CS373 Fall 2020: Final Entry

Hey everyone! My name is Akshay Mantri, and this is my final blog post for Software Engineering.

How well do you think the course conveyed course objectives?

This course did a fantastic job of detailing the takeaways listed at the start of the course. Professor Downing did a wonderful job of explaining the concepts. The tests reflected these concepts and the projects utilized them often.

Were there any other particular takeaways for you?

One major takeaway was to thoroughly design class and function structures within your code. It’s not fun having to refactor code in order to make it more flexible later. Designing with intent allows you to not have to worry about expanding your code later. It also makes it easier to debug code.

How did you feel about two-stage quizzes and tests?

The two-stage format for quizzes and tests is great. It allows everyone to test what they individually know as well as collaborate with others to come to a solution. It also ensures a great learning experience without a huge emphasis on scores.

How did you feel about the cold calling?

I’m a huge proponent of the cold calling in this class. The cold calling wasn’t ever an awkward experience; Professor Downing simply guides you from Point A to Point B. It’s essentially the format of his lecture. The cold calling also helps you stay up to date because no one wants to make a fool of themself in front of the class.

How did you feel about office hours?

Office hours, based on what others have told me, are relaxed and helpful. There are also plenty of office hours, so help is always right around the corner.

How did you feel about lab sessions?

Although I never went to lab sessions, I heard that they were quite useful. The projects sometimes required a little bit of clarification on either the guidelines or the code involved, and the lab sessions were great resources in address those.

Do you have any suggestions for the course?

While this course was near perfect, there were a couple of nuanced things that I would change. First, I think an excessive amount of time was given for the first project as opposed to the website project deadlines. By shortening the time given for the first project, some of the shorter deadlines for the website project could be lengthened. Additionally, some of the project requirements were a little bit unclear. It would be nice to either have a lecture explaining the different requirements or some examples for the guidelines.

Do you have any overall comments for the course?

This course was arguably both the most enjoyable and the most valuable course that I have taken at the University of Texas at Austin. The material taught during lectures contains invaluable information, and the projects help develop critical experience working with both the backend and frontend structures of a “real-world” project. Professor Downing is a fabulous professor, explaining even the most complex of software engineering ideas in a trivial manner. This course is a must-take, and I would it a 10 out of 10!

Thank you for reading about my journey through CS373: Software Engineering!