Project Title: General Education Immersion Concentration in Mobile Computing for Non-Computing Majors: The First Course

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1 Project Title: General Education Immersion Concentration in Mobile Computing for Non-Computing Majors: The First Course Applicant(s): Name Minseok Kwon Telephone College/Dept. GCCIS/Computer Science ( ) Name Rajendra K. Raj Telephone College/Dept. GCCIS/Computer Science ( ) Name Carol Romanowski Telephone Lomb Memorial 102 Lomb Memorial College/Dept. Provost s Office/CMS ( ) 31 Lomb Memorial

2 1. Summary of proposed project The three primary objectives of this interdisciplinary project are: (1) developing and delivering a course for non-majors in the area of mobile peer-to-peer computing, (2) creating an appropriate set of online laboratory exercises that provide the experiences needed to learn these concepts, and (3) adapting and incorporating topics from the latest research into the course. The course is intended as the first in what will be a general education immersion concentration in modern computing targeted to students who are not computing majors. For this project, the modern world of computing is defined as one based on mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, netbooks, tablets, and similar) as the fundamental computing units that rely on cloud storage (e.g., Google Apps, Flickr/Picasa, Facebook, file backup systems such as Carbonite, and similar). This is the world of computing familiar to all students, who need to have a conceptual and practical understanding of the inherent computing, data, and privacy/security issues involved here. This course is aimed at the non-major to reach the broadest audience possible with concepts and topics that are important and timely for students. Per New York State (NYS) requirements, required general education courses cannot be directed toward specific occupational or professional objectives. Building on NYS guidelines, the new General Education Framework requires immersion courses to be linked by a theme or a discipline, and encourages such courses to be interdisciplinary and integrative concentrations that build on a perspective. With the success of this introductory course, we plan on proposing two other courses; they are thus eminently qualified to be general education based both on NYS and definitions. This set of courses is an important addition to the general education portfolio, as it delivers content unlike any existing course. It is therefore of significance to most, if not all, students regardless of major, and represents a growing subfield within the domain of computing. To our knowledge, no textbooks exist that support these classes, which we see as an opportunity for to take the lead in this area. Note that the proposed course is not meant to be a superficial treatment of these topics, but to provide a deep coverage that will truly broaden student understanding of these concepts. We believe that this course represents the initial effort of a crucial pillar of modern general education in computing. The sequence begins with an introductory course in mobile devices. Students with one Gen Ed programming approved course can take this class. To keep the prerequisite chain short, the other two classes planned in the sequence require only this first introductory course. The preliminary course description and some possible topics for this class: Course 1, Working Title: Introduction to Mobile Computing Course Description: In recent years, new, small and lightweight, but more intelligent mobile devices and embedded systems, such as smartphones, tablet devices, and other mobile Internet devices, have become popular. These devices present some challenges in programming, security, and data management. This course will introduce the student to basic concepts and issues in programming mobile devices; mobile device architecture; infrastructures needed to support such devices; power management issues; and information security, data management, and privacy issues. The student will explore these topics through hands-on programming experiences with the devices. The course consists of online lectures and laboratory exercises using two or more of the common mobile platforms such as Google s Android (several smartphones and now tablets), Apple s ios (iphone, ipod Touch, and ipad), Microsoft s Windows Phone 7 (smartphones) and Research in Motion s Blackberry OS (smartphones and tablets).

3 Pre-requisite: one General Education Perspective course that introduces students to computer programming. Note: several introductory courses in programming are offered by various departments in several colleges. In summary, this project aims at developing the first course in a new set of courses that teach critical topics in mobile computing. We will use smartphones with several different operating systems as the basic platforms for these topics, providing a stimulating environment with handson experience and generating student interest with timely subjects. The students who take the entire course sequence will become more knowledgeable about mobile devices and will be able to develop mobile applications over wireless networks. We anticipate that this experience and knowledge will be invaluable not only in students daily lives, but also when they join the workforce or pursue graduate study. 2. Targeted learners or population (include cluster, departments, year level, number of learners impacted) The primary target audience will be undergraduate non-computing majors who are interested in learning conceptual and practical issues underlying the mobile computing devices they use and the data they handle. Approximately over 300 students are in the target pool each year. 3. Is this for a current course or new course? This is a new course starting as a pilot class with a relatively small number of students (approximately 25). We will then develop a full-fledged course based on the pilot course. 4. Anticipated impact on teaching and/or learning This project will have several impacts on teaching and learning. First, it is the first attempt at designing a set of general education immersion online courses in modern computing as Gen Ed. Second, the course is interdisciplinary, allowing students to learn topics across different areas of computing, social networks, law and society, and user issues. Third, the project will offer hands-on experience to non-computing major students to discover, integrate, and understand advanced computing concepts in a contextual framework. The course will also result in students who are well informed about privacy and security issues that impact their daily lives. Finally, the proposed activities will lead to the development of innovative course materials that provide for a challenging but enjoyable learning environment. We also expect the developed course will inspire our students to apply modern computing to their own programs. 5. How will your project impact student success (i.e., retention)? With the recent proliferation of smartphones, many students will be interested in our course and learn about programming (app development), system architectures, security and privacy issues, and the Web. Through hands-on experience in our labs and projects, the students will become more familiar with these platforms not only conceptually, but also practically, in a real experimental environment as a form of cross-disciplinary education. We expect this approach will also strengthen the institute's required co-op program where the concepts and practices of mobile devices, cloud computing, the Web, and security are a critical skill regardless of major. We anticipate that the timely topics and hands-on experiences will ultimately help improve our student retention rates. In addition, we anticipate that the excitement and popularity of devices such as iphone and Android phones will make computing and programming attractive to all

4 students. We also believe that the broad audience attracted by this class will help our outreach and recruitment efforts to women and minorities. 6. How you will measure the impact, how you will report your findings, and what you will share about your project in a faculty forum. We will measure the impact in three ways: (a) assess student learning in the proposed course using student surveys and their performance in different course components, (b) feedback from an advisory board of reviewers, selected from faculty and members of departmental Industrial Advisory Boards, with the goal of enhancing the course design and structure, and (c) feedback from external peer reviews of our scholarly works. We will report our findings to departmental advisory boards and pedagogical conferences in computing, and also offer to present them at FITL and other appropriate Wallace Center forums on online learning. 7. Present a rationale for your project, as it ties to the intent of the grant, including: a. Why it is not part of regular college business The proposed course is being developed as the first of a brand-new immersion concentration of courses aimed primarily at general education under semesters, but will be piloted under quarters. The fact that it is being proposed for general education under semesters means that it is not part of the regular business of the college, specifically for the proposers. b. Its relevance to required cluster, college, and/or department competencies Basic computing issues are in the core competencies of the Department of Computer Science and dealing with diverse students across all of is a core competency of CMS. As the proposed course focuses on teaching basic computing to a diverse target of students, the course is definitely within the core competencies of the collaborating faculty, and is relevant to their department and center. c. Describe how your project is relevant to other faculty and what you think it would take to transfer your success to other faculty For reasons stated in part (b) above, other faculty in computer science or in the entire GCCIS will find the course relevant and useful in jump-starting similar courses in other areas of computing addressed to the larger student body outside of GCCIS. To help achieve this result, we will help offer hands-on help to other and external educators interested in adopting our approach to their own curriculum. We will also create a web site to foster its dissemination, and where appropriate, we will present our work in professional conferences in fields covered by the course. d. Relevant credentials, experience of involved faculty/staff Carol Romanowski is interested in applied data mining in engineering design, product lifecycle management, and critical infrastructure. She teaches courses in quality management and history/manufacture of siege weapons (CMS), new product design and development (CAST) and data mining (GCCIS). She is affiliated faculty with the GCCIS Ph.D. program and a member of the data management cluster in Computer Science. Minseok Kwon s main research interests are peer-to-peer overlay networks, network security, wireless mobile networks, and cloud computing. Since he joined in 2004, he has designed

5 and taught several networking courses, parallel computing, operating systems, and introductory programming courses. He has also published many papers in the areas of networking and network security. Rajendra K. Raj is interested in secure software systems and secure data management in distributed and cloud settings, especially as applied to health and enterprise systems. Another of his focus areas is CS curriculum development, especially the use of computing in general education, and in assessment. He previously worked in the financial services industry where he developed and managed secure distributed data infrastructures used worldwide to build financial software applications. e. Describe how this innovation is in your discipline or program Topics studied in this project mobile computing, smartphones, Web, security, and social networks have gained tremendous attention and are considered timely within Computer Science in GCCIS and the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies. Both the departments are also interested in contributing to the recently approved Gen Ed framework. Although many faculty members in GCCIS and CMS recognize the necessity of such a course on these topics in the Gen Ed context, none has yet paved the way. That is, this pioneering project leading to the development of the proposed innovative course will help to catalyze the development of similar courses. 8. Provide a timetable of the development of the project. Summer 20104: Install needed software and make donated equipment (smartphones) work. Develop software infrastructure to support lectures, homework, and course projects. Fall 20111: Develop course materials. Continue to work on software infrastructure as requirements evolve. Winter 20112: Continue to develop course materials and software infrastructure. Spring 20113: Offer the introductory course. Revise course materials as needed. Summer 20114: Analysis of course evaluations, reviews from the advisory board. Dissemination of results through Web site and conference submission.

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