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Structure Of Course Design In Rapidly Evolving Computing Disciplines

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Curricular Issues in Computer-Oriented Programs

Tagged Division

Information Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1109.1 - 15.1109.12



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Paper Authors


C. Richard Helps

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Richard Helps is has been involved with Information technology since its inception as a university discipline. He is a member of ASEE, IEEE, ACM and is a commissioner on the CAC of ABET. His research interests are in technology education design and in applications of embedded systems to work with human environments.

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

Structure of course design in rapidly evolving computing disciplines Abstract

It is well recognized that computing disciplines need to update their courses regularly due to the rapid evolution of the discipline. These course changes are often difficult, very time consuming and sometimes poorly rewarded by the academic institution, but they are necessary. Sometimes the student learning experience is negatively impacted by the course changes.

A research study was completed to attempt to define the theoretical structural elements of the course change process. Faculty members were interviewed about course changes. Several course change events were identified and these events were analyzed to identify common themes and educational structures so that the process of course change could be better understood and improved.

An analysis has been carried out on a selection of course change events. The analysis reveals the fundamental structure of course change. An in-depth study of a few course change events reveals the theoretical and practical influences that control this change process and allow for future improvements.

The instructional design layers paradigm illustrated some reasons why course changes are resource consuming. Some expected outcomes were confirmed and some new insights were obtained.

An understanding of the abstract layers of design and the conceptual questions addressed by designers in the course design process can improve both the quality of the course changes and the efficiency of the change process.

1. Introduction

It is well recognized that computing changes constantly and rapidly. The influence of exponential growth of computing power driven by Moore’s law is often cited as a major contributing influence in this change. The implications of this law are far broader than Gordon Moore’s original statement about the doubling of integrated circuit components on a die1,2,3 and, in general terms electronic systems, particularly computer-based systems, continually and rapidly grow smaller, cheaper and much more powerful Moore’s law effectively dominates computer system development.

A consequence of this unrelenting, exponential change is the expectation and need for university instructors to both continually update their own knowledge of the field and also invest considerable effort and resources in updating their technical curricula and laboratories to accommodate these new developments in their field. Therefore instructional design in this environment needs to respond to this continually changing technical landscape.

On the other hand, faculty tenure and promotion decisions in computing disciplines are frequently based on successful research and peer-reviewed publication. Upgrading curricula is

Helps, C. R. (2010, June), Structure Of Course Design In Rapidly Evolving Computing Disciplines Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16685

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