TR 8:15am - 9:30am
CSCI 410 Senior Seminar team on Microsoft Teams
Dr. Brent Yorgey
A combination of readings, writing assignments, oral presentations, and independent project work integrates the lessons from each student’s undergraduate studies. Students assess the content of formal writing about computing subjects, investigate ethical and social issues in computing, and complete a substantial independent capstone project. Students also prepare themselves for professional work by resume writing and the creation of a professional portfolio.
By the end of the course, you will:
Assignments in this course should be turned in electronically via the
submission form. All documents
must be submitted in PDF format.
This course carries W2 credit. As such, it will feature a significant
amount of various forms of writing, including multiple rounds of
drafts and revisions based on feedback. Here is a list of writing
assignments by due date. You are encouraged to use LaTeX for all
writing assignments, though it is required only for your capstone
Thursday, 27 August. Capstone/thesis project proposal (1 page).
Tuesday, 1 September. Resume/CV.
Thursday, 3 September. Revised capstone/thesis project proposal
and work plan (1-2 pages).
Tuesday, 15 September. Cover letter/research statement.
Various: classic literature summary (1-2 pages). See the
Classic Literature section below.
Various: capstone project paper (about 25 pages). See the
Capstone Project section below.
There will be short readings assigned throughout the semester to serve
as a basis for in-class discussion. See the calendar
above for an up-to-date list.
Over the course of the semester you will give several
presentations. You should put careful thought into preparing each
presentation. What story do you want to tell? How can you most
effectively communicate it with your audience? Your presentations must
use appropriate visual aids, such as slides or a whiteboard.
22/24 September: Progress report on your capstone project (10
2 December: Final project presentation (15 minutes, open to the
Various: Presentation on classic literature (see below)
Each student will pick a paper, book, or other classic computing
literature and sign up for a presentation slot. Here is a list of
suggested classic papers or books in computer science you could
choose to present:
See also this list by Michael Eisenberg. Not
everything on that list is appropriate/feasible: ask me if something
on that list catches your fancy.
If there is a particular area of computer science you are interested
in, you are also encouraged to try to find a seminal paper in that
field to present, or to ask one of the CS faculty for help in
identifying an appropriate paper in that area.
Sometime prior to your chosen date, you should meet with the other
student(s) who are also signed up for that date.
On your chosen date:
You will give your (now revised) talk to the class. Your talk
should take no more than seven minutes. Yes, I will use a timer!
You should turn in a 2-page summary/review of your chosen
paper/article/book. What are the main points? What did you learn
from it? Why is it important? Do not simply summarize the
content of the paper! You must also try to put the paper in a
larger context: for example, you might connect it to
contemporary ideas or practice, connect it to ideas encountered
in courses you have taken, and try to convey a sense for why the
paper is important/classic. This may require doing a bit of
extra research to find secondary sources that help put the paper
in context or explain why it is important.
You will complete a substantial, individual capstone project which
should tie together multiple things you have learned throughout your
time at Hendrix. The capstone project could take many forms. Some ideas
Developing a substantial piece of software, either on your own or
for a client
Writing an expository paper summarizing and synthesizing an area of
Making significant contributions to an open-source project
Writing a tutorial or other documentation for a technology or piece
Undertaking an independent research project
You are encouraged to talk with me or another member of the computer
science faculty to discuss potential ideas for your project.
You may optionally undertake a year-long thesis project, which must be a
research project, and is a prerequisite for graduating with distinction.
You must discuss this with a potential faculty mentor and commit to a
year-long thesis by Thursday, 3 September. Note that after September 3
you may not “upgrade” a semester project into a year-long thesis;
however, the opposite is always an option: if you start out doing a
year-long thesis but decide by the end of the semester that you do not
wish to continue, you may “downgrade” it to a semester capstone project
with no penalty.
Thursday 27 August: First draft of project proposal due (1 page).
Your project proposal should be about 1-2 pages, and should answer the questions:
In addition, if you wish to do a year-long thesis project you
should indicate this in your proposal.
Thursday 3 September: Revised project idea (1 page) and work
plan due. Last day for committing to a year-long thesis project.
After receiving feedback on your initial proposal, you should turn in
a revised version that takes the feedback into account.
Along with your revised proposal, you should turn in a “work
plan”, up to 1 page explaining how you will make time to work on
your capstone or thesis project. Be as specific as possible. Be
creative in coming up with very specific ways to help yourself
succeed. Some examples:
Horrible: “I will work on my project 5 hours per week.” This
plan gets an F.
Bad: “I will work on my project from 2-4pm every Tuesday and
from 9-noon every Sunday.” Better, but still probably a D.
Better: “Every Tuesday from 2-4pm, I will go to the park near
my house which is a good distraction-free place for me to
work. If it is raining I will sit at my desk instead. I will
turn off my phone and put Teams in “Do Not Disturb” mode. For
the first 4 weeks of the semester I will spend those two hours
doing background reading; I will print papers I want to read
ahead of time and write notes in the margins as I read. On
Sundays, …” and so on. Probably a B.
I will leave you to imagine what an A plan looks like.
22/24 September: You will give a 10-minute in-class presentation
reporting on your progress so far.
1 October: Turn in a first draft of your abstract.
8 October: Turn in a first draft of your introduction (2-5
22 October: Turn in a first draft of your background section
5 November: Turn in a draft of the first half of your paper
body (10 pages or so).
17 November: Turn in a draft of the second half of your paper
body, and a revised version of the first half.
2 December: 15-minute final presentation (open to the public).
3 December: Final revised paper due, unless you pick a later
Note: all the above deadlines still apply even if you undertake a
year-long thesis; but in that case you will be turning in a partial
version of your thesis rather than a finished draft. Consult with me
or your advisor to figure out what makes the most sense for your
Due: Tuesday, 1 September
You should make either a resume or a curriculum vitae (CV). A resume
is appropriate if you are interested in obtaining a non-academic
job. A CV may be appropriate if you intend to apply to graduate
On the date it is due, make sure to have your resume/CV available as a
PDF, so you can easily share it with classmates.
Here are a few resources explaining what should go in a resume or a CV:
There are tons of other explanations and examples online; just search for more examples.
Due: Tuesday, 15 September
You should write a one-page cover letter or personal statement,
tailored to a particular type of opportunity. If possible, you should
find a specific job advertisement or graduate program you are
interested in, and tailor your cover letter to that.
On the day it is due, make sure you have your cover letter in a format
that can easily be shared remotely. You should also be prepared to
share a link to a particular job advertisement or graduate program you
are targeting. If you are not targeting a specific opportunity, then
you should bring a 1-paragraph description of the sort of opportunity
you intend to target.
You must write your capstone project or thesis document using
LaTeX on the
overleaf site. You are encouraged,
but not required, to complete other writing assignments using LaTeX as
Here is a
template you can use
as a basis for your capstone paper. Note, if you are doing a
semester-long project, you should change the word “thesis” to
The LaTeX wikibook is a good
Not-so-short introduction to LaTeX
is another good comprehensive reference.
Here is a
list of LaTeX math symbols.
Detexify lets you draw
a symbol and then tells you likely LaTeX commands to produce it.
The LaTeX Table Generator lets
you easily generate LaTeX tables via a visual editor.
Bailey Library’s mission is to collaborate and empower all members of
our community so that they become their best selves, cherish the scope
of human knowledge, and positively contribute to the world. Whether
face-to-face or remote, librarians are happy to help locate quality
resources supporting research and classroom work and to assist with
the critical evaluation of academic information. Librarians and
Library Associates provide individual research assistance by
appointment and video chat or by email. The library building is open
Monday-Friday 8-5pm, but access to the library’s online resources is
available 24/7. You can visit the library’s
website for more information,
to book an appointment, and to access the library’s Discovery search,
Class Guides, and databases.
The Writing Center continues to support the Hendrix community
online. Contact us to work on your projects with a peer Writing
Associate. We can assist you in all fields and genres, from the
brainstorming stage to revising a full draft. You can schedule an
appointment in advance or for the moment of booking. Simply visit
click on “Book an Appointment,” and follow the instructions. For all
services, you will have two options: synchronous assistance (through
a Teams video or audio chat) and asynchronous assistance (where you
email us your work and we respond with our feedback). Choose the
option that best suits you! Please contact
firstname.lastname@example.org for more
If you are struggling with your health in a way that makes it
difficult for you to fulfill your responsibilities in the course,
please let me know! I would love to work with you to come up with
reasonable and realistic accommodations to help you succeed in the
course. There are also several resources available to all Hendrix
students, even remotely:
The Hendrix Medical
offers both in-person and tele-health appointments; Hendrix students
get three free appointments per semester.
The Hendrix Office of Counseling
Services also offers free
remote appointments, and can help with a host of issues such as
stress, anxiety, depression, grief, or relationship difficulties.
Call 501-450-1448 to make an appointment.
All Hendrix students have access to the Microsoft Office software
suite (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). To download Microsoft
Office, follow the instructions on the Hendrix HelpDesk
Although you and I play different roles in the course, we both have
your learning as a common goal. There are things I expect from you as
a student in the course, but there are also things you can expect of
me as the course instructor and facilitator.
If I am not fulfilling my responsibilities outlined below, you are
welcome (and encouraged!) to call me out, perhaps via the anonymous
feedback form. I will also
initiate a conversation if you are not fulfilling yours. However, none
of us will meet all of the expectations perfectly—me included!—so
it’s also important that we have grace and patience with one another.
Evaluation will be based on:
Our class will meet synchronously every Tuesday and Thursday
from 8:15-9:30am in Microsoft Teams. If you wish to request approval
to participate in class asynchronously, you must apply to the
Attendance is required, and you will receive points for attendance and
active participation in group activites. If you know you will need to
be absent on a particular day, please let me know ahead of time by
sending an email or a message in Teams.
The default mode of attendance should be with your video on. I
recognize that you may have good reasons (either technical or
personal) for turning off your video, and will not ask questions.
However, if you are able, I highly encourage you to keep your video on
for the most part, since it contributes substantially to everyone’s
sense of engagement and connection (not least of all my own!).
With all that said, it’s easy for connection issues to occasionally
prevent you from attending despite your best intentions. If this
happens just let me know! I certainly do not want to penalize you
for events outside your control.
It is the policy of Hendrix College to accommodate students with
disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law. Any student who needs
accommodation in relation to a recognized disability should inform the
instructor at the beginning of the course. Students should also
contact Julie Brown in the Office of Academic Success (505.2954;
email@example.com) to begin the accommodation process.