Summer 2010/2011: Introduction to Computers for Arts and Social Sciences
I was hired as a contract instructor for the 2010 early summer term. I requested to teach COMP 1001: Introduction to Computers for Arts and Social Sciences. From the course calendar description:
COMP 1001 [0.5 credit]
Introduction to Computers for the Arts and Social Sciences
This course is intended to give students in the arts and social sciences a working knowledge of computers and their applications; computer fundamentals; use of computing facilities; introduction to graphical user interfaces; a sampling of software packages applied to problems in the arts and social sciences.
I wanted to try this course in particular because I had some ideas for how to make it more interesting that I wanted to test. The course has traditionally concentrated on showing how to use software like Microsoft Word in detail during lectures. I wanted to see if I could add a little more computer science into the mix.
One of the things I attempted was to incorporate as many activities and videos into class as I could. Based on an anonymous survey I conducted at the end of the course, this worked really well for some students, while others felt that these activities were time fillers or childish. I believe the latter attitude is more of a product of how I presented the activities than the fact I used them at all. The level of understanding I saw in students who participated in the activities was far deeper than I would expect of them otherwise. Many students did not attend class and do not seem to understand nearly as well.
Details about the course content are available here.
Paper: Adding Computer Science to an Introductory Computing Class for Non-Majors
I submitted a paper to SIGCSE 2011 that was not accepted; however, I along with the reviewers feel that the paper should be of interest to others, so it is uploaded here. It includes a description of the curriculum, and a summary of survey results from the first time teaching the course.