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Teaching Web Information Retrieval and Network Communication Technology to Non-Major Undergraduate Students

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Curricular Issues in Computer-Oriented Programs

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1407.1 - 22.1407.11



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Paper Authors


Xiannong Meng Bucknell University

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Xiannong Meng is a Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. His research interests include distributed computing, data mining, intelligent Web search, operating systems and computer networks. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.

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Song Xing California State University, Los Angeles

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Song Xing received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Southeast University, China, in 1985 and 1990, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in electrical & computer engineering from George Mason University, Virginia, in 2003.

From 1985 to 1995, he was a Lecturer in the Radio Engineering Department at Southeast University, China. He was also a Researcher at the National Mobile Communications Research Laboratory, China, from 1990 to 1995.

He was a Visiting Researcher in the Electrical & Computer Engineering departments at the University of Michigan-Dearborn from February 1995 to April 1995 and at Boston University from May 1995 to August 1996, respectively. From August 1997 to May 2003, he was an Instructor with the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department and Teaching/Research assistants in Electrical & Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Information Systems departments at George Mason University.

In 2003, Dr. Xing joined California State University, Los Angeles where he is currently an Associate Professor in the Information Systems Department.

His research interests include Internet statistical measurement, communication networks and digital systems, importance sampling simulations of stochastic systems, and speech and image processing.

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Teaching Web Information Retrieval and Internet Technology to Non-Major Undergraduate StudentsWorld Wide Web and the Internet have touched our life in many aspects. From a technologypoint of view, both the Web and the Internet have been experiencing dramatic changes over theyears. More and more people use them everyday and more are curious about how the Web andInternet work. From a societal impact point of view, the Web and the Internet have become anessential tool in our live, similar to reading and writing, to a level where we have to studycarefully the effect of this tool in our learning and in our live.This paper describes authors’ experiences in teaching the fundamentals of World Wide Websearch engines and the Internet technology to non-major undergraduate students. By non-majorswe mean students are from outside the general disciplines of computer science or informationtechnology. The two authors have taught two separate courses in two different universities in theUS. But the course setting and the experiences are similar. And the challenges are similar: howwe can teach the web search engines and Internet technology in general to undergraduatestudents who do not have previous computing background.In one course, the first author taught a foundation seminar on the subject of web search enginesto a group of first-year students from various disciplines from social sciences, humanity, naturalsciences, and engineering. We discussed the basic building blocks of search engines, the basicprinciples of mathematics, computer science, and engineering involved in search engines, andmost importantly their social impact in our lives. In the second course, the second author taughtan upper level course on the subject of wireless and personal communications to non-majorsfrom the business school, where we concentrated on how communication technologies such asthe signals, networks, and devices work in a large scale system like the Internet and a smallscale system like the home/office network. Both courses gave us rich experiences on how toreach non-major undergraduate students with topics of great importance and great interest.

Meng, X., & Xing, S. (2011, June), Teaching Web Information Retrieval and Network Communication Technology to Non-Major Undergraduate Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18742

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