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.