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Work in progress — Diversity harnessing in a general education course on digital information technology

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3 Author(s)
Schmitz, C.D. ; Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA ; Alonso, R.A.R. ; Loui, M.C.

Our general education course in digital information technology draws many students from academic disciplines outside science and mathematics. These students often struggle with the relevance of the course topics. To promote student motivation, we are modifying the course to better engage the students in the course topics via a method we term diversity harnessing. Diversity harnessing refers to the diversity in the students' personal interests and chosen academic disciplines. From the students' interests, we intend to gather applications and ideas and to quickly integrate this diverse student-driven subject matter back into the lectures, homework assignments, and examinations. Through diversity harnessing, we expect to find that students are more engaged in the course and that they apply the course content more effectively to their lives and careers beyond the end of the semester. We are assessing the effectiveness of diversity harnessing using both individual interviews and a standard course engagement questionnaire.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2011

Date of Conference:

12-15 Oct. 2011