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Core Information Technology

Overview
 
The Core Information Technology program prepares all cadets to be successful in applying information technology throughout their educational experience at West Point and then throughout their Army careers.
 
This is a reflection of the Army's longstanding commitment to technology in all forms. Our core courses descend from a tradition of technology in the curriculum from USMA's beginnings as America's first engineering school to today's emphasis on current military IT systems.
 
"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly
anyone knows anything about science and technology" - Carl Sagan
 
Our core courses are designed to provide cadets with the foundation to enable them to be life-long learners and users of information technology.
Courses
 
The Core IT program consists of two courses. The first, in the freshman year, prepares cadets to successfully employ technology for the rest of their time at West Point and beyond. Its most important goal is for cadets to "learn how to learn" about technology.
 
The second course, in the junior year, is focused on the theory and principles behind battlefield IT, the systems our graduates will see during their first ten years of service. Information assurance is a thread woven through both of these courses, which are detailed below.
 
Cadets and others at the USMA should see our internal home page for more information on these courses.
IT105 Introduction to Computing and Information Technology
 
Here's the USMA Course Catalog listing for IT105.
 
IT105 is carefully designed to allow for the broad range backgrounds of cadets just starting their studies. The inexperienced are guided and nurtured. The experienced are challenged! While completing IT105, cadets will:
  • Explore the internal components of the computer and how they relate to one another.
  • Understand the ubiquitous nature of sensors and how they work and build a sensor (such as a thermometer).
  • Develop a personal web page.
  • Utilize a stepped approach to problem solving and apply it to a variety of problem types.
  • Implement solutions to problems using Java programming, emphasizing the concepts of sequence, selection, and iteration.
  • Explore the current and future trends in IT.
  •  
    IT305 Theory and Practice of Military Information Systems
     
    Here's the USMA Course Catalog listing for IT305.
     
    IT305 is a dynamic course providing hands-on experience with a large range of state-of-the-art equipment as well as fundamental principles and concepts. While completing IT305, cadets will:
  • Explore more advanced techniques of web site development.
  • Understand the techniques used to change analog information into digital format and the issues to consider in this process.
  • Discuss intellectual property rights and how it affects their work as cadets and future Army officers.
  • Examine the structure of transmission of information across local and worldwide networks.
  • Explore some current IT systems used by today's Army.
  • Learn principles of design and querying techniques in Microsoft Access databases.
  • Investigate how information can be compromised and the tools and processes used to protect that information.
  • Objectives and Desired Outcomes
     
    We design and change the Core IT program by first considering, along with our program constituents, what our graduates should be able to do five to seven years after completing the program, combining their academic learning with later experience. This produces our objectives, which we adjust every several years, again with the help of our constituents.
     
    Objectives
     
    Five to seven years after graduation, cadets who completed Core IT can:
  • Apply the physical and mathematical principles underlying IT.
  • Know and explain how IT systems work.
  • Employ IT systems in field settings.
  • Use IT to solve complex problems and make decisions.
  • Advise others on the importance and implications of IT and digitization.
  •  
    In order to reach these objectives, which are rather abstract, we make day-to-day decisions about courses and lessons using desired outcomes. These list the things our cadets should be able to do upon graduation. We consider adjustments to outcomes each year when program assessment results are reviewed.
     
    Desired outcomes
     
    Upon graduation, cadets who have completed Core IT can:
  • Understand the role and interaction of sensing, disseminating, processing, and displaying information when employing IT.
  • Use an engineering methodology to solve composite problems.
  • Design, implement, and test algorithms to solve composite problems using sequence, selection, iteration, and problem decomposition.
  • Analyze the components of information and information technology systems and how they apply to the Army.
  • Evince accurate working knowledge of IT and digitization in terms of legal, societal, cultural, and technological impact.