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Crucial Aspects And Objectives Of A Foundations Course In Information Technology

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Course Development and Services

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.357.1 - 9.357.7

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Paper Authors

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C. Richard Helps

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Stephen Renshaw

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2158

Crucial Aspects and Objectives of a Foundations Course in Information Technology

Stephen R. Renshaw, C. Richard G. Helps Information Technology, Brigham Young University


A foundations course is the first exposure that most students will have to the major and profession of Information Technology (IT) causing it to be an essential stepping stone for success in this field. Both freshmen and transfer students of various backgrounds will be enrolled in the course forcing the need of handling topics that are new to some students but possibly experienced by other students.

The main goals for a foundations course in IT are to give a good academic and professional career orientation and to establish a “way of thinking” within the major. The academic orientation will allow the students to know what is expected of them within the IT major. The professional career orientation will give the students a good understanding of careers in IT. The “way of thinking” will be the foundation for a community of learning that will foster collaboration within the program.

To achieve these goals within the course there is a broad scope of learning objectives that must be covered. These range from keeping a learning community thriving with these “new arrivals” to covering the introduction of core topics of IT as-well-as the beginnings of life long learning that will be needed later in a professional career.


Information Technology as a college major is somewhat hidden compared with majors such as Computer Science (CS) and Computer Engineering (CE). Most counselors in high school will recommend one of the latter if a student has interest in computers. Many of these students don’t understand the differences between these college majors and begin taking classes to discover if they actually fit in a particular major. Because of this situation there are many students that change their major from CS or CE to IT. Many students then believe that Information Technology is the major that would better fit what they want to do with computers and use the foundations course to continue the discovery process. Of course freshmen that enter directly into the IT program will have many of the same questions regarding the major. The foundations class thus holds a crucial place in the lineup of classes for the major since it will provide the needed information for the students to decide if IT is the major for them.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Helps, C. R., & Renshaw, S. (2004, June), Crucial Aspects And Objectives Of A Foundations Course In Information Technology Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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