CSCI 410
Senior Seminar

Time

TR 8:15am - 9:30am

Location

CSCI 410 Senior Seminar team on Microsoft Teams

Instructor

Dr. Brent Yorgey
yorgey@hendrix.edu
(501) 450-1377
Office Hours

Overview

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.

Learning Goals

By the end of the course, you will:


Calendar

Date Topic Notes/readings/due dates
Aug 20 Syllabus & discussion  
     
Aug 25 Workshop project ideas  
Aug 27 LaTeX Project proposal due
     
Sep 1 Workshop resumes Resume/CV due
Sep 3 Discussion: setbacks Revised project proposal & work plan due
     
Sep 8 Writing & communication I: presentations  
Sep 10 2x classic paper presentations / Writing & communication II: writing Readings: Feamster; Pinker
     
Sep 15 Workshop cover letters Cover letter due
Sep 17 2x classic presentations / Abstracts & Introductions  
     
Sep 22 Progress presentations I  
Sep 24 Progress presentations II  
     
Sep 29 Discussion: ethics  
Oct 1 Workshop abstracts Abstract due
     
Oct 6 2x classic presentations / Discussion: social media  
Oct 8 Workshop introductions Introduction due
     
Oct 13 Discussion: IP & copyright  
Oct 15 Discussion: licenses & open source  
     
Oct 20 3x classic presentations / Ask Dr. Yorgey Anything day  
Oct 22 Workshop background Background due
     
Oct 27 Discussion: culture & diversity  
Oct 29 Flex day  
     
Nov 3 Flex day  
Nov 5 Workshop body sections Body draft I due
     
Nov 10 Feedback meetings with Dr. Yorgey (no class)  
Nov 12  
     
Nov 17 Body draft II due
Nov 19  
     
Nov 24  
     
Dec 2 (2-5pm) Final presentations  
Dec 3   Final paper due

Coursework

Assignments in this course should be turned in electronically via the submission form. All documents must be submitted in PDF format.

Assignment submission form


Writing assignments

Writing rubric


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 document.

Readings

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.

Presentations

Presentation rubric


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.

Classic Literature

Classic literature presentation signup


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.

Capstone Project

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 include:

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.

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 specific project.

Resume/CV

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 schools.

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.

Cover Letter

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.

Resources

Abstract/Introduction examples

Career resources

LaTeX

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 well.

Library

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.

Writing center

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 www.hendrix.edu/writingcenter/, 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 pruneda@hendrix.edu for more information.

Health & wellness

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:

Microsoft Office suite

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 website.

Expectations and policies

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.

What I expect from you What you can expect from me
Communication
  • Check your email and Teams for occasional course announcements.
  • Let me know via email or Teams message if you will need to miss class for some reason.
  • Let me know as soon as possible if you feel you are struggling, would like extra help, or have something going on that will affect your engagement in the course or your ability to fulfill your responsibilities.
  • Clearly communicate expectations, assignment details and dates.
  • Return grades and feedback on submitted work within 7 days of submission.
  • Respond to emails within 24 hours.
Preparation
  • Come prepared to fully engage in class meetings, with distractions minimized, to the best of your ability.
  • Have a concrete plan for how we will spend each class meeting, prepared to lead you through the plan.
Engagement
  • Make myself available to meet outside of class, and give you my full attention during a meeting.
  • Be committed to your learning, open to feedback and willing to respond in substantive ways to your suggestions or concerns.

Grading

Evaluation will be based on:

Attendance

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 Provost’s office.

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.

Learning Accommodations

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; brownj@hendrix.edu) to begin the accommodation process.