Monday, 20 December 2010

Qualification Development Team meeting

The QDT for this development met today. It was the third meeting of the group. There was an excellent turn-out given the severe weather conditions (11 of 13 members attended). The key objectives today were to listen to Gerry talk about the consultations he has carried out, and to decide on which one of the various options we should take forward.

Gerry updated members on his discussions with colleges (which included students themselves), universities, vendors, employers and other groups with an interest in these qualifications (such as External Verifiers). He is going to write a formal consultation report in the near future but it's pretty clear, at this time, that the consultations were supportive of the general direction of the project. A particularly important consultation was that held at the recent Heads of Computing event when Gerry discussed the various options with a number of college staff. He reported that the Heads  expressed a clear preference for one of the options.

That option also received the unanimous support of the QDT today. The option is a common HNC with specialist HNDs in Technical Support, Computer Networking, and Software Development, and a generic HND Computing. The only real point of debate was the generic HNC since some members (not many) wanted to retain the HNC Computer Networking.

The HNC would consist of a small core (around six credits) and lots of options. The core units would be largely core skills, contextualised in Computing. For example, communication skills could be carried in a Computer Ethics unit; problem solving and numeracy could be carried in a Programming Principles unit.

The other debate related to Graded Units. HNC Computing has traditionally used an examination. However, the "normal" Graded Unit is a project, and there was an interesting debate around this issue. The conclusion was that we would seek permission to continue to use an examination. A (small) minority of members preferred a project. The HNDs would continue to use projects.

Another discussion related to assessment. There was a strong feeling that we had to significantly reduce the assessment load. It was proposed that no more than 10% of the time (in each unit) should be used for assessment.

While Gerry will continue to lead the overall project, we chose individuals to lead each specific award. So, Janice Maxted (Langside College) will take special responsibility for HNC Computing, Derek Summers (Perth College) for HND Computing, Chris Deegan (City of Glasgow) for HND Computer Networking, Willie McCabe (James Watt College) for HND Technical Support, and Peter Ainsworth (Motherwell College) for HND Software Development.

Now that we have made these important decisions, the next step is to put some flesh on the bones. The QDT will meet in January to create the five frameworks mentioned above.

Contact Caroline if you want to know more about this project.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Heads of Computing event

The annual Heads of Computing event took place on Friday at the Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh. More information is here. A significant part of the day was spent discussing the HN review.

We had previously consulted on the various options last June, when there was a clear majority (over 90% of attendees) in favour of one particular option -- a common HNC followed by specialist HNDs. Since then we have consulted further (such as the recent External Verifier meeting) and we used Friday's event for a final consultation on our plans. Once again there was an overwhelming (100%!) support for the option of a single HNC (Computing) award followed by specialist HND awards, including a generic HND Computing award.

Now that this has been put to bed, we can move on to developing frameworks and getting down to the serious business of actually producing the qualifications.

Contact Gerry for more information about this project.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Head of Computing meeting

I am taking this opportunity to put up a notice of the meeting on Friday, 3 December 2010, in order that Computing sections up and down the country have a chance to discuss the development of the new or existing HNC/D's in the Computing sector.

There will be a brief discussion on the possible new awards, and then all colleges should cast their vote for their preferred structure.

The options are
Option 1 Keep the current structure and tweak the current units to bring them up to date.

Option 2 Have an HNC for each new HND award. i.e
HNC / HND Computing: Software Development.
HNC / HND Computing: Technical Support .
HNC / HND Computer Networking.

Option 3 A generic HNC Computing with 3 possible HND’s.
HND Computing: Software Development.
HND Computing: Technical Support ?
HND Computer Networking

Option 4 A generic HNC Computing with 4 possible HND’s.
HND Computing: Software Development.
HND Computing: Technical Support .
HND Computer Networking.
HND Computing

If any college wants to propose a different structure please let me know asap.

There will also be a vote on which type of graded unit will be developed for the HNC.
Project or Exam

As the weather may make your journeys to Edinburgh very difficult, then I think it would be wise to contact myself if you cannot attend and I will ask that your vote would be counted at the meeting. Only one vote per college will be accepted.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Heads of Computing Event

The annual Heads of Computing event is taking place on Friday 3rd December 2010 in the Barcelo Edinburgh Carlton Hotel.

One of the main items on the agenda is the HN Review for Computing/Networking awards.  Gerry MacKie, who is the Lead Developer for this project, will be presenting on the consultation so far and more importantly, requesting that centres cast their vote (1 per centre) on what awards will be put forward for development (i.e. common HNC leading to 3 or 4 HND awards, 3 separate HNC awards leading to 3 separate HND awards etc).

Once the QDT have a clear steer on the agreed routes the actual design/development of the awards will commence alongside further consultation.

If you have not yet registered online to come along to the event, please do so by clicking on the URL below:

See you on the 3rd December.

Monday, 8 November 2010

QDT meeting

The second meeting of the Qualification Development team met this morning. There was an excellent attendance, with 13 of the 14 members present, including representatives of City of Glasgow, Motherwell and Stevenson colleges.

The main item of discussion was an update on the consultation that Gerry has carried out so far. Gerry has been concentrating on colleges and visited several centres to get their views on what needs to be changed. He will now focus on Higher Education and employers, including vendors, to get their views on what should be included in the new awards. The output from this stage of the development will be a report that summarises the consultation with all of the interested parties.

We also agreed to ask a student onto the QDT to ensure that their views are represented. A recent graduate from an HNC/D course will be asked to join.

Gerry will play a key part at the forthcoming Heads of Computing event, when he will present his findings to date and present various alternative frameworks to get their feedback. The QDT will then take all of this into account before deciding on a specific framework for the revised qualifications.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Survey monkey questionnaire

It is my intention to finish the questionnaire today and post it tomorrow. I am keen to find out everyones thoughts on the development.

We do really need to think long and hard about what we put in the awards, and I am keen to get a product that is fit for use for as long as possible.

There will always be change but I was gladdened to hear the CISCO unit writers have already agreed to be very generic in their writing.

The discussion on vendor units will need to be worked out as we are creating an SQA award which has to be able to be delivered by all colleges, and not only those who can take on the vendor training.

Gerry Mackie

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Acceptance of lead developers role

Hi everyone,

I had an initial meeting with Bobby and Caroline and have accepted the role on offer.

This is a challenge and the team will be asked to respond to produce a new product for the sector.

I am humbled by the support I received but this is not a weakness this is a strength that will drive the development.

I will call for a meeting of the core QDT very soon, as soon as we have an agenda in place.

Gerry Mackie

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Lead developer has been selected

One of the first tasks that needs to be carried out is to chose a person to lead the development. So I asked for nominations at the first QDT meeting -- and got four. They were all excellent candidates but I had to choose one, and I chose Gerry Mackie of Dundee College to lead this project. So congratulations to Gerry. He will bring a wealth of experience to the role. I'll be meeting with Gerry in the near future to move things on.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Core QDT - Kick-Off Meeting

The first meeting of the Qualification Development Team for the review of HNC/D Computing and HNC/D Networking was held on Friday.

There was an excellent turnout, with representatives of 11 colleges attending, including Adam Smith College, Central College, Dundee College and James Watt College.

The uniquely collaborative way that we develop qualifications, in partnership with stakeholders, is one of SQA's greatest strengths. These new awards will be shaped by the people who will ultimately deliver them.

The main aim of Fridays meeting was to set the scene, so we explained the background to the development and outlined some of the tasks that lie ahead of us. The immediate tasks for the team are to choose a lead developer and for this person to carry out consultation with interested parties. So we asked for volunteers and nominations for lead developer, who we are hoping to select in the next week or two.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

First Meeting of the QDT

Our first meeting of the Core QDT will take place next Friday (27th) August here in SQA Offices.

This will be an important meeting where we will spend some time discussing the role/remit of QDT members as well as identifying some key timelines for the review of the HNC/D awards. We shall also be discussing the use of Web 2.0 tools in the development process.

I'm sure you will enjoy being part of this exciting development.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Welcome to the HN Review Blog

I would like to take the opportunity to welcome you to our new blog dedicated to the HN Review for Computing/Networking.

Our blog will provide general information to centres and individuals and also be used as as a vehicle to disseminate information on our current HN Review developments.

Members of this blog include SQA Staff members and our HN Review Qualification Design Team members.

We hope you will find this blog both useful and informative.