There are many things that I would love an opportunity to work on at Bridgewater College. These include continuing to develop my pedagogy, to serve my students and our community, and to work with my students and peers to discover and create novel work. I would also like the opportunity to continue developing the computer science program. As was introduced earlier, Dr. Shreekanth, Dr. Leininger, and myself have begun planning a new path for computer science and I would love the opportunity to assist them in its execution.

In this section I discuss additional endeavors that I would like to pursue. These include a program that would introduce first-year students to the field of computer science, to our department department, and to their peers. I would also like the opportunity to develop new courses for F.I.L.A. Last, I would love the opportunity to establish a software foundation whose primary goals would be to provide students with internship opportunities and the college with a events management system.

Below I discuss some of the programs the I've envisioned for my students, my department, and Bridgewater College.

A Program For First-Year Computer Science Majors

For some time, I've envisioned a seminar-based program for our first-year students that would

  • Introduce them to the field of computer science.
  • Discuss the various career paths that they can pursue.
  • Get them get excited about computer science with games, puzzles, and contests.
  • Help them build a sense of community within their cohort.
  • Help them with study skills by scaffolding what is taught in FILA-150.
  • Introduce them to their peers in the other cohorts.
Dr. Leininger and Dr. Malladi are both supportive of the idea. If given the opportunity, I would love to see this program in effect by Fall 2019.

Enhancing the Liberal Arts at Bridgewater College

As curriculum developers, I believe we can create stronger programs and a more unified college experience by integrating the goals of the F.I.L.A. program more deliberately in our majors. Currently, I believe the Computer Science program intentionally addresses only 3 out of the 14 F.I.L.A. program outcomes. Namely,

  • be actively engaged in their learning through information technologies and learn information literacy and how to apply technology effectively in their respective disciplines and careers;
  • connect their academic work to the wider world through community-based learning experiences such as internships, practical, fieldwork, student teaching, study abroad and multicultural programming experiences;
  • develop in-depth knowledge in a particular field.
While I realize individual computer science instructors address some of the other outcomes in their courses (e.g. demonstrate effective oral communication skills) and many of the outcomes are intentionally addressed in the F.I.L.A. courses, I think that to make our programs an even more transformative experience, we should intentionally scaffold learning in the major to help our student achieve these outcomes.

This endeavour would entail integrating the F.I.L.A. outcomes in our program outcomes, creating new course modules, and developing new assessment tools. I have spoken to Dr. Malladi who is very supportive of the idea. We envision that we'll begin to work on this during the summer of 2019.

I would also be interested in teaching FILA-150 at some point. I'm very much interested in privacy issues and think that the myriad of issues relating to privacy would be of interest to our first-year students. I've contacted the Freedom of the Press Foundation and they have sent me a trove of information that could be incorporated into a class. The course could include PGP encryption, free speech, hacker communities, public surveillance, secure apps, and other topics.

I am also interested (if ever I were to have the load time) in offering an Honors course on computing. The course would be based on the Harvard 50 course. The course would be intended for non-majors and majors alike, and cover the art of problem solving on a computer. Topics would include defining problems, constructing algorithms, and encoding efficient solutions in code. Exercises would give students experience with Java, Python, JavaScript, MySQL, HTML, and CSS would be covered.

Finally, I would like to design an introduction to programming course for non-majors that would fulfill student's Master Core Skill in Mathematics general education requirement. The course would teach the Python programming language while also teaching students the topics taught in MATH-110 College Algebra, such as numeric systems, algebraic operations, solving equations, graphing expressions, exponential and logarithmic functions.

Establishing a Software Foundation

In the summer of 2014, I approached Dr. Robyn Puffenbarger and Dr. Tim Kreps to ask them if they would be interested in acting as clients for my CIS-450 Software Engineering course. The agreed and during the remaining weeks of the summer we planned a set of specifications for a mobile app that would allow the user to travel on foot or in a vehicle and record points of interest. Dr. Puffenbarger intended on using this app in one of her classes where she asks students to trace her steps and stop at specific spots where specific species of birds were known to have been seen.

Throughout the semester the class learned how to design and implement a non-trivial application and by the end of the semester had a working application they called FollowMe which they demonstrated to Dr. Puffenbarger and Dr. Kreps. As was predicted and is understandable, the software was buggy and required additional work. Unfortunately, in the spring semester none of the students were available to continue working on the app and the app was never used by Dr. Puffenbarger.

Fast forward to Spring 2018. While waiting for The Showker Prize Reveal event to begin Dr. Frueh mentioned that he was anticipating being able to offer to pay faculty a small amount of money to host students for dinner at their home. Coincidentally, I had recently been talking to colleagues about developing an app that would allow faculty to advertise dinner parties at their homes and allow students to book seats at their tables.

Later that summer, in a summer course, student Matthew Kelly and I developed a set of specifications and design documents for a full-service events management application that would not only serve the purpose Dr. Frueh and I discussed, but could be used by an organization to manage and advertise events across the entire organization.

I intend on developing the software, but am faced with a number of issues. First, due to various legal reasons the software cannot be hosted on college property unless the code has been vetted by an independent company. This of course costs money. Second, software requires updates and maintenance until it is no longer supported. Since I have other responsibilities, namely teaching, service, and scholarship, additional programmers are going to be needed.

It is my intent to create a legal entity, a software foundation, to develop and maintain the application. The organization would be guided by a product manager and a board of directors and would hire student interns to help develop and maintain the software. If granted tenure, over the holiday break I will begin forming an exploratory committee comprised of faculty and staff from Bridgewater College as well as people from outside the college who have expertise in establishing, funding, and running a foundation of this type. Throughout the spring semester we will create a business plan, procure initial funding, and form the entity. Quite possibly, we could hire our first intern in the fall of 2019.