Robert L. Oakman has been on the faculty at the University of South Carolina since 1968, with a joint appointment in English and Computer Science. For the past eleven years he has served as coordinator of the introductory computer literacy course for the general undergraduate population.
With the introduction of new personal computers, Oakman redesigned the computer literacy course at the University of South Carolina to switch the focus from computer concepts and programming to the uses of applications software as well as computer and society issues. The goal of his interdisciplinary course was to make technical materials interesting and relevant to a wide variety of majors -- foreign languages, art, education, nursing, journalism, English, history, criminal justice. The course has been hugely successful, attracting more than 10,000 students during the past ten years.
Professor Oakman's educational background is rather distinctive: he holds a B.A. degree in mathematics from the University of Mississippi , an M.A. in numerical analysis (the early focus of computer science studies) from the University of Wisconsin , and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English literature from Indiana University . In addition to computer literacy, his research interests are natural language processing and educational technology, including multimedia authoring systems.