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Teaching Information Engineering To Everyone

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.390.1 - 2.390.6



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Paper Authors

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John A. Orr

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David Cyganski

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Richard Vaz

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

Session 2532

Teaching Information Engineering to Everyone John A. Orr, David Cyganski, Richard Vaz Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Abstract The first offering of a course in "Information Engineering Across the Professions" is being held in the Spring semester of the 1996-97 academic year at WPI. This course is offered by the ECE Department, but is intended to be relevant for students from virtually all disciplines, and is specifically intended for students who are not majoring in electrical engineering. The authors have developed this course based on substantial interviews with faculty and students from across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including economics, English, history, chemistry, management, and biotechnology. This paper reports on the use of the World-Wide Web for preparation of course materials, and on lessons learned to date in developing and offering the new type of electrical engineering service course.

Introduction Opportunities for fundamental changes in many professions have arisen due to new modes for information creation, storage, transmission, retrieval, management, and display. However, familiarity with the use of the technologies central to this revolution is often limited to a small population of individuals with a deep (and rather narrow) education in electrical engineering or computer science. Currently, only students in these disciplines are apt to become familiar with state of the art capabilities and applications of computer and communications networks. However, professionals in virtually all fields, including engineering, science, management and finance, the health professions, law, education, social and political science and journalism, will encounter opportunities to be more effective practitioners and leaders in their disciplines if they can make good use of information technologies. Hence, there is a need for students in all disciplines to become acquainted with the underlying principles of modern information technologies [1]. A new course titled “Information Engineering Across the Professions” addresses that need, and provides an introduction to concepts such as the nature of information, representation of information as bit streams, means for data compression, bandwidth, types of transmission and storage media, and the fundamental principles governing information technology. Through the use of laboratory project-based "personality modules" customized to address different student disciplinary interests and backgrounds (e.g., mechanical engineering, the sciences, the arts, management), the course will expose students to professional applications of these technologies. This course is being developed with support from the National Science Foundation’s Course and Curriculum Development program. Following are the overall goals of the WPI project: • Stimulate the new area of “Information Engineering” among students and faculty, • Teach “real” engineering and technology without extensive prerequisites, • Write a Web-based textbook,

Orr, J. A., & Cyganski, D., & Vaz, R. (1997, June), Teaching Information Engineering To Everyone Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6818

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