Carnegie Mellon isn’t like just any other university. We should celebrate our uniqueness. You might laugh if I said that this could start with — and you might have to read this twice — CSW.
But why not? This is the single course on our campus that every undergraduate must take. We don’t want to make passing CSW harder to achieve, we just want to make it more enjoyable and worthwhile to achieve. CSW should be an effective, efficient, and important class. It should reflect who we are.
CSW should reflect the pride we have for our campus, and it should give us the skills we need to succeed within our campus community. A functioning level of computer skills is necessary to be successful at Carnegie Mellon — but we need to know more than AFS to make the most of our time here. CSW’s course designers have recognized this and have most recently expanded the curriculum to include “responsible computing” and “university libraries” components. It’s time for another expansion.
We have resources to offer that students need to know about. We have a Career Center, an Office of International Education, and a Fellowship Resource Advising Center. We have a world-renowned conservatory with shows every week, and sports teams that are breaking records.
Students need to know about tutoring, CMARC, and syncing calendars. What about green resources on campus, public transportation, and athletic facilities? This is all knowledge that students (hopefully) acquire during their tenure at Carnegie Mellon. It just shouldn’t take two or three years to collect all that information. Navigating your way around campus is important to succeed at this school, and a “Carnegie Skills Workshop” would go beyond the digital.
CSW is a course with a great history; it recognizes the special demands of the Carnegie Mellon student. From its inception, it has aimed to arm students with skills they will need in our particular environment. It is, and should be, about campus literacy. Computing skills are an integral and important part of these, but as the history of the course has shown us, not the only ones. Library research skills and responsible computing was a start. It’s time to expand the course goals again. It’s time for a Carnegie Skills Workshop.