Computer Science – Additional Information VOH

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FAQs

FAQs Computer Science

Other than possibly taking some time to know your way around the buildings and probably some nervousness, in many ways, it could be very similar to your high school experience. Teachers will (eventually) know your name, like in high school. Our department, in particular, is a small one with at most 60 students in each of the 3 years. You will get to know your classmates and teachers well over the course of your DEC. Almost all our classes are in one of our 4 labs, on the 3rd floor of Penfield. Our program video (available at the top of the program page: http://www.johnabbott.qc.ca/academics/career-programs/computer-science-technology/) gives you an idea of what the labs look like. The department offices are right below, on the 2nd floor. We have an open door policy - you could always come by and ask a question or talk about anything. Never hesitate to stop by! In general, remember that this is a transitional time in your life - your first semester could be stressful as you adjust to your new environment. The College does offer a lot of resources if you feel like you are struggling - see below.
There is generally an increase in workload from your experience at the high school level. You will have to organize and plan your work more independently. You are in charge of your education, teachers will not chase after you for assignments. You will have 7 to 8 classes (20-25 hours/week of classes) each with assignments, tests and projects. Our program, in particular, involves a lot of coding assignments and projects. It is not rare to spend a lot of time stuck on a coding bug, design, or problem. It is therefore even more important to get started on your assignments and projects promptly. Giving yourself the time to work through your assignments and projects and struggling at times, will help you develop lots of skills that are essential in the field. You work on your assignments during class time and on your own time. Students often also work in the labs when there are no classes being held (see the schedules on the lab doors). Often, students work alongside their peers, but be careful about plagiarism. The college has strict policies - incidents of cheating are reported and taken very seriously.
Computer Science is a hands-on field. In addition to all the competencies you will attain, you will gain a lot of insight on best practices, techniques, approaches, and industry standards while in class. Attendance and interactive work are especially important in our program. Learning to work through problems and how to be effectively resourceful are all skills you will develop in this active learning environment.
There are two semesters per school year - Fall and Winter. There is also a Summer semester but no Computer Science program courses are offered. You have to register for each semester. Our department first schedules your Computer Science courses (all these course numbers start with 420) and you then fit any general education or complementary courses into that schedule yourself. Your progression chart shows what courses are usually taken in what semester. Many courses are prerequisites for others. Our program courses are only offered once a year (fall courses only in the fall). If you fail a prerequisite, you will not be able to take the dependent course and could delay your graduation by a year. The courses for every year of the program can be seen in the course path section of our program page: http://www.johnabbott.qc.ca/academics/career-programs/computer-science-technology/
You will receive a course outline in every course at the beginning of each semester. It acts like a contract between teachers and students and establishes what essays, tests, lab reports, etc. will make up the class mark. The ponderation for every course is also specified in the course outline. Its three numbers indicate, per week, the number of lecture hours, the number of lab hours and the number of expected hours of homework.
As in high school, the passing grade is 60%. You will also hear about R-scores. This is a statistical method which classifies college students' academic performances in Quebec, relative to many factors.
Part of being more independent is asking for help when you need it. Our college is a wealth of resources. The main purpose of many services is to help students - academic success, academic advising, health and wellness, are some such services. There is even one specifically created to help first year students - the First Year College Experience office. Don’t wait if you are struggling. All your teachers have office hours. Seeing your teachers as soon as you are having any trouble will ensure you get access to all the resources available to you and get timely help.
The Fall 2020 cohort is the second of the new program overhauled by the government in order to make it more pertinent to the industry. You’ll hear the new program referred to as B0, officially 420.B0 (420 being the Computer Science program code). The ‘old’ program is referred to as A0 or 420.A0.
In your last semester you will spend 3 out of the 5 days of every week on an internship. This tends to be an incredible learning experience for our students. The real work environment application of everything you learned caps off your DEC. The department coordinates the stages and seeks input from each student about their preferences. Students interview for the offered positions, but all students are placed in a stage.
There are some scholarships offered in our program, as well as programs and recruitment efforts from employers - your teachers will inform you of them as they come up. In addition, some companies have presentations on campus in the hopes of recruiting students for summer or full time positions upon graduation.
Again, as a small department, we are quite close knit. We usually have a pizza welcome event to start off the semester. At the end of every semester, there is a LAN party which typically consists of a night of games run by the students with the department funding and help. The department runs a dev club throughout the year. All program students (from any year) can join. The club meets weekly to work on projects that are of interest to the group.
Many of our graduating students go into the workforce full-time. If you are interested in continuing your studies in university, it is up to you to check the current admission requirements for the program and school you would like to apply to. Some programs require you to have taken Calculus I, Calculus II and Linear Algebra in order to apply, others do not. Some of our students prefer taking these courses at CEGEP, others prefer to defer them to take as part of their university program, although this may increase the length of time it takes to complete the degree - the implications are to be investigated and weighed by you. The department does attempt to ensure that at least one section of Calculus I, Calculus II and Linear Algebra fit into the program course schedules of any students that inform us of their intent to take these courses. In order to be able to take these courses, the students must have them added to their progression chart by contacting Academic Advising. Some universities give our graduates advanced standing towards a Bachelor’s degree, as described in the Program page (http://www.johnabbott.qc.ca/academics/career-programs/computer-science-technology/).
This will be decided on the College level in accordance with government guidelines. As a department, we will follow these guidelines. We have been preparing our courses to be able to go ahead online just as well as on campus tol be ready for either scenario.
All in all, expect to learn a lot and to grow as a person and as a professional. You will tackle computer science in its many aspects, from problem-solving approaches, design, technical skills, effective communication and work methodologies. Many of our students find their CEGEP career to be a wonderful experience. It opens up new educational experiences within and beyond the program - your CEGEP offers a wealth of activities, clubs and events that will help you expand your interests. We look forward to welcoming you to start experiencing it all in August!