Introduction to Computing Technology: New Interactive Animated Web-Based Learning Content

Published 2016

Authors

Prof. Frank Vahid
University of California, Riverside

Dr. Susan Lysecky
University of California, Riverside

Dr. Alex Daniel Edgcomb
University of California, Riverside

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Abstract

Computing technology is ubiquitous, in the form of computers, tablets, smartphones, the web,¬†cloud computing, email, text messages, social media, and much more. Computingt echnology is¬†centrally relevant in the careers and lives of increasingly more people. As a result, more¬†universities require students to takeat leastonecourse incomputing/information technology.¬†Unfortunately, the most widely used textbooks are written as (or have bloated into)¬†comprehensive references, focusing excessively on terms and definitions that are quickly¬†forgotten by students after a course is over. Instead, given computing technology’s central relevance,such a course should be one of the most interesting and useful at a university, being an¬†engaging introduction that positively influences students’ interactions with computing¬†technologies. Thus, in 2015, we developed new learning material for computing technology¬†courses, starting from scratch, and developing natively for theweb. We favored meaningful¬†understanding of themost relevant computing technologies, versus exhaustive but shallow¬†coverage of a wider topic array. This paper highlights the first version of the learning material,¬†including discussions of some of the key interactive web based activities. In its first year, the¬†material has been adopted by over 20 universities, either for a full course, or as part of a course¬†introducing computerscienceorcomputer programming (the material is modular and thus can be¬†combined with other materials), and feedback from instructors and students is very positive. The¬†material¬†is¬†currently¬†published¬†as¬†“Computing¬†Technology¬†for¬†All”¬†(zyBooks.com).¬†¬†

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