This semester has put me at odds with the college educational system. Now it may not be the same for every major, but as a computer science major, I’m required to take Operating Systems, CS 439 as my first upper division class. Any CS major will tell you, this is the hardest undergraduate CS course offered. In terms of time commitment and workload, it completely trumps any other class I’ve taken. You know what the worst part about it is? WE SHOULDN’T HAVE TO TAKE IT!
Operating Systems is a specialized field, for people who want to do a certain thing: Develop operating systems. If I, as a CS major, wish to become a mobile developer, or web developer, or follow any one of the numerous possible career paths for someone with a CS degree, why should I have to spend so much time in a class that I know I’m not going to do anything with EVER AGAIN?! The concept is foolish to me, and all semester long, I’ve been wondering why none of our esteemed curriculum advisers and deans have seen fit to remove this class as a requirement.
That’s why I’m grateful for CS 378/J 359T. It’s the way that I feel like classes should be organized and run. Ideally, we’re in school because we want to graduate, get a good paying job, and be successful. Some people also want to learn along the way, but let’s be honest, the majority of us are here just to get a job. Thus, classes should be geared towards doing that. Classes you take in college should help you acquire the skills to make you successful in the real world. Skills such as working in groups, acquiring new skills from the members within your group, and ultimately, having something to show for all the time you spent in class by the end of the semester.
This class serves all of those purposes. If I go on to become an app developer, my job and the process I’ll be going through everyday will be very similar to this. Taking this class will have given me knowledge and experience, even before I get into the workforce. THAT is what school should do for you. Prepare you for the real world. Not just teach you a bunch of abstract ideas and theories that you cram into your brain, but then have no real idea of how to apply them in the future.
UT would do well to pay attention to this class, and learn from the way it has been run.