your feedback…

Thanks for your feed back. This is the first time that CIS50 has been offered in this format – no textbook, mostly online discussions, collaborative writing, lifecycle project. All these pieces work in other courses. But this is the first time they have all been used together. What is missing – a few really great examples for each activity and reference. You can help me and the rest of the class by finding examples of resources that do a good job of demonstrating developing information systems.

I’m adding videos as I find ones that are appropriate to the topics. If you have suggestions, please pass them along. There are 1000s of great videos to pick from so this is a big job. I would appreciate your help finding the best ones for the course topics.

There were many great suggestions and questions in the responses about the class so far. Here are some specific points that came up about the course and the activities.

Do you do the “I know” activity for a topics before or after reading for the keywords? This activity is intended to get you thinking about what you know about the topic BEFORE doing any of the other activities for the topic. It is a warm up. It is  helpful to establish your own starting point for learning new information about the topic.

You are not required to read all the articles. There are options provided so you can pick a couple to read that seem most suitable to your interests and knowledge level. Everyone in the class comes with different background understanding of the topics. I suggest that you skim through several, and read 2-3.

To prepare for the Midterm, just read through the instructions.  If you are curious, the information about the Midterm is all available and accessible now. The midterm is a summary assignment – you will have to review the topics we have covered to date, and provide some analysis in order to respond.

All the course material is accessible throughout the semester. You can access it at any time. Most of the activities involve discussions. You can post your research in advance if you wish. That is actually a big benefit – there is something for others to respond to when they come to the discussion. The active discussions need to be in the week of the topic so others will be posting to the discussions throughout the week.

Anyone can create a Wikipedia account and contribute – I have done this some time ago. There are editors for each section and topic. Some students have contributed. However, a few found that the editors edited or removed some their submissions. But if you are interested, you can contribute to Wikipedia. That’s the whole idea.

I’m still getting  submissions where someone has copied information from a source and has not said it was copied or include the reference or link to the source. This is plagiarism and will receive a failing grade if you continue to submit copied, un-cited work as your own.

Thanks for the generally positive feedback about the textbooks, or lack of textbooks. This course really is better without one, I think. Textbooks become outdated very quickly in this field. There are so many great web resources that do a better job of educating than many of the textbooks. You have been a big help, finding a sharing really good resources in the search activities and discussions.

The rest of the course looks at information systems and applications in more detail, now that you have the basics. The examples are more specific and explore how the hardware and software become these impressive functioning systems that we often take for granted. Enjoy.

Everyone has personal or work issues from time to time. Please let me know as soon as you can. You can still finish up assignments for this week for partial credit. It is important that you do all the work, even if it is late. If you have a serious problem and you let me know, we can work out a plan so you can stay current and complete the past due assignments as your schedule permits.

If you have questions, please ask. Asking in the Question forum is beneficial to everyone. Others are likely having the same concerns. However, if you prefer to ask a question directly, you can use the Catalyst email – right navigation menu, or email me directly at

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