11 Aug 2008--starting out

Aaron, Soojin, Joshua, King, Jung, and Mark met in 3100 Klaus, and Charles joined us by conference call.
The meeting focused on the computational needs of students in Biology.

We came with a set of action items:

There was a good bit of interest in developing a NEW CS1 (in parallel with CS1315, CS1301, and CS1371) which would use Biology as a context. The idea would be to create a class in computational science, using Biology as the particular science on which the class would be designed. Charles told us about their experience at Spelman, and the need for a textbook to make a course for freshmen work.

Mark described the process used in the MediaComp and Robotics CS1 efforts.
  1. Basically, we came up with some particularly cool assignments – things that students would want to be able to do, that they would find relevant and interesting.
  2. We then figured out what computing the students would need in order to be able to do these assignments. Negation didn't require more than iteration, but background subtraction and chromakey also needed conditionals.
  3. We then continued to backfill, finding other examples from the domain to serve as intermediate projects working toward the bigger goals. So we do increasing/decreasing volume, and changing individual color values in MediaComp.
  4. We then review the CS concepts we're covering and see if there's anything left to be a real CS1. We then add CS concepts and projects from the domain to complete our desired scope.

Mark will call (in early Sept.) for a monthly meeting. In the meantime, everyone is charged with coming up with the canonical examples that we can design a BioCS1 around.

Here's the Whiteboard as we left: (Click on it to see a full-size version.)