June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Computing and Information Technology
Nowadays we all live in a cyber world and use the internet for emailing, banking, streaming video, shopping, reading news, or other activities. Given all the time people spend online, it is important that all students (regardless of their major) learn some basics about living in a cyber world, e.g., strategies for online safety, impact of artificial intelligence, digital forensics or ancestry.com. To facilitate students from many majors to learn about important issues related to the internet, eight faculty from a variety of disciplines at the University of New Haven integrated the theme of Cyber World into our team-taught, first-year experience course, also referred to as the “Common Course.” The Common Course’s primary purpose is to enable students to develop evidence-based arguments and to challenge their own and others’ assumptions in relation to that evidence. Each Common Course class focuses on a broad topic (e.g., Justice, Happiness, or Identity) that instructors use as a touch point to facilitate critical thinking. In Cyber World, however, the topic is given stronger focus, and all students in the class are expected to come away with specific cyber-related knowledge. A special challenge is that the majority of the 160 students are from non-STEM majors. Given the varied background of students, this course covers a variety of topics such as sharing DNA with ancestry.com, protecting against identity theft, detecting fake news, and oversharing personal information. The course is taught by eight faculty members from four different colleges having expertise in a variety of disciplines. An important side effect of this faculty diversity is that interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty are promoted. Our paper has three significant contributions: (1) We present the eight topics related to living in a cyber world that we chose for this course, including our rationale for why they are appropriate and relevant; (2) We summarize how we integrated the Cyber World topics into the structure of the Common Course, which includes a discussion of the challenges we faced; and (3) We summarize some initial results on how students perceived their experience as well as how they performed compared to other common course sections / topics.
Przyborski, K., & Breitinger, F., & Beck, L., & Harichandran, R. S. (2019, June), “Cyber World” as a Theme for a University-wide First-year Common Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/31923
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