Professor of Computer Science John Donaldson’s Oberlin roots go back to the 1880s, when his great grandparents were Oberlin students. So he was delighted, he says, to have the opportunity to join the Oberlin faculty in 2000, after retiring from the faculty of the University of Akron.
Donaldson has taught a wide variety of lower- and upper-level courses in the computer science curriculum, concentrating on courses in computer systems, such as operating systems, computer organization, compilers, database management, and computer networks. He recently developed an interest in natural language processing and introduced a new course in that area.
His research has focused on the development of software for the teaching and learning of operating systems and computer organization. At Oberlin, he collaborated with colleague Richard Salter and several students on such a project, involving the simulation of computer systems at the digital logic level. Among his other favorite experiences at Oberlin was coaching student programming teams for the regional programming contests sponsored by Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).
Donaldson earned a PhD in mathematics at the Ohio State University in 1975, and soon moved into the developing field of computer science. Long active in the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) of ACM, he was named a SIGCSE Pioneer in 2009. He has also held faculty positions at Kent State University, Bowling Green State University, California State University, Los Angeles, and Rollins College.
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