June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Computers in Education
13.323.1 - 13.323.16
Computing Across Curricula
Today’s somewhat disjointed approach to discipline-specific computing and generic computer literacy does not accurately mirror the knowledge, skills and abilities needed by the engineer of the future global workplace. Computing in the workplace is pervasive and involves many complex tools, many approaches to problem solving, strategic decision making and synthesis. Knowledge, comprehension and application are no longer enough for one to be labeled highly competent in computing. A successful engineer will need a mastery of computing applicable to the higher level cognitive skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation, as well. To prepare students for pervasive, advanced computing in the workplace, we must begin to think in terms of pervasive, advanced computing in their education. This premise served as the basis for a project funded by the National Science Foundation CISE Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education (CPATH) initiative in 2007. The project is being carried out by the authors comprised of a multidisciplinary team of faculty from six departments in the College of Engineering and one from the College of Education at NC State University.
The project has two overarching goals: (1) create a computational thinking thread in the engineering curriculum that spans from the freshman to senior years and bridges the divide between freshman year computing and computing in upper-level classes, and (2) enable students to take computing competency to the next level, where they are able to perform high-level computing tasks within the context of a discipline. The first phase of the project entails the establishment of an academe-industry community in which stakeholders from a broad range of disciplines will convene to discuss the challenges and opportunities inherent in transforming the undergraduate computing education, and to identify and implement creative strategies to do so. The “Computing Across Curricula” (CAC) community includes involvement from a number of local industry leaders and is modeled after the nationally recognized NC State Campus Writing and Speaking Program1 that promotes writing across the curriculum.
To ensure that the goals and objectives of the project are met successfully, a detailed assessment process is an integral part of the ongoing activities. One research and assessment method being employed is the Delphi method. This formal communication process will be used to gather consensus among faculty, industry leaders and students in an effort to identify sets of computational skills vital for engineering professionals. Descriptions and reflections of the first year of project activities will be presented as well as plans for future activities. Preliminary assessment data will also be available.
Two decades ago to say that an engineering graduate was highly competent in computing meant that he or she had mastered the FORTRAN programming language. A decade later it meant, in addition, mastering basic skills in a few key discipline-specific software tools, and a degree of proficiency in ubiquitous productivity applications such as spreadsheets and word processors. An engineering graduate who could do these things was said to be “computer literate.” Today,
Craig, A., & Bullard, L., & Joines, J., & Miller, T., & Miller, C., & Raubenheimer, D., & Rouskas, G., & Silverberg, L., & Wiebe, E. (2008, June), Computing Across Curricula Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3471
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