[SIGCIS-Members] History courses in CS departments

Mike Halvorson halvormj at plu.edu
Wed Feb 15 10:31:17 PST 2023

Hi Evan--

At Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA), I teach:

* Hist 121: History in Video Games
* Hist/Phil 248: Innovation, Ethics, and Society
* Hist 346: History of Technology
* CSCE: Windows Programming with Visual Studio

The four courses overlap and many students take one on their way to a BA or
BS degree in Computer Science. Since several satisfy GUR requirements,
which all departments should contribute to, there is a case to be made to
offer them. (We also have an Innovation Studies minor that the courses
apply to.)

In general, our CS faculty is overloaded with demand and they appreciate
the extra courses, which are allowed as electives. By focusing on history,
ethics, and society, I am able to connect to core CS learning outcomes that
are sometimes neglected in traditional CS courses. However, justifying a
faculty member within the department to teach these topics is an ongoing
challenge. My home department is History / Innovation Studies.

Best of luck!


On Wed, Feb 15, 2023 at 9:41 AM Evan Koblentz via Members <
members at lists.sigcis.org> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> I've been teaching a special topics course in computer history for three
> semesters here at NJIT. The university policy is three semesters maximum,
> then the course must be made permanent or cancelled. So I'm going through
> the process of trying to make it permanent.
> The department administration supports it, but it has to be voted on by
> the rank-and-file faculty, many of whom don't seem to understand the value
> of a history course -- or at least not of a history course in a technical
> department, rather than through our humanities college.
> It would help if I can show them other examples. Can anyone point me
> existing examples of history courses in CS, EE, or other technical
> departments at U.S. universities?
> --
> Evan Koblentz
> New Jersey Institute of Technology
> - Senior Writer, Office of Strategic Communications
> - Adjunct Instructor, Ying Wu College of Computing
> - Faculty/Staff Advisor, NJIT Lego Club
> evank at njit.edu
> (973) 596-3065
> https://web.njit.edu/~evank
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Michael J. Halvorson, Ph.D.
Benson Family Chair in Business and Economic History
Professor of History
Director of Innovation Studies
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