All entries for Wednesday 28 November 2007

November 28, 2007

Comp Sci: A dying discipline?

Writing about web page http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,2209741,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=technology

An interesting article in the Guardian earlier this months notes that applications to study Computer Science at Cambridge are in steady decline, despite it being a well-respected department and (obviously) a prestigious institution. In 2000, 500 students applied and 100 were accepted. Last year, 210 applied and 70 were accepted.

Is this because of misconceptions about what a Comp Sci degree actually entails, or fears about employability after the dotcom crash of a few years ago? Nobody is quite sure, but one interesting comparison is with Southampton University, where applications are up by 20%, a rise which the department attributes to the ingenious strategy of integrating electronics and computer science, with the implied suggestion that a degree from Southampton would qualify you to build both the hardware and the software for the next iPod.


Datatastrophe

Writing about web page http://media.www.utahstatesman.com/media/storage/paper243/news/2007/11/26/CampusNews/Blackboards.Shutdown.Statewide-3115226.shtml

Golly. From the Utah State University Student Newspaper

Due to corrupt data in the statewide database Blackboard Vista, the system shut down, causing thousands of faculty and students at USU to lose all information submitted between Tuesday, Nov. 13 and Friday, Nov. 16.

This data is apparently irrecoverable, and at least one academic there is quoted as saying that he will have to re-mark (and his students will have to resubmit) several hundred papers, and he will have to resubmit thousands of grades into Blackboard. The system administrators plan to have a mirror server in place “by the spring term”.

Additionally, the Chronicle reports that administrators believe that the crash was caused by “a problem with a network port”. Yikes.


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