Computing for beginners

New course to teach applications of computers

Have you ever wondered if your Facebook profile can get you in trouble? If you can fund your education playing online poker? How Google works?

A new class to be offered by the School of Computing in the winter term seeks to help students answer these fundamental questions.

Bob Crawford, a professor within the School of Computing, has been working for the past year to develop the course CISC 081: Applications and Implications, which he said he hopes will be something new and exciting for students.

The course will be based on participation, Crawford said. Available to all disciplines, the course will provide a great opportunity for students to experience the advanced technology of the Integrated Learning Centre, which is usually reserved for specific disciplines.

By educating students on computer-related topics that are often overlooked, CISC 081 can help create a better understanding and appreciation of the technologies that dominate everyday life, Crawford said.

“We want students to be better citizens. Queen’s wishes to be recognized for the exemplary service of the University and that of its graduates to the community and the nation and the community of nations and this course aims to do just that,” Crawford said.

This course tries to get the average student to consider Computing Science as a discipline, or at least understand the importance of the computing stream. There are many possibilities in the discipline, including surveillance, in which Queen’s is a leader in today’s advancement of the technology, Crawford said.

“I’d love to strip away a lot of the mystery [behind these applications], have people more comfortable as users and with the uses [they encounter],” Crawford said.

Sarah Bacon, ArtSci ’10, said a course like CISC 081 sounds helpful.

“A lot of people don’t know a lot about the Internet and its applications, even though we constantly use it. A course like this can help people get a better understanding,” she said.

Jenica Nonnekes, ArtSci ’09, said she thinks the program could provide useful knowledge and skills.

“It [CISC-081] can help develop more of an understanding of what you’re doing on the internet and the consequences of what you do. The relevance to Facebook really jumped out to me because everyone is using it these days and people don’t know what could happen by showing too much information.”

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