Understanding the Computing Culture

What do the Internet, Mitch Kapor, Bill Gates and the movies, The Net and Sneakers, have in common? They are part of the computing culture where culture is defined as the patterns, traits, products and artifacts of a particular period, class or population. At every level, students must be familiar with the computing and information systems issues of the day.

Students must be exposed to more than just the technical facts and techniques of a discipline. They must feel, think and act, not just like computer science majors, but like computer scientists. Teaching the culture of a field is not just necessary in computing. All fields have a culture, a set of norms, a non academic literature found in popular magazines, newspaper columns, best-selling books, movies, TV and even jokes. But the problem appears to be more acute in computer science where personal and academic computing tend to merge. In particular, computing is different from other majors in that so much of it is learned outside the formal classroom setting.

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Last Updated on 30 September 1999