Messy, fun, and rewarding: CIS 102Y Design Thinking and Innovation

A new course is coming to Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems for students who want to be in the room where design and innovation happen.

In Spring 2019, Pace students have the opportunity to take the new course Design Thinking and Innovation. This project-based learning course is offered on both the Westchester and NYC campuses. According to Professor Andreea Cotoranu, who teaches the course on the Westchester Campus, “innovation is something everyone seems to strive for these days. Through this course, students will learn the tools that can help unlock and fuel their creative problem-solving potential, all while working together on problems that matter to them. Just like the creative process, this course experience will be messy, fun, and rewarding.”

Course Description

This project-based learning course introduces students to innovation and problem solving using the design-thinking framework. The course emphasizes complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, communication and teamwork.  The course is a corner stone experience for students in their first or second year at Pace University and is open to all undergraduate majors.

As part of this project-based learning course, students engage in a series of exercises that build upon each other to gain an understanding of the design thinking process including:

  • Gaining empathy to define a problem;
  • Brainstorming to generate creative solutions;
  • Prototyping as a way to represent one or more solutions to show to others;
  • Testing prototypes with the user for feedback.

Students apply the knowledge acquired through these exercises to a team-based project. Projects are based on problems posed by industry clients. Industry clients may include not-for-profit or for-profit organizations. Project deliverables include a mid and end of semester presentation, an electronic or physical product prototype, and written project reflection reports.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • recognize the value of creative thinking;
  • give examples of innovative ideas;
  • apply human-centered design techniques to define a problem;
  • employ ideation techniques to generate creative solutions;
  • recognize the benefits of engaging with students of diverse backgrounds and experiences in the formation of ideas for project solutions;
  • use data synthesis and idea generation to refine problems;
  • prototype, test and iterate a solution with user feedback;
  • use prototyping and storytelling to pitch a solution;
  • demonstrate teamwork in interdisciplinary and self-directed teams

Professor of Information Technology, Dr. Jim Lawler, who teaches the course on the NYC campus, described the course as “an exciting and fun opportunity for students to learn a highly marketable methodology prevalent in entrepreneurial innovative organizations.”

Through this course students will learn about project-based experiences, in particular those offered through the NYC Design Factory.

About NYC Design Factory

The NYC Design Factory is a hub for innovation and creative problem solving housed within the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University. The NYC Design Factory welcomes students of all majors. The most popular courses include Product Development Project (PDP),  Product Innovation Project (PIP), and Challenge Based Innovation (CBI). As part of these courses, students travel to Helsinki (Finland), Graz (Austria) and Geneva (Switzerland) to develop solutions for challenges posed by industry clients. These courses link technology, production, and marketing  Check out the NYC Design Factory website to learn more about our offerings. Are you looking for an exciting course to register for in Spring ’19?  Look no further – register for CIS 102Y Design Thinking and Innovation today!

Your Guide to Seidenberg: IS 623 Information Systems Design and Development

IS 623 – Information Systems Design and Development is a course at Seidenberg School of CSIS which focuses on Business Analysis. This is a Graduate level course included in the curriculum of Information Systems. It is a much needed course for students who are aspiring to become business analysts, as well as students interested in learning about the analysis and design phases of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). The course emphasizes software engineering best practices in creating robust, reliable and appropriate systems. This course instructs students in learning current methods of analyzing businesses and deals with the documentation that a Business Analyst needs to work with.


The WHAT part of this course deals with gathering the requirements that are needed for building a system, setting up the system scope (a boundary of the system that says what functionalities will be a part of the system) and the defining goal and objectives for a system. It includes creating a Business Requirement Document (BRD), which lays out the requirements for the system being developed, a scope statement (this sets a boundary to the system), a decomposition diagram (this explains about the system’s functions) and the process flows diagrams (this explains the working flow of the system).

All of the above comes together to answer what students will build in a particular system, including what will be included and what will be excluded, as well as what the functionalities will be.


The HOW part of the course focuses on methods for developing logical and physical designs of systems. It includes defining the database model, designing the wireframes/prototypes (designs for how the screens of the system will look) and Use cases which show the flow of screens one after the other. Finally, these designs form the bases of systems for the actual development and implementation. In short, this part deals with the question HOW? How will the system be developed? How will the system look and operate?

IS 623 also provides students with knowledge of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) methodologies such as Waterfall and Agile. Students get to learn different phases of SDLC and how to use it to define a system.

Alongside tech knowledge, students get the opportunity to work on crucial soft skills. The course emphasizes necessary communication skills and interview skills a business analyst must have. This course induces into students the idea of thinking like an analyst.

IS 623 is available at the New York City campus and is also available Online. If you love to study at home or in a calm surrounding you could register for the online course. Studying in a techy surrounding is fun too. Go ahead with NYC campus if you are a techie!

Interested in registering for IS 623? Head on over to your Pace Portal and sign up!

Gianna Sorrentino (BS in CS ’19) talks classes at Seidenberg

gianna-sorrentinoGianna Sorrentino is double majoring in an awesome combination: Computer Science and Criminal Justice. With a graduation date of 2019, we can’t wait to see what she gets up to over the next few years!

We asked Gianna to tell us about the classes she’s taking this semester. She’s in CS 271: Fundamentals of Unix, taught by Professor Paul Benjamin and CS 242: Data Structures and Algorithms, taught by Dr. Miguel Mosteiro.

unix-1In CS 271, the focus is on the fundamentals of Unix. This multitasking and multi-user operating system offers a simple set of tools that perform a limited, well-defined function with a file system that is used as the main source of communication. Depending on what task you are trying to complete, Unix can be used to get it done! One of their class projects was to work on basic commands. Gianna was able to make a print out calender (pictured) for any month of the year by typing in “cal” followed by a month and/or year.

She also got the program to perform cool tasks using a simple command of the word ‘echo’ followed by different combinations of words.

“By typing in ‘echo’ followed by different phrases in brackets separated by commas, it can print out all of the combinations of words,” Gianna said.


In CS 242, the main focus is understanding running time scenarios and the most efficient ways to run a program. The goal is to find a way to complete the task both in the least amount of time and to do so correctly. In her freshman year at Pace, Gianna learned how to code. In this class, she is learning to use code more effectively.

Professor Mostiero assigned his students a snippet of code and gave them the task of understanding it and then running it. Each user was made to input a list and then that specific program gives them a running time, in nanoseconds, of how long it took to search the list. Pretty cool!

Thanks to Gianna for taking the time to talk about her classes with us. Keep up the great work!

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things

It’s registration time! Choosing classes is both exciting but stressful, so here are a few recommendations that may be off the beaten path, just just as exciting:

ART 286 Design for the Internet, (22426) Jack Toolin, 3 credit hours — Undergraduate

Pace Students Brooklyn Bridge

Though this is technically an art course, the focus of this class will be centered around web development, just from an artistic perspective. “This course provides students with basic skills with which to design and code their own websites on the Macintosh platform. Focus is on the construction and design of screen interaction and navigation, and design for media-specific limitations. Instruction includes basic xHTML, and CSS structure, text, graphics and animation-introducing applications for the production of those various elements as well as their particular challenges,” according to the Schedule Explorer.

CS 398 Software Engineering, (22360), Christelle Scharff, 4 credit hours — Undergraduate

Dr. Scharff, a professor who has been highly involved in a range of software engineering, will be teaching the “principles of software engineering including requirements, analysis, design, coding, testing, verification, and maintenance.” Other focuses will include looking at the “strength and weakness of alternative software development processes.” The class will incorporate team work and effectively improve a student’s communication skills.

Data Structures/Algorithms, (23591), Sung-Hyuk Cha, 4 credit hours — Undergraduate

Learn about “concepts of abstract data types (ADT) including stack, queue, priority queue, hash table, and binary search tree.” Work through “problem-solving with the ADTs and tradeoffs of ADT implementation with arrays and linked lists.” Also, Cha will be teaching “basic sorting and searching algorithms and algorithm run-time analysis.” Personally recommended by senior CS major, Salvatore Torcivia.

Web Scripting, (23269), TBA, 4 credit hours — Undergraduate

“This course provides students with an introduction to scripting languages for use on the Internet and includes a client-side scripting language and a server-side scripting language. Students will use JavaScript, PHP, and MySQL to develop interactive Web sites.” Don’t let a TBA professor scare you away — schedules are very flexible up until about two weeks into the actual semester.

Responsive Web Development with HTML/CSS, (22688, 23714), Narayan Murthy, 3 credit hours — Graduate

Professor Murthy’s class is geared towards “specifying web presentation structure with HTML5, embedding contents, working with JavaScript objects and input validation. Also, specifying web styles with CSS3, working with tables, creating dynamic and client/server features with jQuery. The course will also focus on implementing web service features through Node.js, asynchronous operations using jQuery and WinJS, sommunicating by using WebSocket, supporting multimedia. Other topics will include drawing using scalable vector graphics, and making websites location-aware.” Highly recommended by current student, Vaibhav Dubey.  The course is run with two options, one being online the other being at the White Plains campus.

Info Sytems Design & Development, (20619), James Gabberty, 3 credit hours — Graduate

“Organizations depend on computer information systems and technology. This course first instructs students in current methods of analyzing business situations and systems to model complete and coherent definitions of systems requirements. Next, learning focuses on methods for developing logical and physical designs of these systems. Finally, these designs form the bases of systems development and implementation. The course emphasizes software engineering best practices in creating and implementing robust, reliable, and appropriate systems regardless of technology, size, scope, type, and geographic distribution.” Current Grad student Suhail Bhandari  heartily recommends this class.


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