Do You Speak IT?
“Fluency in Information Technology”. That’s the title
of a new computer science course making its debut in January—a course
designed for general campus undergraduates, not computer science students.
Long-time Computer Science and Engineering professor Walter Savitch
developed the course to impart conceptual, problem-solving as well as
technical skills to undergraduate students in Sixth College, UCSD’s
newest undergraduate campus, which welcomed its first freshman class of
285 students in September. “Fluency in IT” is the first created
by the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department in a series of
courses on information technology to be offered under the auspices of
a new Center for Information Technology (CITE).
The Center, now in the planning stages, stems from widespread interest
among faculty from disciplines ranging from engineering, sciences and
social sciences, to arts and humanities. “Conceptual understanding
of information technology is crucial to our students at UCSD as our society
is fundamentally influenced by the pervasiveness of information technology,”
said CSE Chair Ramamohan Paturi. “Knowledge of information technology
is now as important as basic mathematical and language skills for all
college students, so we decided to take the initiative and develop a curriculum
to promote information technology education among undergraduates.”
Sixth College is also getting a helping hand from CSE Professor Bill
Griswold. His ActiveCampus research program was the first to experiment
with wireless-enabled PDAs, and he helped arrange for all Sixth College
freshmen to get PDAs donated by Hewlett-Packard and Cal-(IT)². The handhelds
allowed students to participate in a multi-day, tech-heavy orientation.
Dubbed “Explorientation,” it was a set of six PDA-based challenges
by Visual Arts Associate Professor Adriene Jenik. Students responded to
the challenges as they explored the campus before classes started. The
wireless function of the PDAs piggybacks on UCSD’s high-speed wireless
(Wi-Fi) network, which was extended to most Sixth College residence halls
and classrooms before the start of the Fall quarter.