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Ask Slashdot: How to ask college to change Intro to Computing?

taz346 (2715665) writes | about 2 years ago

Software 3

taz346 (2715665) writes "I got a Bachelor's degree 30 years ago, but I recently started back to college to get an Associate's degree. Most of the core courses are already covered by my B.A. but one that I didn't take way back when was Introduction to Computing. I am taking that now but have been very disappointed to find that it is really just Introduction to Microsoft Office 2010. That's actually the name of the (very expensive) textbook. It is mindless, boring and pretty useless for someone who's used PCs for about 20 years. But beyond that, why does it have to be all about MS Office and nothing else? Couldn't they just teach people to create documents, etc., and let them use any office software, like Libre Office? It seems to me that would be more useful; students would learn how to actually create things on their computers, not just follow step-by-step commands from a dumbed-down book about one piece of increasingly expensive software. I know doing it the way they do now is easy for the college, but it's not really teaching students much about what they can do with computers. So when the class is over, I plan to write a letter to the college asking them to change the course as I suggested above. I'm not real hopeful, but what the heck. Do folks out there have any good suggestions as to what might be the most persuasive arguments I can make?"

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3 comments

Time (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41425547)

I imagine that could take a while. Writing a letter is where I'd start. But it could take several semesters worth of petitions to get their attention, especially if they have 'incentive' to remain partial to micro$oft. Getting enough people to back your idea could be tough, at least based on my experience. Open-source is not exactly a topic taken seriously by people in CS 101 (nor most administrative bureaucracies), as most are taking it as a required course. My associates IT degree was grossly geared toward micro$oft and I am suffering for it now, because I had and still have zero interest in Windows -- and I only remember a very few students with any interest in Linux or *nix. Maybe you could accept defeat, pass the class and study material of interest on your own. There are many free tutorials on the interweb, both written and video. There may also be volunteers or individuals in your community offering classes -- a friend of mine teaches a basic Linux course here. I suspect such should work well for basic things. Otherwise, that's all this dweeb can say on the matter.

Good luck!

Intro class (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41431709)

Wow, I wish my Intro to Computer Science class was that easy. Okay, maybe not that easy, but the intro class I took last Spring was way harder than it should have been. Especially since I was just taking it for fun and it didn't go toward my major credits or gen ed.

Intro classes (1)

fleebait (1432569) | about 2 years ago | (#41431951)

You specifically did not say what your bachelors degree was, nor did you say what your associates target degree was. You'll not be able to change the curriculum for intro to computing for everyone -- as it is also used as a non-core class for others, who want, and need a practical application class of immediate use -- and possibly never take another computing class. And these days, for most, it's going to be a course on the most immediately useful for other courses, and majors. So the default class these days, and most broadly useful is simply going to be MS Office.

If you want to change your own course and study plan, it is quite simple to petition the board for the courses you want/need. For my majors, I did a triple track, and got an AS CSIS, AA Philosophy, and AA Psychology. Took 3 1/2 years.

It is very hard to change the curriculum for ALL students, and will require substantial petitions, presentations and writing to support your argument.

It is not so difficult to change your own target and course plan, and much simpler in the application process. I did not even need the help and guidance of a counselor/instructor for my application. To change a school curriculum for all students, you'll need the support of instructors and department heads. There's politics, turf and money involved, as well as finding qualified instructors.

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