Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Humanities majors often find themselves in jobs where they either manage programmers or work with them in close collaboration. These interactions often pose difficulties because specialists in literature, history, philosophy, and so on are not usually "code literate." They do not understand what tasks computers are best suited to, or how programmers solve problems. Learning code literacy would be a great benefit to humanities majors, but the traditional computer science curriculum is heavily math oriented, and students outside of science and technology majors are often math averse. Yet they are often interested in language, linguistics, and science fiction. This thesis is a case study to explore whether computational linguistics and artificial intelligence provide a suitable setting for teaching basic code literacy. I researched, designed, and taught a course called “Language Processing and the Artificial Mind.” Instead of math, it focuses on language processing, artificial intelligence, and the formidable challenges that programmers face when trying to create machines that understand natural language. This thesis is a detailed description of the material, how the material was chosen, and the outcome for student learning. Student performance on exams indicates that students learned code literacy basics and important linguistics issues in natural language processing. An exit survey indicates that students found the course to be valuable, though a minority reacted negatively to the material on programming. Future studies should explore teaching code literacy with less programming and new ways to make coding more interesting to the target audience.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Orozco, Rafael

Included in

Linguistics Commons