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Toward a climate for Interdisciplinary Computing

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This group will support the NSF project with the title given here.  The purpose of the project is to bring together people who have experience and interest in combining computing with other disciplines for the benefit of both.  The present grant will fund several workshops to bring together those who can work toward a better understanding of the challenges and the benefits of these types of collaboration.  Anyone who is interested is invited to share a brief description of their experiences here.  This will be a significant source of candidates for the workshops to be held during the next year and a half.  We have hopes that we will be able to advise NSF on ways forward in promoting more of these collaborations.

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Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri, has an interdisciplinary major, the Interactive Digital Media (IDM) major, that is shared with the departments of Art and Mass Communication. Our IDM major has been in existence since 2000 and currently has approximately 130 students (majors) within the three departments.

We also have several other computer related majors and minors with other Northwest department (Geography, Education, Finance, etc.). The relationships with these departments, the majors and the minors have been very valuable in attracting students to our department and supporting our departmental enrollments.

I would be very pleased to share our experiences and what we have done to build these relationships and majors and minors across our Northwest campus.

By cspradling

Union College is in the 4th year of a 5-year NSF CPATH grant to create an campus-wide computing initiative (interdisciplinary by definition). We have revamped our introductory CS courses to be theme-based and appealing to large number of students on campus across a wide range of disciplines. We also work with faculty to infuse computation into their courses so that students can gain experience with discipline specific applications of computing. To date we have worked with 19 faculty from 12 departments who have modified over 25 courses.

By vbarr

I am a long-standing member of the ACM Two-Year College Education Committee, which produced, in 1993, the first (and I believe to date only) ACM-endorsed guidelines in Computing for Other Disciplines. The stated objective of the COD report was “to provide guidance for meeting the computing needs of students in disciplines other than computing.” Six goals were addressed in the COD report: 1) identify a range of courses a computing department may offer for students in other disciplines; 2) advocate that competency in a basic set of computing topics be part of the college's general education requirement; 3) specify topics that provide the computing knowledge needed by all students in two-year programs, including those who are beginning one of the computing disciplines; 4) recommend a course, and its prerequisites, that covers the essential topics in computing for all students, including those who are beginning one of the computing disciplines; 5) delineate the commitments required of administrators and faculty in order to provide access to, and instruction in, computing for students in other disciplines; and 6) recommend the development of an assessment test for student placement in computing courses. This ground-breaking work has continued to influence the ongoing work of the ACM Two-Year College Education Committee.

My first career was as a professor (and later assistant dean) of mathematics and computer science in the community college sector; in that role I was involved in many discussions on servicing the needs of non-computing majors for computing skills, the role of a general education computing requirement and the like. My current second career is managing the delivery of IT services in higher ed; I am currently the VP for IT at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In that role, I am in contact daily with the great need for technology resources and associated skills for faculty and students across all disciplines and fields of study, the significant collaborations that synergize around shared technology platforms, and the dual needs of technology-based pedagogy as well as technology-based discipline-specific tools.

Two programs may be of particular interest: our "New Media Lab" and our Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate program.

The New Media Lab (NML) assists City University of New York Graduate Center faculty and doctoral students from a variety of academic disciplines to create multimedia projects based on their own scholarly research. The goal of the NML is to integrate new media into traditional academic practice, challenging scholars to develop fresh questions in their respective fields using the tools of new technology. See http://commons.gc.cuny.edu/groups/new-media-lab/ and view a short video at http://www.box.net/shared/2i1n3i50z5.

The Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate program is designed to provide intellectual opportunities and technical training that enable Graduate Center doctoral students to think creatively and critically about the uses of instructional technology to improve teaching and learning. It aims to better prepare doctoral students for life and work in the contemporary university and advances students' skills as creators and users of technology-based educational resources. The interdisciplinary faculty and curriculum provides theoretical, historical, philosophical, literary, and sociological perspectives on technology and pedagogy and their intersection in the classroom. See http://web.gc.cuny.edu/itp/.

By Bob Campbell

Hello Everyone,

I'm looking forward to meeting those of you I do not know and seeing those I do. I work with biologists who are using or interested in using computing. Typically these are cell biologists who use numerical models if they use models at all. The kind of computing needed and used by this group is not typically high performance computing, yet that is the community of computer and computational science I am most familiar with.

At the Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling I serve as the person who invites novice to intermediate users to make use of our computational framework, the Virtual Cell. This is done through workshops and training materials. In workshops, I focus on the creating a social-cultural environment in which participants are learning as a group.

By raquell
alexruthmann's picture

Hi all,

I'm looking forward to meeting all of you and learning more about your interdisciplinary computing initiatives.

I am on the music education faculty at UMass Lowell and have been a part of our NSF CPATH Performamatics project for the past 2 years. My undergraduate degree was interdisciplinary blending the fields of music, computing and interactive art. Our Performamatics project (http://www.performamatics.org/) built on the Artbotics work of Holly Yanco and Fred Martin, extending it to interdisciplinary collaborations among the fields of computing, theatre, design arts and music. As a result, we are now sustaining an ongoing suite of interdisciplinary general education courses: Tangible Interaction Design, ArtBotics and Sound Thinking. We also have ongoing "synchronized" collaboration projects between upper-level arts and computing courses with shared modules addressing advanced aesthetic and computational concepts. An essential part of each course and collaboration is a culminating "performance" and public exhibition of the project. We also bring computing and arts students together through our Contemporary Electronic Music Ensemble each semester.

Our work also extends into local middle and high schools bringing music+computing to kids via Scratch, a custom sensor interface "IchiBoard", and custom Arduino-based sound and computing code for physical computing and sound synthesis. My current work is in the use of "musical live coding" in teaching computational thinking, the development and implementation of musical algorithms for game music and audio, and the development, composition for and performance with new electro-physical musical instruments with middle and high school students. Our Scratch-based music+computing code examples can be found online at http://www.scratchmusic.org/ and selected video clips of performances at http://www.youtube.com/user/performamatics.

Future directions include the development of advanced modules and courses in music+computing and a new graduate international online graduate certificate in Technology, Arts, and Learning in partnership with colleagues at St. Patrick's College in Dublin and Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane, Australia.

By alexruthmann

Below is my interdisciplinary experiences.

Northwest has an interdisciplinary major, the Interactive Digital Media (IDM) major, that is shared with the departments of Art and Mass Communication. Our IDM major has been in existence since 2000 and currently has approximately 130 students within the three departments. We also have several other computer related majors and minors with other Northwest department (Geography, Education, Finance, etc.). The relationships with these departments, the majors and the minors have been very valuable in attracting students to our department and supporting our departmental enrollments. I would be very pleased to share our experiences and what we have done to build these relationships and majors and minors across our Northwest campus.

By cspradling

Here is my interdisciplinary computing blog:

computing4society.blogspot.com

There is already an entry (2 back I believe) about "what is interdisciplinary computing".

lisa

By LisaK

Head to http://cs.union.edu/~barrv/Grants/Teagle/teagle-overview.html#W2 for information about presentations given at the Union College workshop on computing in humanities and social sciences (feel free to look at the other workshops as well).

By vbarr

Hastac http://www.hastac.org
MATRIX http://www2.matrix.msu.edu/
Maryland Institute for Technology and the Humanities http://mith.umd.edu/

By vbarr

I am an associate professor of Computer Science at St John’s University in New York City. I also teach in the Healthcare Informatics program, and do a lot of curriculum design for this program, which is inherently interdisciplinary since it combines coursework in computer science, healthcare management, and biology. I actually have been interested in interdisciplinary computing research for many years, having previously worked on semantic data models and reasoning methods applied to the areas of code compliance and workflow in architecture (the building industry). Currently, I am interested in the healthcare field, and am especially interested in semantic search and case-based reasoning applied to the burgeoning area of online patient communities.

By mackellb@stjohns.edu