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CS Online Teaching

Proposal for minimum standards and requirements for CS online courses.

  1. Oversite - Include director of CS in the blackboard site and any other systems, as a student.
  2. Email - Reply to emails within 24 hours during the work week, within 48 hours otherwise.
  3. Discussion - Use some discussion system where students can post questions, answer each other’s questions, and the instructor can do the same.
  4. Course management template - Use the CS course management template (blackboard, syllabus, anything else that is included) that the CS faculty have agreed on.
  5. Lecture content - lecture content (asynchronous videos and/or synchronous) must be at least half as many hours as the total # of lecture-credit-hours (½ of 45, for a 3 credit hour course).
  6. Assignments - assignments are well documented in text, and proper solutions and hints are demo’ed (either by a video demo, good powerpoint, etc.).
  7. Final exam - is proctored by the university-standard proctoring service.
  8. Phone - talk on the phone/skype/etc. with each student at least once.
  9. Content and assignments - cover the same content and use the same types of assignments as the face-to-face version of the course.
  10. Regular schedule - decide during the first week of classes what the regular schedule will be for the course and stick with it. Preferred - pick two days per week when assignments can be due, and give at least 48 hours notice before any due date. Preferred - pick a few different times per week to hold live-chat office hours (using some live-text-chat system).
  11. Absence - notify students and department when you will be absent from the normal course schedule (not available for email, not delivering content on normal schedule, etc.).
  12. Grading turnaround - items graded within 1 week of due date.
  13. CS policies - abide by all standard CS course policies
  14. Abide by university guidelines

The following are suggestions from students

  1. Keep videos 20 minutes or shorter
  2. Make sure students have a way to interact with each other and instructor. Make it not for many points.
  3. Keep regular assignments (daily even) to keep students engaged and working on the course.
  4. Have enough videos and/or simulation/demos since people are mainly visual learners.

Suggestions from someone who has taught online at other universities

  1. Consistency - types of assignments, lecture content, off-line information, short web casts are the best
  2. 8 weeks or 16 or something else - 8 weeks can work, more pressure to stay on track
  3. Cheating - usual things, also can do live presentations, narrated powerpoints
  4. Training for faculty - similar to our OICC, not quite as heavyweight, have a peer review / mentor helping with first time doing one, require faculty to use each of the possible options so they know how to do it
  5. Training for students - yes for how to navigate courses, use the system, etc.
  6. Standards - actively taking care of the course (answering questions, etc.) at least 4 out of 6 days, peer review is important
  7. Requiring attendance at live sessions - could offer to let students who do this not be required to do discussion posts, etc.
  8. Hints/tips - due dates on Sunday/Saturday for flexibility, use group work, ability to get asynchronous help is very important, early assignments to get everyone on track
  9. Something - having GA/Steve help on checking for cheating, running auto-graders, etc.
  10. Department Documents
  11. Department guidelines (bylaws, P&T, etc.) are in blackboard the the department faculty have access to. The bylaws are here.

Class Visit Evaluation

When a faculty member visits another’s class, the teaching visit evaluation can be completed and sent to the person you are visiting. Syllabi The following link is the standard template used for the syllabus for CS courses -

CS Programs Committee

The director of CS is normally the chairperson of the CS Programs Committee and takes care of calling meetings, etc. When the director is on sabbatical the CS Programs Committee may be convened by the chairperson and asked to choose a chairperson for the duration of the sabbatical.

Email Lists

cs-grads, cs-ugrads, cs-alumni, cs-chat, cs-faculty, cs-advisory-board are updated through, and then Membership Management, and then either Mass Subscription to add new students or Mass Removal to remove (e.g., remove those who graduated). For the password entry, probably use https. Jeff, Steve, and Geoff are currently listed as admins; others can be added as needed. See also

Graduate admissions

point of contact - Shauna Lehman, graduate recruitment director

  1. When you get an email “Admission Status Recommendation” email from ISU-GradInfo, write to the email listed for the applicant with the “MS Applicant with a Complete Application” message below.
  2. When the applicant replies with their contact information and current resume, forward to one of the CS faculty (rotate through so all who are willing take turns) to ask for them to set up a time for the interview. Include the applicant on this message.
  3. When the CS faculty member reports back after the interview, either Admit, Deny, or Postpone the decision.
  4. # Admit - if you are admitting the student, reply to the original message from ISU-GradInfo with the decision “Admit” and give the name and id # of who their advisor will be (R.B.).
  5. # Deny - reply to the original message from ISU-GradInfo giving the decision as Deny.
  6. # Postpone - to give the applicant another chance to do better in the phone/skype interview, reply to the student with the “MS Applicant Decision - Postpone” message below.
  7. A few times during the semester, write to all applicants in the “Newly Admitted Grads MACS only” spreadsheet who applied for CS for the next term’s admission (math applicants are in the file as well), and let them know what their status is (some do not know their application is missing something). You can use the “MS Application Status” message below. The spreadsheet is automatically sent to Jeff every business day, ask him for the latest version any time.

Graduate student probation and dismissals

point of contact - department chairperson Graduate students with below 3.0 GPA are put on probation and by default retained. Having below 3.0 GPA for a second semester in a row by default results in a dismissal. Students on the dismissal list can be retained if the department recommends this. First semester students with below 3.0 GPA after the first semester can be dismissed if the department recommends this. Our standard policy has been to dismiss students with below 3.0 GPA who have an F due to cheating or plagiarism. The dean of the graduate school writes with a probation and dismissal list in the week after final grades are due, and the department needs to respond promptly if we want any of the default options changed for any of the students. Plan on checking email and replying to the dean’s message during the week that final grades are due.

Graduate Advising

Point contact - Jackie Shin, Associate Dean of CGPS, and Maria Chaqra, Asst Dir of CGE Plans of study Students should have a complete and up to date plan of study. The template is linked from The plans of study that students sent from the fall of 2017 are on the CS server in /u1/faculty-private/advising/ Application for Graduation Students receive an email at the beginning of term letting them know they need to apply to graduate if they will graduate this term. When they apply, an email with subject “NAME has applied for graduation” comes to the director and graduate advisor. The email has a link to a form to fill out to indicate if they are on track or not (the link only works from on campus or with the VPN - see for instructions about dealing with the form). You should check their plan of study and transcript to make sure it looks okay. If they have any transfer credit, it shows up in the total # of credits on their transcript, or the department admin can look it up. Graduation - Pre-Check and Final Check For those applying to graduate you will complete the graduation checkout form (mentioned above) during the semester (the pre-check) and after grades are in (the final check). Plan on having a few hours on Wednesday after final grades are in to do the final check. Other forms and information Other forms that the faculty advisor and graduate students might need are at and and

CS graduate assistants

point of contact - department chairperson Advising current GAs First time GAs should be observed if they are teaching or lecturing. First time GAs should also have their grading checked if they are grading for the first time. GAs should be encouraged to observe each other, and check each other’s grading, and offer advice to each other. Beginning of semester meeting The one supervising the GAs normally meets with them as a group before or near the beginning of the semester to discuss expectations, answer questions, etc. Weekly meeting The supervisor of the GAs can hold a brief weekly meeting with the GAs during the first part of the semester to make sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to and to answer questions. GAs should look at all the information linked off the CS homepage. Website One of the GAs can be chosen to make sure information on the website is current (particularly the labs page which tends to change every semester). Other GA duties Note - Choosing GAs for Fall 2018 See for deadlines and discussion. Normally the GAs for the next fall are chosen in April and May.

ACM Club

point contact - director of CS or department chairperson, ACM officers email list

  1. The advisor to the club signs reimbursement forms for the club treasurer (normally for pizza). The advisor should check out the normal Friday noon meeting every once in a while. The advisor might have a meeting with the officers to discuss how things are going, etc. The advisor may choose to have the officers help in running a programming contest or other events during the semester. See also
  2. Transfer credit (undergraduate)
  3. point of contact - Robin Banks, CAS Dean’s office Academic Associate
  4. CAS Dean’s office may contact you asking for what transfer credit to apply for transfer students. See for some that are already set up and the normal criterion to use in evaluating courses. The dean’s office may ask you whether to apply the transfer credit as a one-time-only for a given student, or make it the default for the institution they are coming from.
  5. Transfer credit (graduate)
  6. point of contact - Jackie Shin, Associate Dean of CGPS, and Rebecca Stinnett, CGPS
  7. CS graduate students who have graduate credit elsewhere may ask for transfer credit. See for the normal criterion to use. Note that at most 9 credits of transfer credit can be applied to the MS degree, only grades of B or higher can transfer, and the transfer course must be a graduate course while the student was a graduate student.

Cheating Czar

point of contact - department chairperson See For any cheating or plagiarism, the case should be discussed with the cheating czar. This should normally done BEFORE discussing with the student or notifying the student there is a problem. The cheating czar gives advice on how to deal with the situation and is a second opinion to confirm that the activity is indeed cheating/plagiarism.

Student Issues

point of contact - department chairperson, CAS Associate Dean Dennis Ballard


point of contact - department chairperson, CAS Associate Dean Bassam Yousif See also

OIT ATAC (Academic Technology Advisory Committee)

point of contact - Lynn Larimer, OIT Admin. Assist. and Yancy Phillips, OIT Academic Services Director This is a committee that gets updates from OIT on upcoming changes or issues and gives feedback to OIT. The committee normally meets a few times per semester.

OIT ITFG (Instructional Tools Focus Group)

point of contact - Stephanie Alexander, Faculty Fellow for Instructional Tools This group sometimes is asked for an opinion on upcoming changes in instructional tools. The discussion is through email only, there are no in person meetings.


point of contact - CS lab coordinator One of the GAs can help to make sure the information on the website is current and up to date. The directory on the CS server is /net/web/info/


point of contact - CS lab coordinator We are due up for a refresh of the unix lab and a new server. Check with Yancy Phillips once ready to start the process.


point of contact - director of CS, department chairperson Exit survey - An exit survey is sent to graduating students. The department admin can get a list of students who have applied to graduate from Argos; though note that this only includes students who have CS as their primary major. Blue Reports can give a list that includes all CS majors (whether it is listed as primary or not), but does not indicate whether a student has applied to graduate (number of credits earned and enrolled is listed). The exit survey is sent through Qualtrics; a qualtrics account. To get a qualtrics account, you should submit an OIT help desk ticket.

Programming assessment

See and The assessment should be given close to the beginning of the semester, around halfway through the semester, and multiple times towards the end of the semester. MWF noon is normally free for most CS students as a time to give the assessment; though some students have non-CS classes at this time. The class time for CS 500 (MWF 2-3) is also a time when there are no other CS courses. It is best to pick the times and days for the assessment soon and get them onto the calendar on the CS homepage.


point of contact - department chairperson Coordinate with the department chairperson on holding a reception just after graduation and inviting students and families.

CS 499

point of contact - director of CS, department chairperson See for what has been traditionally done in this course. It is 1 credit and pass/fail. Normally the following are done - have students prepare resumes, critique the resumes, invite Career Center to come talk to the class about applying for jobs, have each student find one job to apply to, give advice on tailoring their application to that job, have students practice solving problems on hackerrank, have students present solutions to hackerrank problems, have students present one project or program from one of their courses to the class. Generally, the class meets every week for 1 hour for the first 10 weeks or so of the semester.

Undergraduate Admissions

Point of contact - Regina Atkins, Assoc Dir Admissions This person meets with prospective new undergraduate students and their families. The Office of Admissions arranges for a time you are normally available on Fridays and you are notified when a student schedules a visit. You talk to the student and family about ISU in general, CS at ISU in particular, and answer questions to help them decide where the student should attend college and whether to major in CS and/or something else. See this from summer honors 2017 for an example of the type of advice you might give some of the students/families. See also If there is a date that you cannot handle, you normally ask the other CS faculty if one of them can take the appointment.

2018-2019 Schedule

point of contact - dept. chairperson, administrative assistant, director of CS The 2018-2019 schedule is linked off the CS homepage. Check your classes to make sure it looks okay.

Email Messages

The following are templates for email messages to send for various things.

MS Applicant with a Complete Application

Subject: your application to the CS MS program at Indiana State University


Cheers. I am writing regarding your application to the MS in Computer Science at Indiana State University.

The CS faculty would like to have a very brief Skype call with you to gauge whether you would be a good fit for our program. Our Skype interview includes questions on basic programming and data structures. You can see what we are looking for by checking the Skype Interview section at which includes a link to an evaluation form that we use to guide our conversation. The evaluation form also contains sample questions starting on page 2. Please check this information and be in touch when you think you are ready for the interview. You can also solve a few of the sample questions and attach those in your reply - so we can judge whether you are ready for the interview or not.

When you are ready for the Skype interview, please reply to this message. You should attach a current resume, indicate what your Skype id is, and indicate which of the following days/times work for you to do the Skype interview:
Monday 9-10am, 1-4pm
Tuesday 9am-noon
Wednesday 9-10am, 1-4pm
Thursday 9am-noon
Friday 9-10am, 1-4pm

Please feel free to take some time to prepare for the interview before replying. Do note that our normal admissions deadlines are Nov 15 for spring admission and June 15 for fall admission. Our normal deadlines for consideration for department assistantship positions is March 15 for fall intake and Oct 15 for spring intake. If you have any questions about the process please be in touch.

Best regards, Your name

MS Application Status

Subject: Status - Application to CS MS program at Indiana State University


I am writing to let you know the status of your application to the CS MS program at Indiana State University.

Your application status is: BLANK (sort the admissions spreadsheet by status and bcc all of the students with the same status, and put in BLANK what status you’re writing about - see the link below)

See for what this status means. Note that our normal application deadline for the spring is Nov 15 and for the fall is June 15. Our normal deadlines for consideration for department assistantship positions is March 15 for fall intake and Oct 15 for spring intake. If we do not have a complete application and everything we have asked for before the deadline, then you normally will not be admitted.

If you have any questions, feel free to be in touch. If you have a question about what is missing in your application, please first check your online application, and if you are still unsure then write to

MS New Admits - Welcome, etc.

Subject: Indiana State University Computer Science - Welcome!

Cheers. You are receiving this message because you have been admitted to the CS MS at Indiana State University. Information on signing up for courses is below. See also the three linked webpages which contain answers to many of your questions. Please read them all before replying to ask any questions.

Make sure to start making arrangements for where you will live in Terre Haute. My only recommendation in that regard is to not live in University Apartments unless you will have a roommate - it is pretty expensive. Write to cs-chat for recommendations from other students.

Note also that the registration system opens for registering for courses in early November for the spring classes and early April for the summer and fall classes.


Please begin by reading the following pages completely -

By default all students are put into the professional concentration. If you want to consider the academic concentration, the main requirement is that you want to work hard to be a good programmer and algorithms designer. If you are not sure, take a course from each concentration the first semester. The advising-grad page linked above has recommendations of which courses to sign up for. All new students take CS 500 (except for those who earned their BS at ISU - ISU BS students are only required to take CS 500 if you choose the professional concentration) regardless of concentration.

Follow the instructions on the graduates-new page linked above to get your ISU id and sign up for courses. Note that you can only sign up for 500 and 600 level courses.

Note that most 500 level courses (except CS 500) have prerequisites, so the system will not let you register. Please go ahead and register for the courses you can, and then write an email to me with your list of courses you would like and which you need a prerequisite override for. Include your id number in the email.

Note that adding/dropping classes on or after the first day of classes results in a fee.

All of your ISU email addresses are added to the email list. You can write to that list for advice from current and recent students. Feel free to write back to me with questions as well.

If you still need assistance in ordering an I-20, contact the Center for Global Engagement -

If you have issues setting up your ISU accounts, contact the OIT help desk at 1-812-237-2910

MS Application - Rejection

Subject: your application - Indiana State University Computer Science

Hello. I am writing to inform you of the decision on your application to the MS in Computer Science at Indiana State University. I am sorry to inform you that your application is being rejected. Please note that you are welcome to apply for a future term if you work on your basic programming skills and data structures & algorithms. If you have not done so, you should check the sample questions at the end of the interview evaluation form linked from the Skype Interview section of If you work on solving these questions and would like to know if your solutions are correct please be in touch.

We wish you the best, and feel free to be in touch if you have any remaining questions.

    • Salutation**