The ITL curriculum strives to educate students about fundamental information technology principles following a liberal arts philosophy that students' education should focus on developing their general intellectual skills rather than on specific professional training. Majors in the ITL program have significant flexibility in directing their course offerings to reflect their own educational interests and goals. To this end, the curriculum is divided into five core courses taken by all ITL majors, and a number of electives, grouped by emphasis.
The ITL core courses ensure that all students are exposed to the central principles of ITL department and its mission. Within the core courses, students learn about the historical and social contexts of technology, the forms of problem solving unique to technology, the interaction between technology and its users, and ethical and leadership issues surrounding the deployment of technology. Specifically, the core curriculum includes:
ITL 100: Information Technology and Society - Students will learn the history of information technology, focusing on the economic, political and social forces that drove its development and its various forms. They will also be introduced to social and ethical issues in computing. Extensive reading and writing will exercise their skills in communicating about technology and analyzing the influences between a particular technology and its cultural context.
ITL 102: Introduction to Programming - Students will learn basic programming techniques and the approaches to problem solving supported by programming languages. Through this, they will also be exposed to issues in problem specification and refinement, and analyzing the quality of a solution to a posed problem. Students will practice their skills on problems drawn from a range of academic disciplines.
ITL 112: Database Concepts - Students will survey the role of databases within a variety of academic, business, and governmental organizations while being introduced to database design and management. The information representation techniques supported by various database management systems will be explored as students create databases related to their major fields or areas of academic interest.
ITL 301: Human-Computer Interaction - Students will survey results in human-computer interaction research and issues in cognitive psychology relevant to the design of computing systems for human use. Particular emphasis is placed on developing their knowledge of the basic psychological phenomena of human cognition, memory, problem solving, and language, and on how those processes relate to and condition the interaction between humans and interactive computing systems.
ITL 400: Capstone Experience - Students will partner with a local nonprofit organization in this service-learning course to assist in determining or supporting their information technology needs. This will commonly include performing a needs assessment, developing a plan for addressing indicated needs (including a schedule of deliverables), and meeting the schedule in a timely manner. Students will take a leadership role in advising the organization and not simply act as a technical support. Students will come together with an instructor and other students involved in a service-learning experience to discuss readings in the fields of service and leadership, and receive support in technologies necessary to complete their service compact.
Beyond the core courses, ITL majors must take five other ITL courses, at least three drawn from a single emphasis. Each emphasis considers a different perspective on information technology and encourages different connections with the college's broader liberal arts curriculum.
Computer Science Emphasis
Students in the computer science emphasis focus on how we represent and work with diverse information in the presence of information technology. They will learn about the connections between how we choose to organize our data and how we choose to compute using our data, including considerations of space efficiency and time efficiency. Students apply these concepts in a range of domains within computing and develop skills in selecting the appropriate techniques for the given context. They will also learn to balance ideal visions for large scale systems with real-world considerations such as development time, resource limitations, security, reliability, and maintainability. In conjunction with the core courses in the ITL major, this emphasis will prepare students to pursue a career or graduate education in areas such as software engineering, information systems management, information security, computer science and other computational fields.
New Media Emphasis
Students in the new media emphasis focus on how we communicate meaning through innovative contexts capitalizing on various new media, including static and multimedia web documents, digital images, and digital video and audio. Visual literacy and creative problem solving are stressed; students are asked to reflect on their consumption and critical understanding of new media content. A wide range of fields are drawn from, including graphic design, educational technology, media studies, photography, human-computer interaction, film studies, electronic publishing, project management, multimedia production. Courses from the new media emphasis include ITL 271: Preparing New Media, ITL 361: Digital Imaging, ITL 365: Digital Film, and ITL 370: Web Design and Development.
Data Discovery Emphasis
Students in the data discovery emphasis will focus on the ways that computers can help humans understand complex social behaviors or scientific phenomena. In addition to learning how to acquire data for digital manipulation, students will learn how to access large datasets for specific purposes, and to convert that data into human-useable form. Students will be encouraged to connect these skills to interests in a connected minor or double major in a science or social science field, using the data discovery techniques of data analysis, data mining, or geographic information systems to complement their broader educational objectives. Courses from the data discovery emphasis include ITL 241: Introduction to Data Mining, ITL 346: Geographic Information Systems, ITL 351: Advanced Database Design, and ITL 359: Database Driven Web-Sites. Students interested in Information Technology Leadership but who do not wish to major are urged to consider the ITL minor as a vehicle to discover connections between their primary area of academic interest and issues in information technology. The minor may be of particular interest to students in art, psychology, or various science and social sciences fields. Students with a primary interest in art may also wish to consider the Graphic Design Concentration, an interdisciplinary concentration between the Art and ITL departments open to students of any major wishing to study the theory and production techniques pertaining to graphic images of any form.
For further details, visit the College Catalog.