dMv (daemonv) wrote,

Ought to be a Finder's Fee

For 30 minutes today, I was a full-time student at Carnegie Mellon (again).

I was enrolled in two courses, 15-509 and 17-700. 15, as any CMUer may recall, is Computer Science. 17 is the code for Software Engineering, populated by curriculum for the collection of masters programs emerging from ISRI. Here is the business-pitchy copy I wrote for my father's purposes, with course numbers added in:


I am presently participating in two graduate-level courses from the Institute for Software Research International at Carnegie Mellon. "Dynamic Network Analysis" [17-700] presents concepts and tools for working with "dynamic networks" -- where network is any kind of structure, organization, or information that "links" together. This is cutting edge mathematics that are the statistics that modern statistic technique can not work with; like modern statistics, it has an almost unbounded number of applications in many fields. I am interested in it because of the fresh and unbounded opportunity; each class provides additional fuel for the "What if" and "Why not" concepts that I feel are valuable. This material is not widely taught.

The second course is "Very Large Information Systems" [15-509]. While every graduate computer science program has database coursework, this class composites many of the individual strengths here to address the whole host of background and problems involved with Very Large Information. I am taking this course to reduce a weakness in my computational skill set. I have significant experience with complex computation systems: computational modelling, simulations, and optimization; I have much less experience involving complex data systems.

Essentially, this semester I am taking advantage of the unique opportunities at Carnegie Mellon to be exposed to the latest techniques for managing and squeezing understanding out of information. As you know, my hope and expectation is to move on to a position where an information disciple with my unique skills and perspectives is better engaged.

Interest in the following story will be limited to those who have been full-time at CMU.

15-509, "Very Large Information Systems" (VLIS), is the key course in the Master of Science in Information Technology - Very Large Information Systems program. It was determined the course should fall within the 17 code. Today it was given a new course number (17-550).

The administrative assistant made an attempt to move students to the new course number, by adding 17-550 then removing 15-509. Sounds harmless. We discovered a bug in the OLR/Hub information system. A long-time Hub employee I met could not believe it, which sounds suspicious in print.

15-509/17-550 and 17-700 are 12 unit courses. As a university employee, I may take up to 2 courses a semester with tuition covered. I register as a non-degree student, who are exempt from most academic courseload policies. If accepted as a non-degree student, which my employee and alumni status ensures, the presumption is that if I am placed in a course and I pay, I may take it. No aid or visa support, and so on.

The administrative assistant added 17-550 to my schedule of 15-509 and 17-700, and was unable to remove 15-509. Because 3x12 is 36, a magic number at the University. 36 units is the basement for full time status. Adding 17-550 changed my status; there are fee and aid implications in both directions. Specifically: an administrative assistant does not have the authority to change a student's status downward from full-time. 10 days into the semester, a full-time student loses the authority to independently downgrade; it requires approval of the department, the Hub, your funding sources, etc. With the exception of non-degree students, because none of those apply. Except the business logic of OLR does appreciate that. Perhaps my previous history as a degree-seeking student confused it. Perhaps it was just an aggressive check. It still took human intervention to resolve, and I am concerned about the continued fall out.
Taking classes again is good.

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