CSC 599: Senior Capstone
Fall 2020

4:00-6:30 Wed
Eppley 111
Dr. David Reed
209A Hitchcock      x2583

Text: There are no required texts for this course. Students will read numerous articles, which are publically available and linked in the syllabus.

Prerequisite: Computer Science & Informatics major, Senior standing

Course Description

This project-based capstone is intended for computer science seniors. Students will meet weekly to discuss seminal papers and issues in computer science, many of which will focus on the ethical and professional responsibilities of computer scientists. In addition, each student will co-design, implement, and present a project that integrates computer science content from his or her major courses. It is expected that the project will involve building a software and/or Web-based product, such as database of resources for a non-profit organization, a mobile app for locating classrooms on campus, or an interactive, multimedia Web site for a student group.

Specific objectives:

This course meets the Magis Core requirements for Designated Ethics and Designated Oral Communication. As such, it has the following additional goals:

Course Organization

This course is considered by the university to be an In-Person Instruction SD100 course. Instructors and students attend synchronous classes on campus in the designated classroom for 100% of course times. If you must miss a class because of an emergency (non-health related), you are expected to notify the instructor as soon as possible. If you are sick, please do not come to class. In the event of illness (fever/chills, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat, lack of taste/smell, etc.) please register your condition with the COVID-19 Screening App CampusClear and notify the instructor. Even if you can't attend class, you won't fall behind. If necessary, class sessions can be recorded for students who are unbale to attend. Be aware that all class materials posted on Blueline, including recorded discussions, are considered to be copyrighted and are intended to be used only by students enrolled in that class, for the purposes of fulfilling the course objectives. Sharing any of these materials with others outside of the course will be considered "misuse of academic resources," as defined in the Creighton University Student Handbook as an act of academic misconduct, and students can be penalized, up to and including failure of the course.

The class will meet weekly to discuss current and historical papers in computer science. Many of these papers will focus on ethical issues in computer science, and the responsibilities of computing professionals. Students will provide summaries of each paper before the assigned discussion period. Each student will also prepare and give two 10-minute biographical presentations on computer science pioneers.

Each student will complete a 5-10 page midterm paper on the ethical issues related to a real-world situation. This will involve researching different viewpoints, taking a position, and justifying that position using data and supporting arguments. An example topic might be the case of Edward Snowden, exploring whether his actions were ethical and justified.

In addition, students will work in 3-person teams to design, develop, and present a software project. The project must integrate content from the computer science curriculum. For example, developing a mobile application that connects to a customer database would integrate concepts from Data Structures, Web Programming, and Databases.

The final grade for the course will be based on the following weightings:

Seminar-style discussions 25%
Biographical presentations 10%
Midterm paper
    paper outline (5%)
    midway checkpoint (20%)
Capstone project
    project proposal (4%)
    project status survey (3%)
    project demo (3%)
    deliverables (15%)
    practice presentation (5%)
    presentation (10%)

At the minimum, departmental grading cutoffs for the final average will apply. That is, 93-100% guarantees an A, 90-92 an A-, 87-89% a B+, 83-86% a B, 80-82 a B-, 77-79% a C+, 73-76% a C, 70-72 a C-, and 60-70% a D. Depending on class performance, some shifting of grades (in an upward direction only) may occur as final letter grades are assigned.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend each class meeting and contribute to discussions. Absences will adversely affect the student's discussion grade.

It is expected that all students check their Creighton email accounts regularly. Official announcements, such as assignment revisions or class cancellations, will be distributed through Creighton email.

Students in this course will adhere to all Creighton community standards. Students will properly wear a mask in class and maintain 6-feet of distance between individuals whenever possible. Students will be required to enter and leave classrooms in a socially distant manner. For this reason, the instructor will plan to dismiss you in rows. In addition, you will have assigned seating for the purposes of contact tracing. You are required to sanitize your work area upon arrival and departure with the provided supplies.

Instructor office hours will be conducted via Zoom, with face-to-face (but socially distanced) meetings scheduled by request.

Policy on Collaboration

Creighton's policy on cheating and plagiarism is spelled out in the Student Handbook, with college procedures available online. In addition, the Capstone project must be an original work of the student or team of students for this course. When the project builds upon existing ideas or code, the sources must be appropriately referenced.

Weekly Schedule (check regularly for updates)

Date Discussion Due
Aug 19 Organizational meeting  
26 Pioneers: Babbage (Libby), Lovelace (Oliveros)
Articles: Pancake, ACM
Project updates
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
Project team roster due
Sep 2 Pioneers: von Neumann (Damon), Atanasoff (Libby)
Articles: Laudon, Loui&Miller
Midterm paper discussion
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
Project proposal due
9 Pioneers: Hopper (Burgmeier), Nakashima (King), Zuse (Banister)
Movie Night: 2014, 2016, 2016, 2019, 2020
Project updates
bio summaries (if presenting)
16 Zoom meetings with project groups (scheduled on Zoom)  
Midterm paper outline due
23 Pioneers: Turing (Baartman), Shannon (Tavis), Johnson (Burgmeier)
Movie Night II: The Social Dilemma
Paper & project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
30 Pioneers: Engelbart (Phelps), Baran (Elsesser), Noyce (Fernandes)
Professionalism & career planning
Paper & project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
submit resume
Midterm paper due
Oct 7 Pioneers: Minsky (Damon), Dijkstra (Opocensky), Brooks (Smith)
Article: Bush
Project updates
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
14 Pioneers: Hamilton (Oliveros), Knuth (Tavis), Liskov (Geoly)
Article: Shannon
Project updates
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
21 Pioneers: Ritchie (Wilson), Cerf (Baartman), Rivest (Opocensky)
Article: Turing
Project updates
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
Project status survey
28 Pioneers: Diffie (King), Wozniak (Yang), Jobs (Geoly)
Articles: Hopper, Asimov
Project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
Nov 4 Pioneers: Berners-Lee (Phelps), Gates (Wilson), Dean (Smith)
Project Demos
bio summaries (if presenting)
Project demo
11 Pioneers: Bezos (Chun), Torvalds (Yang), Andreessen (Elsesser),
                Page (Banister), Nakamoto (Fernandes), Zuckerberg (Chun)
Articles: Brooks (Chapters 2 & 16)
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
18   Project due, practice presentations
24 Project presentations  

Creighton University may modify, suspend, or postpone any and all activities and services immediately and without notice because of force majeure causes beyond Creighton's control and occurring without its fault or negligence including, but not limited to, acts of god, fire, war, governmental action, terrorism, epidemic, pandemic, weather, national emergencies, or other threats to the safety of students or staff. Creighton may, at its option, alter the academic schedule or provide alternate instruction modalities to meet course objectives and competencies and program outcomes, including, but not limited to, distance or remote learning, until such time as Creighton determines normal operations may resume safely.