Most Drexel students and faculty can probably agree on one thing: it has been a quarter unlike any other in Drexel’s history. With the rapid shift to a virtual learning environment due to the pandemic, Drexel College of Computing & Informatics faculty have leveraged their innovation and creativity, as well as deep experience in asynchronous learning methods, to deliver a consistent, valuable educational experience in these uncertain times.
One of those faculty members is Assistant Teaching Professor Tim Gorichanaz, PhD, who for the past nine weeks has guided students in his INFO 150 Introduction to Ubiquitous Computing course in publishing an online magazine, Digital Shroud.
“I wanted to come up with a kind of assignment that was interesting and compelling and wasn’t just sitting on Blackboard watching lecture videos and taking exams,” said Gorichanaz. “I wanted to integrate some meaningful peer learning as well. The digital magazine concept is a natural fit with the online learning environment, and it also gives the students a chance to write in a new genre, think about copyright and usage issues when it comes to photos and so on, and much more."
Ubiquitous computing, or “ubicomp,” refers to the modern era of computers embedded into everything we do and everywhere we are – such as smartphones and smart home technology. Students in the INFO 150 class explore topics such as privacy, interfaces, location and context-awareness, and are encouraged to think critically about impacts of present and future technologies.
For Digital Shroud, students contributed video, audio and written reflections within three suggested categories: the scope and capabilities of the ubicomp field, the challenges and risks of innovating in ubicomp, and the history and unmet potential of the field. Each student was required to complete at least one post from each category to ensure that they covered the breadth of the learning outcomes throughout the term.
Under this structure, students chose their own topics and were encouraged to share out their perspectives with friends and colleagues to allow others to read and respond to their posts.
With a focus on wearable, smart and pervasive technology, the Internet of things (IoT), and internet infrastructure, article topics range from a critique of Siri (Apple’s artificial intelligence technology) to controversies around facial recognition technology, and what the smart cities of the future might look like.
“It’s important to me that students can pursue topics and questions that are interesting to them, and also that they wind up with something that they can use in their portfolio when they’re on the job search,” said Gorichanaz.
Click here to read Digital Shroud