Engagement Activities

We will be offering several opportunities this quarter to increase engagement in the class. Some of these will involve exploring extra computer science topics and some will be targeted at increasing the sense of community in the 142 class. These sessions will be hosted on Zoom. You will accumulate one "engagement point" for each session that you attend. At the end of the quarter, your total engagement points will be divided by 3 and will be added to your homework points. There will be approximately 150 homework points total, so this isn't adding a lot to your potential score. As an example, if you were to participate in 3 engagement sessions, you would have 1 point added to your homework points, which is like getting one more point on a weekly programming assignment. The idea is to give people a small reward, but not something that is so large that people feel obligated to participate in these optional sessions. You can get fractions of a point (e.g., getting two-thirds of a point for attending 2 sessions).

We will have a question of the day for each lecture where we ask students to answer a survey question. We hope that these questions will provide an opportunity to find out more about the students in the class. Some will be more serious, but we are also interested in having some fun questions. We are encouraging students to submit questions that you think we should be asking. If we pick one of your questions, you will get an extra engagement credit. You can only get one engagement credit for question suggestions.

Submit your question here

Engagement Sessions Schedule

Thursdays 5-6 PM on Zoom

This schedule is subject to change. We will send an announcement email a few days before each session with information about the topic for that session and the Zoom link. The Zoom link will also be available on the Zoom Links page. In order to receive the extra credit, you must arrive at the Zoom meeting on time, and you must stay until the end.

Week 10: Hackathon -- Thursday, June 4th, 5:00-6:00 on Zoom

For Week 10 we are hosting the first ever CSE 142 Hackathon! A hackathon is a sprint-like design event typically held over a few days. Ours will instead be over the course of the week. This is your chance to program something that you think is interesting or to solve a problem that you've observed using computer science.

Your project must be in Java and it must be your own work. You are allowed to use advanced material (e.g. multidimensional arrays, arraylists, recursion, other data structures like trees, stacks, queues).

You will have the opportunity to show us your project during next week's engagement session! Please fill out this form by Thursday, June 4th at 12 PM PST if you'd like to demo your project.

To get extra credit this week, you do not need to participate in the hackathon; you are welcome to simply attend the engagement session and see what your peers have done. But we encourage anyone interested in creating a project to do so -- there will be prizes!

Week 9: Professional Panel -- Thursday, May 28th, 5:00-6:00 on Zoom

Join us this week for a special professional panel! We are happy to host four guest speakers working in the computing industry at tech companies such as Microsoft as well as nonprofits and smaller tech companies. We will hear about what they did in college, what life in the industry looks like, and more. These panelists were once introductory college students just like you -- and three of them are UW alumni! This is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have or to seek some advice. Hope to see you there!

Week 8: Trivia Night -- Thursday, May 21st, 5:00-6:00 on Zoom

Join us for a fun night of trivia! We will be hosting games featuring general CS trivia with the possible additions of UW trivia and trivia that has been modified from CSE 142 midterms and finals. No prizes for winning -- except bragging rights! Hope to see you there!

Week 7: Diversity in Tech -- Thursday, May 14th, 5:00-6:00 on Zoom

In Week 3 we saw how the code that computer scientists and software engineers write influences the world in which it operates. But the identities of computer scientists and software engineers also directly affect the technology we create. Research has shown that more diverse groups benefit company culture as well as product development. During this Engagement Session we will watch two Ted Talks on the topic of diversity in tech. As always, be prepared to discuss with your peers!

Please take the mid-quarter feedback survey here!

Week 6: No Engagement Session this week!

Week 5: Debugging -- Thursday, April 30th, 5:00-6:00 on Zoom

It's week 5, and by now you've had some experience writing Java code and fixing it (debugging). But what are good strategies for debugging? How do you identify different types of errors, like compiler errors, runtime errors, or just unexpected output? Join us this week to learn more about effective debugging. We will have a short presentation on debugging strategies and then a hands-on debugging session on a problem similar to Homework 4 (Admissions) -- be prepared for group work!


Week 4: History of Computing -- Thursday, April 23rd, 5:00-6:00 on Zoom

Computers and the power of computing have changed the world, but despite their popularity today, the concepts behind computers are centuries old. How were computers invented and how have they changed throughout the years? Join us this week to watch a short documentary on the history of computing followed by a short discussion. BYOP (bring your own popcorn) and as always be prepared to discuss with your peers!

Week 3: Computer Ethics and Self-Driving Cars -- Thursday, April 16th, 5:00-6:00 on Zoom

The code that computer scientists and software engineers write influences the world in which it operates. These issues -- how different groups of people interact with our products, what social issues our products affect or ignore, the environmental cost of computing, where we get our data from -- fall under the broad umbrella of computer ethics. This week we will be talking about computer ethics in relation to one particular product: self-driving cars. During this Engagement Session we will read a short article and play around with a simulation showcasing how self-driving cars may make decisions. As always, be prepared to discuss with your peers -- and bring any questions you may have about the field of computer ethics!

Week 2: Town Hall -- Thursday, April 9th, 5:00-6:00 PM on Zoom

This week you will have the opportunity to chat with other students and TAs about the current situation: online classes, the stay-at-home order, and the pandemic. How are you doing (in general)? Has your living situation changed? How are your other classes going? Do you have any new hobbies? What strategies or lifestyle changes have you made to cope with the current situation? What are you worried about for the next few months? What are you looking forward to? Please come prepared to share your experiences and listen to others share theirs.