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Web science: a curriculum overview

Web science: a curriculum overview
Web science: a curriculum overview
Web Science is an emerging subject which is fundamentally inter-disciplinary. Web Science can be described as a ‘socio-technical’ subject, which reflects the current nature and evolution of the Web, and its impact upon society. The development of the Web, and consequently Web Science, is influenced by many aspects of life, from economics and politics, to law, health and social movements. The term Web Science was first coined in 2006. Subsequently, a growing number of institutions across the world began offering Web Science taught programmes. The majority of Web Science study takes place at Masters or PhD level; however a number of intuitions are now also offering Web Science undergraduate programmes. Currently there are no definitive curriculum guidlines for Web Science. Attempts at creating a formal subject definition for Web Science were made during the early days of formal Web Science teaching, with the Web Science Subject categorisation being released for public use in 2011. However, this was derived using a formal top down, theoretical approach. In practice, Web Science as it is researched and taught differs significantly from the formal model. While it is valuable for educators to have a formal definition of a curriculum, the process of manually assembling such a curriculum is onerous and protracted.

Conventional top down methods of curriculum design typically involve an international panel of experts meeting, conferring, creating an initial definition and sharing it for consultation with educators and other experts. This method is both time consuming and expensive. Therefore, within a rapidly developing field such as Web Science, a definition created using the typical top down approach is highly likely to become outdated by the time it could be formally defined. In order to address this problem, research which identifies from the ground up, the content and different types of teaching of Web Science at different academic levels, can usefully be used to define the curriculum. Despite the fact that the proposed process for creating the proposed curriculum for Web Science follows a bottom up approach as opposed to a top down approach, it is still useful to look at the design and subject content of existing similar curricula. Similar existing curricula include not only the ACM Computer Science curriculum, but also the ACM Information Science curriculum. These ACM curricula are an appropriate point of subject comparison with Web Science, given that the ACM sponsor the Web Science conference, and there is likely to be a fair degree of similarity and shared attributes between the subjects. This paper provides a brief overview of the background of the Web Science subject, before explaining the bottom up approach and research methodology used during this study, and why the proposed research approach is suited to Web Science. A comparison is made between examples of typical core modules taught for Computer Science, Information Science and Web Science in order to explore the overlaps between subjects of the curricula, with the aim of understanding what elements these subjects have in common.
curriculum development, education, educational approaches, grounded theory, web science
4686-4694
IATED Academy
Coskun, E.
8297e4a5-f294-43ed-b247-ce4f33c0c0d2
White, S.
5f9a277b-df62-4079-ae97-b9c35264c146
Coskun, E.
8297e4a5-f294-43ed-b247-ce4f33c0c0d2
White, S.
5f9a277b-df62-4079-ae97-b9c35264c146

Coskun, E. and White, S. (2017) Web science: a curriculum overview. In INTED2017 Proceedings. IATED Academy. pp. 4686-4694 . (doi:10.21125/inted.2017.1098).

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Web Science is an emerging subject which is fundamentally inter-disciplinary. Web Science can be described as a ‘socio-technical’ subject, which reflects the current nature and evolution of the Web, and its impact upon society. The development of the Web, and consequently Web Science, is influenced by many aspects of life, from economics and politics, to law, health and social movements. The term Web Science was first coined in 2006. Subsequently, a growing number of institutions across the world began offering Web Science taught programmes. The majority of Web Science study takes place at Masters or PhD level; however a number of intuitions are now also offering Web Science undergraduate programmes. Currently there are no definitive curriculum guidlines for Web Science. Attempts at creating a formal subject definition for Web Science were made during the early days of formal Web Science teaching, with the Web Science Subject categorisation being released for public use in 2011. However, this was derived using a formal top down, theoretical approach. In practice, Web Science as it is researched and taught differs significantly from the formal model. While it is valuable for educators to have a formal definition of a curriculum, the process of manually assembling such a curriculum is onerous and protracted.

Conventional top down methods of curriculum design typically involve an international panel of experts meeting, conferring, creating an initial definition and sharing it for consultation with educators and other experts. This method is both time consuming and expensive. Therefore, within a rapidly developing field such as Web Science, a definition created using the typical top down approach is highly likely to become outdated by the time it could be formally defined. In order to address this problem, research which identifies from the ground up, the content and different types of teaching of Web Science at different academic levels, can usefully be used to define the curriculum. Despite the fact that the proposed process for creating the proposed curriculum for Web Science follows a bottom up approach as opposed to a top down approach, it is still useful to look at the design and subject content of existing similar curricula. Similar existing curricula include not only the ACM Computer Science curriculum, but also the ACM Information Science curriculum. These ACM curricula are an appropriate point of subject comparison with Web Science, given that the ACM sponsor the Web Science conference, and there is likely to be a fair degree of similarity and shared attributes between the subjects. This paper provides a brief overview of the background of the Web Science subject, before explaining the bottom up approach and research methodology used during this study, and why the proposed research approach is suited to Web Science. A comparison is made between examples of typical core modules taught for Computer Science, Information Science and Web Science in order to explore the overlaps between subjects of the curricula, with the aim of understanding what elements these subjects have in common.

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Published date: 2017
Venue - Dates: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Valencia, Spain, 2017-03-06 - 2017-03-08
Keywords: curriculum development, education, educational approaches, grounded theory, web science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 413637
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/413637
PURE UUID: 699f2c1d-3b2f-4ec8-a54c-85b796c763ea
ORCID for S. White: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9588-5275

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Date deposited: 31 Aug 2017 16:31
Last modified: 27 Mar 2019 01:36

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