UNIV 101-049D First Year Experience Syllabus

The Path to Worldwide Computing: Where are we now and how can we proceed?

General Course Information

Instructor:Lori Pollock, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, 436 Smith Hall, 302-831-1953, lastname at cis.udel.edu.

Peer Mentor: Meghan Snyder, me(put last name here without parentheses)@udel.edu.

Meeting Times and Place

Mondays, 11:15AM - 12:05PM, 115 Gore Hall

Course Description

We will explore the challenges to providing worldwide computing, with a focus on the benefits and challenges of equal access across borders, cultures, languages, economies, and human physical abilities. We will also examine strategies and programs towards meeting these challenges.

We will also examine and discuss issues that are vital to your future success at the University of Delaware, including providing students with the materials necessary for developing skills for navigating the University of Delaware.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, the students should be able to:

  • Be aware of the state of the world in terms of access to computing
  • Understand the challenges in global computing beyond providing access
  • Be able to identify the organizations and their strategies toward increasing access
  • Understand the differences between facts and opinions
  • Analyze the impact of our actions and inactions on ourselves and others
  • Understand how to look at the ethics of a problem or situation, recognizing that our viewpoint is influenced by our own values
  • Begin to recognize the global implications of actions taken locally


Sept 1: Pizza dinner with peer mentor and faculty; getting to know each other, class goals, passports;

Sept 3: Greg Mortenson talks at 3:30 or 7pm, Mitchell Hall (YOU MUST TAKE YOUR UD ID and ARRIVE EARLY)

Sept 7: Labor Day, no class meeting

Sept 14: Three Cups of Tea discussion

  • pre-class homework: Complete reading the book; Find at least one online article (dated within the past 2 years) about a country or group of people that are denied access to computing like you are accustomed to, and add the link to the course wiki labeled by the group (eg., countryname), kind of denial, and your name

Sept 21: Decisions and personal safety: Alcohol awareness

  • pre-class homework: watch video Delaware: On the Rocks (media services VHS#4399 – 26 min); and find out who UD freshman Brett Griffin was and what happened to him and his companions (led by peer mentor)

DUE: blank passports; Here is a start of some pages if you want to use these.

Sept 28: State of global access to computing in the world discussion

  • pre-class homework: Read at least one of the articles posted by your classmates and be prepared to summarize/discuss; Write a short list of the what you use the internet for and estimate about how often you use it for each of these activities, bringing this list with you to class.

Oct 5: Decisions and personal safety: Safer sexuality (led by peer mentor)

Oct 12: Group Lunch at Grotto's

  • pre-class homework: complete 2 campus explorations

Oct 19: Campus explorations: sharing discoveries

  • pre-class homework: complete 2 more campus explorations

DUE: passport check

Oct 26: Communication and conflict management discussion

  • Handling stress and inter-personal relationships (led by peer leader)

Nov 2: Meeting your academic advisor

  • How to set up the meeting, prepare for the meeting, start and end the meeting; Talking about your mid-semester grades,

registration advice for spring semester; changing course registrations; unexpected grades;

Nov 9: Thinking Ahead to summer and next year

  • pre-class homework: set up your meeting with your academic advisor for spring registration discussion
  • housing for next year; summer options; winter session options: internships, undergrad research, study abroad, service learning scholar,…

Nov 16: Around-campus team exploration game

  • Where is the universe on campus?

Nov 23: End-of-Semester and Finals: Expectations and Planning

  • Expectations versus Reality; Studying Hints; Making a Plan; Staying with the Plan

Nov 30: Scavenger Hunt Game

  • pre-class homework: talk to at least one UD undergraduate who has participated in service learning, study abroad, or undergrad research, and learn more about their experience and their reflection on that experience - what did they gain? what did they wish would have been different?

Dec 7: Lessons learned from first college semester

  • pre-class homework: what would you like to tell a new incoming freshman that you had to learn the hard way?

DUE: passports

Resources and Workshops to Help You


Required Textbook

Mortenson, Greg – Three Cups of Tea, The book, by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin, features a compelling personal account of how one man has worked to make a difference by building schools in the most remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Students are encouraged to read this book prior to the start of classes in the fall.

Course Requirements

As a student in this course, you are expected to complete the following required activities AND record your attendance/participation in your FYE passport:

  • all Monday morning class meeting sessions (actively participating in class discussions)
  • Greg Mortenson talk, either 3:30pm or 7:30pm on Thursday, September 3rd, Mitchell Hall
  • pre-Mortenson class meeting, Tuesday, September 1, 6pm
  • class “internet” exploration activities on worldwide computing access
  • 14 fieldwork experiences (on average 1/week), including
    • 4 campus explorations ((e.g., best campus study spots, library resources, health center, museums, fitness centers, computing centers, best food, dept office for major, best dorm, writing center, etc)
    • 2 community explorations (e.g, Main St. restaurants, post office, banks, and bike shops; Salvation Army and Goodwill, city hall, bike trail, Creek Rd and White Clay Creek State Park, reservoir, etc)
    • 2 academic enrichment workshops (e.g., time management, academic management, note taking, reading strategies, test taking, preparing for finals)
    • 2 people explorations (e.g., academic adviser, professors during office hours)
    • 4 campus cultural events (e.g., film series, speakers, concerts, etc)

Students may also plan an optional group fieldtrip to a nearby destination of their choice.

University Requirements

UD email: If you want to receive your UD e-mail at a non-UD mailbox (e.g., AOL, Hotmail, etc.), you must forward your UD e-mail to that mailbox and ensure that it is working so that you can receive and read official UD e-mail, including course-related materials, in a timely fashion. Instructions for forwarding are posted on the UD Network Page [www.udel.edu/network]


You will be graded pass/fail for this course. To pass, you must complete all of the required assignments.

General Questions to be Examined in this Course

1. Equal Access to Computing

  • what is the state of the world in terms of access to computing? who has access? who doesn't? which countries? what kind of access do they have? what quality is that access? within the US and other countries? persons with disabilities?
  • what is being done now in attempt to create equal access? where? who?

2. Benefits of Worldwide Computing beyond Individuals

  • what are the benefits of global computing beyond individuals?

3. Challenges in Worldwide Computing beyond Access

  • What are the challenges in global computing beyond providing access?

4. Who is and can make Worldwide Computing happen?

  • who are the organizations/people who are involved in these efforts?
  • stereotypes of computing versus reality
  • what is the state of the human resources to face these challenges?
  • what kinds of people are needed?