Monday, 25 July 2011

Vendor qualifications

I've been meaning to post something about how we plan to incorporate vendor qualifications for some time.

We currently do this through "credit transfer", whereby centres can claim SQA units for passing vendor qualifications. We achieve this by maintaining shadow units that incorporate vendor skills - but can also be delivered in a more generic way.

By way of a pilot, we plan to change this. We intend to directly accredit vendor qualifications by giving them SQA credits without going through the process of credit transfer. The approved vendor qualifications would sit in a separate (optional) group of units. Vendors would be responsible for ensuring their qualifications are on SCQF. The number of vendor units that could contribute to any HN award would be limited.

This doesn't mean that you have to deliver any vendor qualifications to get one of the new HNs but it does mean that students who possess these qualifications will receive recognition for their achievements.

The scheme is a pilot because we have to see how it goes. There may be academic and operational issues to resolve. But, if it works, it will be one of the most flexible vendor-accreditation schemes (within national qualifications) in the world.

If you are a vendor and you want to know more about this pilot scheme please contact Caroline.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Selecting unit writers

We have had a good response to the call for volunteers to write units. So, we are almost in a position to begin matching volunteers to units.

We will use the following criteria to match people to units:
  1. the person has attended unit writing training*
  2. the person has previous experience of unit writing and/or vetting
  3. the person is a member of the QDT (core or extended)
  4. the person is has played a lead or active role in developments to date
  5. the person is recognised as a subject expert
  6. the person has relevant teaching experience*
  7. the person has relevant curriculum development experience (such as involvement in previous qualification developments)
  8. the person has relevant experience of working with SQA (such as external verification)
  9. an appropriate overall balance of age/experience/gender/position/location is achieved
(* mandatory)

We will use this criteria to choose one person when we have several volunteers for a single unit. The criteria is not in order of importance.

You do not have to meet all of the criteria. Some are essential (such as number 1 and number 6) but most are not. Criterion 9 is not designed to exclude inexperienced people. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is there to encourage inexperienced people (such as part time lecturers) or minorities (such as women, who are under-represented in these developments) to volunteer since it permits us to choose someone in spite of their relative inexperience in order to achieve a good balance for the writing team as a whole.

Selections will be made in the near future. It's not too late to volunteer.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Unit Development

As you will be aware, we have been unable to commence with unit development work due to a delay in confirmation of our internal budget.  On Tuesday of this week Bobby, Gerry and myself met to discuss the list of definitive Units that will be taken forward for development as part of the HN Review for Computing/Networking.

We are now at the stage where we are seeking unit writers & vetters.

I have collated a list of the agreed units that will go forward for development into three categories:

1. New
2. Major Revision
3. Minor Revision

We have a large QDT (core and extended) which will take on a significant chunk of writing and vetting of units over the forthcoming months.  However, if you are interested in being involved, please select the units you would be interested in by clicking on the URL below:

I know many of you have already e-mailed myself, Gerry MacKie (or group leaders) with your preferred areas of interest but in order to be considered as part of the writing/vetting team you must make your selections using this URL.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Unit writing update

The frameworks for the new awards have been done-and-dusted for some time now, and I had hoped to rapidly move on to unit writing, since the training has been carried out, but we ran into financial problems.

In common with most public sector organisations, money is tight right now within SQA, so our plans for writing new and revised units were unaffordable. I've spent the last few weeks trying to finalise the budget for this phase of the development.

I got good news yesterday. While I didn't get enough money to develop every new and revised unit in the frameworks, there is now sufficient budget to develop the majority of units, and all of the important units. There may be more funding later for a second phase of unit writing when we can complete all of the units.

So, we can now get down to unit writing. Me and Caroline are meeting with Gerry next week to create a definitive list of units that we plan to write. We will then ask for volunteers to write (or vet) the units. If you are a member of the QDT, you will get early notice about this, but I will also post something on this blog, so keep your eyes peeled if you want to be involved.