With almost 1000 students enrolled, EECS 280: Programming and Introductory Data Structures, is a core CS class that has grown in popularity. Course enrollment has increased by almost 200 students in just one year, making it the third largest course for the winter 2017 semester at U-M, and the largest course in the College of Engineering.
The course provides a foundation for programming. Students learn a variety of techniques and principles to quickly write programs that are easy for others to understand and adapt to new purposes. The instructors cover core computer science concepts and how they can be concretely realized in the C++ language.
It takes a lot of effort and organization to teach a class with such a large number of students. There are currently four faculty that teach the course including, Andrew DeOrio, James Juett, Amir Kamil, and John Kloosterman, as well as 29 student instructors. The instructors organize a number of lecture and lab sections to help guide students through the course.
“EECS 280 has great student instructors. They care about our students and they care about computer science,” said Dr. DeOrio.
There is also an extensive website that provides students with the syllabus, office hour information, assignment details, and other course materials.
The students complete 5 programming projects on various topics, lab exercises, and midterm and final exams. This allows students to work independently and collaboratively as they work towards completing the goals of the class.
Most students that complete the class go on to graduate with a degree in computer science. CS is currently the most popular undergraduate program in the College of Engineering, with 1017 declared undergraduate majors, and this number is reflected in a number of EECS courses.
The popularity of CS is no surprise; it has become a key enabler for almost every field of endeavor and holds the promise for enormous impact. Students decide to pursue a degree in CS for a number of reasons and EECS 280 allows them to take one step further to completing their degree. DeOrio says he “hopes students finish EECS 280 excited to continue learning about computer science.”