On Interdisciplinary Student Background: A Successful Course Integrating Teaching and Research

Melody Moh,  Rafael Alvarez-Horine,  Satish Chandawale,  Susmit Arun Mogarkar
San Jose State University


Computer Science (CS) graduate students usually come from different undergraduate backgrounds, including various science and engineering disciplines. Some CS courses, such as Mobile Networking, attract also students from Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering Departments. To successfully deliver a graduate course such as Mobile Networking, the course needs to be designed and taught as inter-disciplinary, addressing the wide range of student backgrounds. Furthermore, it should include advanced topics that are of timely important to the industry. This paper presents one such course. First, the educational and professional backgrounds of the student body are described. Next, the course content is presented, including the lectures, the team projects, and the mentoring efforts addressing the wide variety of backgrounds and project interests. As an example, two students projects are illustrated. Since the course was first taught in 2009, it has successfully produced several students-authored refereed conference and journal publications. Furthermore, it has very productively helped students landed in both networking and software engineering jobs, as well as Ph. D. studies.