Pre-registration for Fall 2018

Pre-registration for Fall 2018 concluded a week ago. Our enrollments are strong once again, with all courses nearly filling or overfilling.

Number Title Enrolled Women:Men Waitlist
CS 167-A,B Intro. Computational Problem Solving 42/60 1:1 5
CS/Math 220 Discrete Math & Functional Programming 34/24 1:2.5
CS 267 Human-Computer Interaction 23/20 1:3 25
CS 270 Data Structures 19/24 1:3 3
CS 310 Computer Systems Programming 18/20 1:5
CS 320 Theory of Computation 19/20 **
CS/Math 350 Mathematical Modeling & Numerical Methods 0 enrolled as a CS course
CS 495 Capstone Project 16/16 1:7

Some narrative on particular courses:

  • Based on recent history, we expected CS 167 to fill. We intended to save 20 seats for first-year students, but admitted a few students off the waitlist who must take CS 167 in the fall to meet requirements for the 3-2 Engineering program. Amazingly, the course is gender balanced. However, most women are rising juniors and seniors, thus not potential CS majors. We will hope for a similar balance among the first-year students!
  • CS/Math 220 is overfull at 34/24. I admitted the entire waitlist of ten students to the class because all ten need this course to progress in the major. I learned a lot about grading more efficiently last fall, so I will manage. That said, next year we will likely exclude senior non-majors from pre-registration to ensure there is enough space for junior and sophomore majors first.
  • CS 267 posed the largest dilemma, with a waitlist of 31 at the end of preregistration. (Why is it always my class that has the longest waitlist? Actually, in this case I know why: It hasn’t been offered since I first arrived at Whitman in Fall 2015.) If I admitted all the juniors off the waitlist, who won’t have another chance to take this class, I would have a class of 40—which is very large by Whitman standards, and which would require a significant compromise on the team project to make grading manageable. After consulting with colleagues at Whitman and elsewhere, I decided to admit only a few students off the waitlist; no one needs this specific class to graduate. I hope to soon announce the spring elective that will be offered by our visiting faculty member. I think it will be more attractive than HCI to some students currently enrolled, which will let me consent more students off the waitlist.
  • CS 270 just filled. The remaining seats are reserved for first-year students.
  • CS 310 and CS 320 have larger enrollments than this past year, but unfortunately fewer women.
  • Enrollment in CS 495, the capstone project, reflects enrollment in the major, except for one student who is an independent major. Lots of students have been asking about how this course is going to work next year, since there were only three students in CS 495 this fall! I just moved the meeting time to the evening to resolve conflicts with other classes students want to take. (The evening meeting is a first for me. It’s past Gwendolyn’s bedtime, and class time will be mostly used for student presentations, so I’m fine with it.) Students will work in teams of 3-6; I am currently putting together a menu of projects with clients on and off campus. I will poll students on their interest in these projects during finals week, and then form/announce project teams so that students have the summer to study new technologies if they wish.




2 thoughts on “Pre-registration for Fall 2018

  1. Samuel A. Rebelsky

    I seem to recall that the last time you taught HCI at Grinnell, it was so popular that we had to add a second section. Glad to see that it’s popular there, too.

    1. Janet Davis Post author

      Indeed! That was what let me even consider teaching the class with 40 students. But with 34 in Discrete, I don’t need another large 200-level class, and it really would not be the course I had intended to offer.


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