Tianzhou Chen, Gang Wang, Wei Hu and Qinsong Shi
College of Computer Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Hierarchical construction, Teaching faculty, Computer organization and design.
With the rapid development of computer hardware, computer architecture and organization becomes more and
more important for the student to enter the computer world. It is a great challenge for the teaching faculty
not only inherits classical teaching materials but also keep up with the world trends. In this paper, we present
a hierarchical construction of teaching faculty in course of ”Computer Architecture and Organization”. Both
the methodology and implementation is included to show how our design works. The achievement we get
recent years show that our teaching faculty’s effort leads to a satisfied result and keeps a health development
With the development of computer science, com-
puter education meets great challenges to keep up
with the world trends. Many new courses have to
be designed according to the latest computer tech-
nologies. However, there are many basic courses
that keep in the history of education of computer sci-
ence. Computer Architecture and Organization is one
of them. It’s one of the basic courses of computer
science and showed in the Joint IEEE Computer So-
ciety/ACM task force on the ”Model Curricula for
Computing” (CC). Both CC2001 (CC2001, 2001) and
CC2005 (CC2005, 2005) showed that the Computer
Architecture and Organization is one of the required
Basic principles about the architecture and orga-
nization of a computer occupy a place in the core of
most computing curricula. (Cassel et al., ) said that
these topics must be taught as basic knowledge of
computer hardware, since computer architecture has
great impact on both the hardware design and the soft-
ware design. Also, there are wide variations in the ex-
pertise and interests of faculty assigned to teach them.
Some faculty who teach these subjects are deeply in-
volved in the topic areas, others have substantial ex-
perience but a different primary focus, and still oth-
ers are clearly teaching outside their area of experi-
ence and expertise. In all cases, the faculty are chal-
lenged to remain current in the topic and to address
both the fundamental principles and ramifications of
recent developments. Though this course has a long
history, how to keep the teaching faculty well pre-
pared to meet the challenges remains a big problem
in the construction of the teaching group.
In this paper, we present a hierarchical construc-
tion method of teaching faculty in Computer Archi-
tecture and Organization. Both the methodology and
the implementation of the hierarchical construction
are discussed in our paper. The design is already
applied in College of Computer Science of Zhejiang
University and achieves success in real world.
Computer Architecture and Organization is aimed at
teaching the fundamentals of the computer organiza-
tion and design. Upon completion of this course, a
student should be able to explain the operation of a
CPU, understand the merits of virtual memory, cache
and interrupt system, and analyze the fundamentals
of I/O system. The emphasis of this course is on the
basic issues of computer organization and computer
design. Computer organization is concerned with the
way the hardware components are connected together
to form a computer system. Computer design is con-
cerned with the development of the hardware for the
computer taking into consideration of a given set of
Chen T., Wang G., Hu W. and Shi Q. (2010).
In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Computer Supported Education, pages 261-264
DOI: 10.5220/0002756102610264
specifications. In this course, students will learn the
principle and hardware implementation of computer
components, and how to completely design a correct
single processor computer.
The course ”Computer Architecture and Organi-
zation” starts in early 1978 in Zhejiang University.
The web side of the course is opened in 2000 (ZJU.,
). The teaching faculty is combined with 9 professors
and 36 lecturers. Most of them come from System
and Architecture Research Institute of Zhejiang Uni-
versity. The construction of the teaching faculty will
guarantee the sustained development and innovation
of the education system. Hierarchical construction is
our main guidelines. Method such as feedback sys-
tem and training program are parts of the hierarchical
construction system.
3.1 Hierarchical Age Distribution
The age distribution of teaching faculty is one of the
important issues of the faculty construction. Since
teachers with different ages are different from their
education, teaching style and so on. Main differ-
ences from young teachers and experienced teachers
are showed in Table 1.
Table 1: Comparsion of the young teachers and the experi-
enced teachers.
Young teachers Experienced teachers
Strength Fast learning Full of teaching experience
Knowledgeable Systematic teaching method
on new technologies
Weakness Lack of Knowledge structure
teaching experience is relatively old
Figure 1 is the hierarchical age structure of our
teaching faculty. Here we define two flows: knowl-
edge flow and experience flow. Knowledge flow in-
dicates the new technologies that the young teachers
may obtain and will pass to the faculty. Simultane-
ously, teaching experience pass down from the expe-
rienced teachers to the rookies. Middle layer is the
middle-aged teachers whose properties are between
young and experienced teachers.
3.2 Hierarchical Training Program
Training program is a part of our hierarchical con-
struction methodology. The training is not only for
young teachers but also designed for experienced
Experienced teachers
Young teachers
Middle layer
Experience flow
edge fl
Figure 1: Hierarchical age structure of our teaching faculty.
teachers. Since the young and experienced teachers
are different as showed in Table 1, we should design
different training programs to meet different require-
ments. Figure 2 gives the structure of our hierarchi-
cal training program. The training program is divided
Education theory training
Group discussion
Course reviewing
Model course
Figure 2: Hierarchical training program.
into two parts. The inner training is the basic pro-
In next section, we will present the implementa-
tion of our methodology on our practice of the course
on Computer Architecture and Organization. Besides,
achievement we get will also be included.
4.1 Hierarchical Construction
Our teaching faculty are most from System and Ar-
chitecture Research Institute of Zhejiang University.
9 professors with 36 lecturers construct the teaching
team of the course. The age distribution is showed
CSEDU 2010 - 2nd International Conference on Computer Supported Education
in Figure 3. Teachers older than 51 years old are de-
fined as experienced teachers and the teachers under
35 years old are young teachers. By this division, the
experienced teachers occupy about 26.3% of the fac-
ulty while the young teachers are 36.7%. The mid-
dle aged teachers occupy 36.7%. The age distribu-
tion is balanced and hierarchical. Among the faculty,
professors, associate professors and lecturers are as-
signed to cooperate. The distribution is showed in
Figure 4. The distribution is 26.3%, 42.1% and 31.5%
for professors, associate professors and lecturers re-
Figure 3: Age distribution of our teaching faculty.
Figure 4: Title distribution of our teaching faculty.
4.2 Training Program
4.2.1 Model Course Revealing
With the efforts of our faculty, the course on Com-
puter Architecture and Organization is assigned State-
level Courses. The model course can be accessed on
the internet. Both teachers and the students can learn
the course through the web page. Videos of real teach-
ing procedure are presented not only for student to do
the remote education.
4.2.2 Course Reviewing
The course reviewing system is designed for helping
the teachers to get the feedback from the experienced
teachers or experts. We offer this opportunity for any
teacher in the team. Every teacher will give an open
lesson. We will set up an expert team to attend the
4.2.3 Group Discussion
Group discussion is an easy way for the teaching fac-
ulty to share their experience and ideas. Our teaching
faculty are divided into several small groups. Every
group is composed with young teachers, middle-aged
teachers and experienced teachers. Every group will
have a short discussion once a week. The content is
not fixed. Every half semester, there will be a con-
ference for all the faculty. Every group will give a
standardized report to share their achievements.
4.2.4 International Cooperation
In order to keep up with the newest achievement in
the world, our team cooperates with foreign universi-
ties, as well as companies. Foreign universities will
share their education experience with us. And com-
munication with the companies will help our teachers
to enhance the understanding of the industry world
and minimize the gap between the education and the
actual needs. A lot of famous lectures and researchers
are invented to our university.
4.2.5 Education Theory Training
Refining the theory is very important in education.
Our team not only pays attention to the education
practice but also to the refining of the theory. We have
published a lot of education papers on both domes-
tic and international conferences and journals. By the
year 2008, we have published 24 research papers on
the education of Computer Architecture and Organi-
zation. Besides, our faculty attended the international
conferences not only to learn from the educators but
also to share our achievements. We also hold an inter-
national workshop on 2008. It was the first Interna-
tional Workshop on Computer System Education and
Innovation (IWCSEI 2008).
4.3 Course Feedback
In order to measure the result of our courses, we de-
veloped a feedback system to let the student to make
the evaluation. Our feedback system is based on in-
ternet. Student can make their comments both on the
course design and content but also the teachers. We
designed several questions for the students. Figure 5
and 5 shows the result of the feedback from the stu-
dents. In Figure 5 listed satisfaction of the students of
Figure 5: Satisfaction of the students.
the course from 2005 to 2008. The satisfaction ratio
is about 95.2%. Detailed score is showed in Figure 6.
We list 8 questions:
QA: Teaching style is serious and responsible.
QB: Teaching expression (oral, writing) is clear.
QC: Teaching content is advanced, proper arranged
and focused.
QD: Using advanced teaching methods
QE: Heuristic teaching.
QF: Gain much during the course.
QG: Satisfaction with teacher.
QH: Teaching materials is suitable and with high
These questions are designed to evaluate the effect
Figure 6: Detailed feedback from the students.
of our teaching. Figure 6 is the result we get from
2007-2008. The average satisfaction is 99.5%.
With the development of computer science, computer
architecture and organization changed a lot. The ed-
ucation on such a topic should not only keep the
classic theories but also absorb the newest technolo-
gies. A health construction of the teaching faculty
will keep the team keep being improved. In this
paper, we present our Hierarchical construction of
Teaching Faculty in Computer Architecture and Or-
ganization. Hierarchical age distribution and hierar-
chical training program are our main methods. Dur-
ing the implementation, our methods achieve great
result. Most students are satisfied with our course.
Research papers on education are published. We
also invent experts from both the foreign universities
and companies. International communication is made
through attending international conferences and hold-
ing a workshop on education.
Cassel, L., Holliday, M., Kumar, D., Bolding, K., Davies,
J., Impagliazzo, J., Pearson, M., Wolffe, G., and Yur-
cik, W. Distributed expertise for teaching computer
organization & architecture.
CC2001 (2001). The joint task force on comput-
ing curricula ieee computer society associa-
tion for computing machinery. computing cur-
ricula 2001 computer science. december 15,
CC2005 (2005). Cc 2005 curriculum guidelines for
undergraduate degree programs in computer sci-
ZJU. http://multicore.zju.edu.cn/.
CSEDU 2010 - 2nd International Conference on Computer Supported Education