be arranged so that course educational objectives are not significantly compromised.
- Following the University's standard definition of a credit hour, the instructor should ensure that, on average, students will spend approximately 3 hours per week per credit hour in scholarly activity. With a standard 3 credit course, this means that a student should spend about 3 hours per week in class and about 6 hours working independently, studying class material, working on homework assignments, or doing other assigned activities. Variations from this norm can be expected, but should not be particularly severe in either direction.
- Instructors are expected to evaluate the learning of students in their course. Students have the right to receive objective and timely feedback on their work. Evaluation can be performed in a number of ways, with the most common ones being graded homework assignments and the in-class examination. Normally, at least two examinations are considered appropriate. One exam given at roughly mid-semester can be used to help students evaluate their own learning and grade standing in the course. This exam should be administered and the results provided to the students in time to meet the deadline for withdrawal from the course if they should desire to exercise this option. The other examination should normally be a final examination administered during the scheduled final exam period. A final examination may be comprehensive in nature or cover only a subset of material selected by the instructor. Examinations may also be structured as take-home activities provided that clearly defined constraints that ensure the expectations for individual effort are communicated to the students. The constraints need to identify the boundary on resources the students are allowed to consult or use in generating their responses. Limitations on or permitted collaboration should be clearly stated. Oral exams are also an acceptable means for evaluating student learning. Term papers, projects, and presentations are other forms of student work that may be appropriate in a course.
- It is normally expected that periodically students will be assigned homework problems or other forms of documented out-of-class activity. The results of this work should be collected and evaluated, then returned to the student with meaningful feedback. The purpose of the homework is to provide a learning experience for the student to reinforce concepts discussed in class. The feedback provides a way to help the student identify material in which he/she needs additional practice in order to become proficient.
- For undergraduate courses, an instructor is expected to submit mid term grades (see FSH 4700 F-4).
- An instructor must ensure that each student's right to privacy, as required by FERPA, is protected (see FSH 4700 F-5).
- An instructor must ensure that he or she does not provide instruction or engage in actions that could be construed as instruction that is either sectarian in religion or partisan in politics (see FSH 4700 C).
- As a responsibility ensuing from our ABET-accreditation of the undergraduate program, instructors may have additional obligations. The department has implemented an outcomes assessment process. That process requires that each course be assessed and a report submitted after each course offering. The purpose of the assessment is to determine how well the course participants reached the level of performance specified in the course outcomes. The assessment information is subsequently used to help the instructor and/or the department make adjustments in the course or in prerequisite courses.
- The intent of this document is to provide guidance to instructors teaching computer science courses. It is not intended to unduly restrict the use of innovative teaching approaches and methods. In circumstances where an instructor desires to use an approach that differs from the guidelines listed in this document, an instructor may, with prior approval, deviate from the expectations identified in this document. A request for deviation should be submitted to the CS Curriculum Committee for consideration.
- The Computer Science Department chairperson is responsible for overseeing the implementation of these guidelines.