CSC 599: Senior Capstone
Fall 2021

4:00-6:30 Wed
HCCA 204
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

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, and will also present two 5-10 minute biographies of computing pioneers during the semester.

Each student will complete a 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 report (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 in-person and be actively engaged in the discussion. If you must miss a class because of an emergency (non-health related), you are expected to notify the instructor as soon as possible. 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. Unexcused absences will adversely affect the student's discussion grade.

Students in this course will adhere to all Creighton community standards, including treating each other with respect and maintaining confidence with respect to comments made during discussions. 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.

Instructor office hours will be conducted in person, but Zoom meeting can be 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 18 Organizational meeting
The Social Dilemma
Reflection & discussion
25 Pioneers: Babbage (Anderson), Lovelace (Au), von Neumann (Cradeur)
The Social Dilemma (cont.)
Project discussion
bio summaries (if presenting)
Sep 1 Pioneers: Atanasoff (LeMay), Hopper (Holmes), Zuse (Ernsdorff)    NOTE: class starts at 5pm.
Articles: ACM, Laudon
Midterm paper discussion
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
Project team roster due
8 Pioneers: Turing (Finck), Shannon (Kamei), Johnson (Schwartzenberger)
Article: Loui&Miller
Paper & project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summary
Project proposal due
15 Meetings with project groups:
   Class Scheduler (4:00-4:20), Dating App (4:20-4:40), Browser Ext. (4:40-5:00),
   Shuttle App (5:00-5:20), Survey Site (5:20-5:40), RPG (5:40-6:00).
Midterm paper outline due
22 Pioneers: Englebart (Sanchez-Sandoval), Baran (Au), Noyce (Ferreyra)
Professionalism & career planning
Paper & project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
submit resume
29 Pioneers: Minsky (Lauder), Disjkstra (Scordakis), Brooks (Lorden)
Article: Bush
Project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summary
Midterm paper due
Oct 6 Pioneers: Hamilton (Sanchez-Sandoval), Liskov (Quilarto), Lawson (Cradeur)
Article: Shannon
Project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summary
20 Pioneers: Ritchie (Blaney), Cerf (Harrold), Ellis (Ulmer Schmit)
Article: Turing
Project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summary
27 Pioneers: Rivest (Schwartzenberger), Diffie (Blaney), Wozniak (Finck), Jobs (LeMay)
Articles: Hopper, Asimov
Project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
Project status report
Nov 3 Pioneers: Berners-Lee (Ernsdorff), Gates (Kamei), Dean (Ferreyra), Wolfram (Scordakis)
Articles: Brooks-2, Brooks-16
Project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
10 Pioneers: Bezos (Lorden), Torvalds (Lauder), Andreessen (Harrold), Page (Bilsland)
Project demos
Project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
Project demo
17 Pioneers: Patil (Ulmer Schmit), Mayer (Holmes), von Ahn (Quilarto), Zuckerberg (Bilsland), Wolfe Herd (Anderson)
Articles: Brin&Page
Project consultations
bio summaries (if presenting)
article summaries
Dec 1 Practice presentations Project code, Presentation slides
8 Project presentations  

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