Computer Science

Follow your passion for Computer Science

One of the fastest-growing job markets is that of computing. Majoring in either Computer Science or Management Information Systems at Loras College will prepare you for a successful career in one of the hottest industries today. Both majors include common-core coursework in Computing and Information Technology (CIT) fundamentals, programming, networking and databases. Many of our students win annual awards and scholarships, and present papers at national conferences. And in the last decade, nearly 100% of Computer Science program students reported obtaining employment or entry into graduate school within one year of graduation. If you like to be challenged, think logically, and are curious and creative, these may be the majors for you.

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GETTING INVOLVED – STUDENT CHAPTER OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR COMPUTING MACHINERY

What is ACM?

The Loras College ACM organization is a student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. Its purpose is to enhance the appreciation for computer science in both students and faculty, to encourage further study in computer science and to provide opportunities to explore new developments and careers in the field of computer science.

What does the ACM do?

The Loras ACM Club has many events throughout the year, ranging from the informative to the fun. The club takes trips to places of interest, including IBM in Rochester, MN. In addition, the club sponsors talks by faculty from Loras and other colleges. Each year, several social gatherings are held to allow students to mingle with faculty along with their peers. Traditionally, the club enjoys Christmas caroling and the Year-End Picnic with the Loras College Mathematics Club. The club is also involved in a service project each year.

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MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTER INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS

AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS

Mathematics and Computer Information Technology annually offer several awards and scholarships to students taking related courses. Some are available only to those majoring in Mathematics or Computer Information Technology while others are available to first-year students, regardless of their intended major. Winners are selected by Mathematics and Computer Information Technology faculty, and awards are presented at a ceremony each spring.

Computer Information Technology Awards and Scholarships

  • McKesson HBOC Scholarship — awarded since 1999.
    Two $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually. Candidates must be in their final year of study in Computer Science or Management Information Systems (MIS). Eligible candidates usually apply in April of each year and are required to submit a current transcript and an essay regarding their qualifications. A successful candidate will have excelled academically, been involved in extracurricular activities and demonstrated financial need. The recipients are chosen by representatives of McKesson HBOC along with Loras Accounting and Business, Mathematics and Computer Science faculty.

Past winners include: Sara Wieland, 2003; Deanna Ernzen, 2002; Angela Starkey (CS), 2001; Theodore Swanson (CS) and Curtis Kuhn (MIS), 2000; and Kevin Klemke and Erik Sterud, 1999.

  • Computer Information Technology Alumni Award — awarded since 1986.
    Candidates must be graduating seniors and nominated by a faculty member teaching a computer science-related course. Each candidate is asked to submit an essay detailing how they plan to use their experience in the future. The winner is selected by faculty vote. Recently, winners have garnered $100, a certificate and a nameplate engraved in their honor and displayed in Hennessy Hall.

Mathematics Awards and Scholarships

  • First-Year Mathematics Award — awarded since 1980.
    Recent winners have received $100 and a certificate in addition to the coveted handshake from the department chairperson. Candidates must be first-year students and nominated by a department faculty member. Each nominee is asked to submit a mathematical autobiography, and the winner(s) are chosen by department vote. Winners’ names are proudly displayed on nameplates near the main entrance of Hennessy Hall.
  • Droessler Scholarship — awarded since 1994.
    A scholarship in the amount of $2,000 is awarded annually from the endowment graciously provided by Dr. Earl Droessler, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University. Dr. Droessler is a 1942 graduate of Loras College. A candidate for this scholarship must have either junior or senior standing, have declared a mathematics major and have a minimum 3.0 GPA in all courses. Strong candidates will have shown creativity and devotion to their study of mathematics and the liberal arts in general, and be involved in extracurricular activities. Candidates are nominated by department faculty members, and winners are selected by a vote of the department faculty.
  • Sullivan Applied Mathematics and Science Award — awarded since 2001.
    Recipients receive $500. The Sullivan award is intended to reward and provide further motivation for female majors in Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics or Engineering. Candidates for this annual award must maintain a 3.5 GPA and have demonstrated quality course selection in the pursuit of a liberal arts education.
  • Father Louis Ernsdorff Senior Math Award — awarded since 1980.Winners of the award receive $100, a certificate and a nameplate engraved in their honor and displayed in Hennessy Hall. Candidates for this award must be graduating seniors nominated by a faculty member in the department. The winner is then selected by a vote of the department faculty.

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DUHAWK DISTINCTION: ONCE A DUHAWK – ALWAYS A DUHAWK

Over 150 alums have graduated with a related information technology major over the past 20 years. Loras College alums are important contributors to their communities, states and country. Many continue a life of service starting during their college days and lasting throughout their professional lives.

Computing alums have gone on to successful careers in large, mid-sized and small businesses including organizations such as:

  • Allstate Insurance: Northbrook, IL
  • Cottingham and Butler: Dubuque, IA
  • CUNA Mutual Group: Madison, WI
  • IBM Corporation: Rochester, MN
  • John Deere & Company: Moline, IL
  • McGladrey & Pullen: Dubuque, Davenport, IA
  • Principal Financial Group: Des Moines, IA
  • Rockwell Collins: Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Walgreens: Chicago, IL
  • Wells Fargo: Des Moines, IA

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LORAS COLLEGE MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTER SCIENCE FAST FACTS

  • Within the last decade, nearly 100% of those who graduated from the Loras College Computer Science program reported obtaining employment or entry into graduate school within one year after graduation.
  • Computer Science students have attended and presented papers and won awards before graduation at conferences of national professional organizations.
  • The Loras College Mathematics and Computer Science programs offer several awards and scholarships yearly to students. We also offer support to students who wish to grade student papers, work in the Loras College Mathematics Lab or work as peer assistants.
  • Loras College faculty is extremely active in the academic and civic communities. Faculty members are volunteers for several local organizations including different churches and scouting organizations. All Computer Science faculty members regularly attend and present at local, regional and national professional conferences.

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Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes – Computer Science
1. Analyze a complex computing problem and to apply principles of computing and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions.
2. Design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of computing requirements in the context of the program’s discipline.
3. Communicate effectively in a variety of professional contexts.
4. Recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles.
5. Function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the program’s discipline.
6. Apply computer science theory and software development fundamentals to produce computing-based solutions.
Major Requirements

COMPUTER SCIENCE
Division of Mathematics, Engineering & Computer Science
Robert Keller, Ph.D., Chair
robert.keller@loras.edu
563.588.7015

Requirements for the major in Computer Science (B.S.):
A minimum GPA of 2.00 in all CIT and MAT courses is required.

Req Course Cr’s
1 L.MAT-150: Calculus of One Variable I-FM 4
2 L.MAT-230: Discrete Mathematics 3
Select one from Req 3
3 L.CIT-115: Introduction to Programming 4
3 L.EGR-116: Intro to Programming with Robotics 4
4 L.CIT-225: Data Structures and Algorithms 4
5 L.CIT-319: Computer Organization and Architecture 4
6 L.CIT-325: Algorithm Design & Analysis 3
7 L.CIT-3xx: Database Programming 3
Select at least ten credits from Req 8
8 L.CIT-310: Artificial Intelligence 3
8 L.CIT-311: Human Computer Interaction 3
8 L.CIT-332: Web Programming 3
8 L.CIT-340: Machine Learning 3
8 L.CIT-350: Computer Graphics 3
8 L.CIT-357: Foundations of Programming Languages 3
8 L.CIT-440: Operating Systems 3
8 L.BAN-460: Big Data Analytics 3
9 L.CIT-4xx: Capstone Project I 3
10 L.CIT-4xx: Capstone Project II 3
41 total required credits

Requirements for the minor in Computer Science:
A minimum GPA of 2.00 in all L.CIT courses is required.

Req Course Cr’s
Select one from Req 1
1 L.CIT-115: Introduction to Programming 4
1 L.EGR-116: Intro to Programming with Robotics 4
2 L.CIT-225: Data Structures and Algorithms 4
Select four from Req 3
3 L.CIT-310: Artificial Intelligence 3
3 L.CIT-311: Human Computer Interaction 3
3 L.CIT-319: Computer Organization and Architecture 4
3 L.CIT-325: Algorithm Design & Analysis 3
3 L.CIT-332: Web Programming 3
3 L.CIT-3xx: Database Programming 3
3 L.CIT-340: Machine Learning 3
3 L.CIT-350: Computer Graphics 3
3 L.CIT-357: Foundations of Programming Languages 3
3 L.CIT-440: Operating Systems 3
3 L.BAN-460: Big Data Analytics 3
20 to 21 total required credits

 

Course Descriptions

COMPUTING & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COURSES

L.CIT-110: Principles of Computing and IT

This is an introductory course focused on the use of computing technology to solve problems, as well as offering hands-on experience with common computer applications. These applications will be used as tools to help students analyze problems and structure solutions, and include word processing, database, spreadsheet, program development, and the internet. Topics will include personal computer hardware and software, operating systems, computer networks, and information assurance. Prerequisite: Three years of high school mathematics including one year of Algebra II with a grade of C- or better or L.MAT-113 or higher. 3 credits.

L.CIT-115: Introduction to Programming

This course provides an introduction to the software engineering principles and tools used in the solution of problems, introduces a programming language and introduces students to social and professional concerns which arise with the use of computers. Prerequisite: L.MAT-117 or above. 4 credits.

L.CIT-221: Data Analysis

This course focuses on evaluating and analyzing different types of business-related data and developing effective solutions. It will utilize current spreadsheet and database software as tools to facilitate the interpretation of the data. The course will have a lab component requiring student laptop computers equipped with spreadsheet and database software. Prerequisites: L.ACC-227 or L.ACC-228. 3 credits.

L.CIT-225: Data Structures & Algorithms

This course provides an introduction to basic data structures and abstract data types. It introduces a variety of algorithms and problem-solving strategies as well as elementary algorithm analysis. Prerequisite: L.CIT-115 or L.EGR-116. 4 credits.

L.CIT-310: Artificial Intelligence

This is an upper-level course focused on the development of intelligent agents. This course covers what an intelligent agent is, how intelligent agents view the world, and how intelligent agents solve problems. The types of agents discussed include those that search for solutions, those that analyze data, and those that learn from their surroundings. Prerequisite: L.CIT-225. 3 credits.

L.CIT-311: Human Computer Interaction

This course provides an introduction to the discipline of Human Computer Interaction. It is concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of effective computing systems for human use. Topics that will be covered are: history, principles for design, understanding users and their task, designed with the user, basic human factor, and designing visual interfaces. Prerequisites: L.CIT-115 or L.EGR-116 and at least one other course from the following: L.CIT-225, L.CIT-326, L.CIT-327, or L.CIT-332. 3 credits.

L.CIT-317: Network Management

This course focuses on LAN management issues associated with evaluating, installing, and administrating computer networks. This course will integrate current technology and internetworking issues within the context of network operating systems and hardware. The course will have a lab component requiring dedicated desktop and server computers, and network hardware. Prerequisite: L.CIT-110 and L.CIT-221. 3 credits.

L.CIT-318: Database Management

Database Management is a study of the database models, the design, development, and implementation of a database, E-R and UML diagrams, SQL query language, normalization, database selection, distributed databases, ethical use of databases, and database security and control. Prerequisite: L.CIT-110 and L.CIT-221. 3 credits.

L.CIT-319: Computer Organization & Architecture

This course introduces the fundamentals of computer hardware where the students will learn basic building blocks of a small computer and how the hardware and software interface with one another. This course includes lab component where students learn the basic building blocks of computer hardware. Prerequisite: L.CIT-115 or L.EGR-116. 4 credits.

L.CIT-320: Web Publishing

This course is designed to introduce you to the tools, techniques, and skills needed to publish and manage materials posted on a web site.  It introduces basic HTML coding and the skills needed to publish simple web pages on an internet server. It then continues to build on authoring techniques, and introduces programming with JavaScript, a popular web programming language. It also covers topics on web design, web project management, and web maintenance from the management, technical, and user perspectives, culminating with a comprehensive web site application. 3 credits.

L.CIT-325: Algorithm Design & Analysis

This course introduces various algorithm design strategies, familiarizes students with well-known algorithms from a variety of areas, does average and worst-case time analysis of algorithms, and extends the set of data structures with which the students are able to work. Prerequisites: L.CIT-225 and L.MAT-230. 3 credits.

L.CIT-326: Visual Basic Programming

This course focuses on continued development of computer applications, focusing on programming software in an object-oriented/event-driven environment by taking full advantage of the Microsoft Visual Basic programming language. The course integrates hands-on real-world scenarios with in-depth discussions of programming concepts and techniques. The course will have a lab component requiring student laptop computers equipped with the Microsoft Visual Basic programming software. Prerequisite: L.CIT-110 and L.CIT-115. 3 credits.

L.CIT-327: Structured COBOL Programming

This course introduces the student to the COBOL programming language, still one of the most popular business programming languages. The main focus of the course is to plan and code working computer programs. Topics covered include sequential file processing, common program structures such as decisions and loops, tables, data validation, batch and online processing, and direct access file processing. Prerequisite: L.CIT-115. 3 credits.

L.CIT-332: Web Programming

Students learn a programming language designed to be used on the internet. Then, by working on projects that use the language students learn about the different technologies used on the World Wide Web, such as network and inter-network protocols, process-to-­process communication, interfacing to databases, human-computer interaction, and intelligent agents. Prerequisite: L.CIT-115 or L.EGR-116. 3 credits.

L.CIT-340: Machine Learning

This course introduces students to topics in the Machine Learning area of Artificial Intelligence. It will include an introduction to some popular algorithms computers use to make decisions and predictions based on problems consisting of varied types of data. In addition to utilizing the algorithms themselves, students will learn about different methods of evaluating these algorithms and how to choose an algorithm for a particular problem. Prerequisite: L.CIT 225. 3 credits.

L.CIT-350: Computer Graphics

This course provides an introduction to computer graphics. This will include some of the fundamental algorithms as well as experience in graphics programming using OpenGL. Prerequisite: L.CIT-225.
3 credits.

L.CIT-357: Foundations of Programming Languages

This course provides an introduction to programming language design and implementation. It provides experience in a variety of programming paradigms as well as an introduction to programming language theory. Prerequisite: L.CIT-225. 3 credits.

L.CIT-394: Internship

This course provides structured experience in a work environment outside the classroom. Prerequisites: Two courses in CIT. GPA of 3.0 overall. Credit varies.

L.CIT-440: Operating Systems

The focus of this course is the study of the fundamental algorithms used to manage the hardware resources of a computer. The topics include CPU scheduling, file structures, memory management, deadlock detection and avoidance, and concurrency control. Prerequisites: L.CIT-319 and L.CIT-225. 3 credits.

L.CIT-485: Systems Engineering

This course uses modeling techniques that aid in the analysis of computer information systems. Students will study, create, and analyze various models and utilize them in designing these systems. Students will also analyze how these systems fit into an organization’s overall structure and strategic plan. Prerequisites: L.CIT-115, L.CIT-317, L.CIT-318 and senior standing. 3 credits.

L.CIT-489: Systems Implementation

System Implementation is a capstone experience for CIT majors in the MIS track. Ethics cases, a portfolio, a research paper, a class project, and an individualized computer project are required. Students will synthesize computer knowledge obtained in previous courses, as well as more in-depth research in an area of interest. Prerequisite: L.CIT-430. 3 credits. Each spring semester.

L.CIT-490: Capstone Project

This course provides the experience of a semester-long group project. It requires the students to apply their hardware and software skills in a group setting where cooperation and coordination are necessary for the successful completion of the project. Prerequisites: must have completed at least four courses in CIT numbered 200 or above and have senior standing. 3 credits.

L.CIT-490E: Comprehensive Examination

A placeholder course which indicates attempt and completion of the required comprehensive examination. 0 credits. Pass/fail only.

L.CIT-491: Project Management

This course provides concepts, methods and techniques in project management and applies them in an information technology environment. The student will apply the concepts and techniques learned to “real-world” cases. The student will evaluate cases using the methods provided and will work as part of a team to manage a project. The course will have a lab component requiring student laptop computers equipped with project management software. Prerequisites: L.CIT-110, L.ACC-228. 3 credits.

Career Opportunities

After receiving your degree from Loras, your career could take off into one of these fields:

  • Insurance Software Development
  • Avionics Software Development
  • Back-Office to Point-of-Sale Hardware
  • Software Development
  • Infrastructure Management
  • Information Technology
  • System Upgrades
Questions? Contact Us!

Danial Neebel, Ph.D., PE
Professor of Engineering and Computer Science
563.588.7815 | Danial.Neebel@loras.edu

Dr. Danial Neebel studied in the pre-engineering program at Loras and earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Iowa State.  He went from there to the Trane Co. where he worked as an electronic controls engineer designing microcontroller based systems to control HVAC equipment.  In 1988, he went back to school and earned a Masters and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Upon completion of his PhD, he moved to Harrisonburg, VA to help start the Integrated Science and Technology program before returning to Loras College, his alma mater.  Since returning to Loras, he has helped shape the Engineering and Computer Science programs. 

During the 2013-2014 academic year he served as a Visiting Professor at the US Air Force Academy in the departments of electrical and computer engineering and computer science. His research interests include digital system design and testing, computer architecture, and computer science and engineering education.

Matthew Rissler, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mathematics
563.588.7792 | Matthew.Rissler@loras.edu

Dr. Rissler is originally from Virginia, but spent nine years in Indiana at Goshen College and the University of Notre Dame earning degrees in Mathematics, Physics, and Applied Math. Since 2008 he has been at Loras College teaching all of these and Statistics. His classes tend to involve using laptops to complete activities and modeling projects. Rissler’s research interests lie in the areas of agent-based modeling, statistics and utilizing computers in teaching Mathematics. Current and recent senior projects he has advised include simulating battles between orcs and elves (if you like LotR, or humans and zombies if you don’t), statistical modeling of production by players in the WNBA, and looking at streaks in baseball at the college level.

Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Computer Science
563.588.7570 | Michael.Thompson@loras.edu

After growing up in suburban Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Dr. Michael Thompson attended Central College in Pella, Iowa where he graduated with a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science as well as a minor in Philosophy. After graduating, he worked as a programmer for Advanced Technologies Group, Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa. He then attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received his Ph.D. in Computer Sciences, with an emphasis on Optimization. While there, Dr. Thompson researched methods of finding the minimum of a nonconvex function, with applications in protein-ligand docking. His current research interests include applications in Artificial Intelligence using Support Vector Machines and other techniques relating to business analytics, specifically in how they relate to sports.