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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

As reliance on the web in general and web search engines in particular expands, student interest in the domain of information retrieval is increasing. In response to this increased interest, at the Illinois Institute of Technology, we recently extended our computer science undergraduate curriculum to include an introductory course in information retrieval. Instead of simply understanding how to build applications using information retrieval tools, our students build these tools and learn the relevant algorithms implemented in these tools. Our syllabus includes a hands-on lab setting where students use the tools they build to perform experiments that could ultimately extend the field. Also as part of our course, we administered pre- and post-questionnaires to assess how much knowledge (of the topics included in the course) the students thought they had prior to the start of the course, their expectations for the course, and how well these expectations were met. We present results that indicate a statistically significant improvement in the students' self-reported knowledge in information retrieval. Student final exam scores substantiate these results.

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