A Comparative Study on Undergraduate Computer Science Education between China and the United States

A Comparative Study on Undergraduate Computer Science Education between China and the United States

Eric P. Jiang (University of San Diego, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7363-2.ch049


With the rapid growth of the Internet and telecommunication networks, computer technology has been a driving force in global economic development and in advancing many areas in science, engineering, health care, business, and finance that carry significant impacts on people and society. As a primary source for producing the workforce of software engineers, computer scientists and information technology specialists, computer science education plays a particularly important role in modern economic growth and it has been invested heavily in many countries around the world. This chapter provides a comparative study of undergraduate computer science programs between China and the United States. The study focuses on the current curricula of computer science programs. It in part is based on the author's direct observation from his recent visits to several universities in China and the conversations he had with administrators and faculty of computer science programs at the universities. It is also based on the author's over two decades experience as a computer science educator at several public and private American institutions of higher educations. The education systems in China and the United States have different features and each of the systems has its strengths and weaknesses. This is likely also true for education systems in other countries. It would be an interesting and important task for us to explore an innovative computer science education program, which perhaps blends the best features of different systems and helps better prepare graduates for the challenges working in an increasingly globalized world. We hope the study presented in this chapter provides some useful insights in this direction.
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2. Undergraduate Computer Science Education In The United States

Computer science started as a distinct academic discipline in the 1950s in the United States and its first computer science degree program was formed in 1962 at Purdue University. Over the years, computer science undergraduate education in the United States has been based on computing curriculum guidelines set by the two well-known professional technology societies: the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The latest complete computer science curricular volume from ACM and IEEE was released in December of 2001 (AIJTF, 2001). In order to reflect the current state of computer science and highlight future directions of the field, a joint task force from ACM and IEEE has been undertaking the development of the next new curricular volume and the volume is expected to be completed in 2013 (Sahami et al., 2011).

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