Standardized Course Descriptions for DCS

Executive Summary (by Dave Penny)

In order to facilitate making changes to the DCS undergraduate curriculum, we propose to define

The proposal is based upon the software engineering concept that one cannot do effective design without reference to a concrete artifact. As well, one cannot control change without having such an artifact, keeping it under a change control system, and defining processes and policies for change.

The total effort required from faculty is minimal, and the processes for designated course owners to make changes in their own courses are extremely lightweight, thus encouraging change.

A technological proof-of-concept uses one of my courses, csc407h as an example. The system to support these documents and processes will be Web-based. Each course will have a (system-generated) Web-page whereby one can examine the standardized course description, subscribe to be notified of proposed changes, make change proposals, discuss change proposals, and potentially officially object to a proposed change (which would lead to an escalation to the Undergraduate Committee for resolution).

The sample course's browser-viewable HTML is in the file csc407.html. The XML file that was processed to produce the viewable result is in the file csc407.xml. Such an XML file approximates the proposed format for standardized course descriptions to be filled out and maintained by designated course owners.

If you are interested in learning more, please view the detailed proposal.