Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Proposed HNC/D Frameworks

The development teams have been busy over the summer period pulling together the revised HNC/D frameworks and making any last minute tweaks to each of the draft documents.

There has been a lot of discussions around the design of the awards and making sure we have five unique awards to take to validation. We also had to ensure that there was a certain amount of overlap to allow flexability and movement between awards given we now have one generic HNC.

The frameworks have been uploaded to a file sharing site for you to view:  To access click on the links below:

HNC Computing Framework
HND Computing Framework
HND Computing: Software Development Framework
HND Computing: Technical Support Framework
HND Computing: Networking Framework

You will notice that we have added a third group (Group 3) to each of the frameworks for direct accreditation of vendor courses (pending appropriate SCQF credit and levelling).  Bobby provided an update on this vendor pilot in an earlier blog posting here.

Please note that the frameworks shared above are not the final versions (only final drafts) and there may be more tweaks following feedback from centres.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Meeting with lead developer

Me and Caroline met with Gerry Mackie, from Dundee College, this morning. Gerry was nominated by the Qualification Development Team to lead this development.

As the Lead Developer (LD), Gerry has overall responsibility for the shape of the new qualifications. This development is so big that we also selected Qualification Leaders (QLs). There is a QL for each of the individual awards that we are working on. It's a real strength of the Scottish education system that we use practising teachers to develop qualifications.

The purpose of the meeting was to plan the next steps in the project. We agreed that the validation date for the HNC award will be Friday, 9 December. It makes sense to separate the HNC validation from the HND validation(s) because the HNC is embedded within all of the HNDs and changes to the HNC will effect all of the HNDs. So we plan to get the HNC "sorted" first. We will be looking for members of the validation panel at some time in the next few weeks.

We also agreed to convene another meeting of the QDT on 21 October. This will be more of an update session rather than the usual discussion/decision making session since most of the decisions have already been made, but it will be a good opportunity to review progress at a critical time in the project.

I have previously written about our plans for the units. The units will be completed by end October and validated by end November. So, we should have a full set of units available for the time of the validation.

A key task for the Lead Developer is to produce the validation proposal document (VPD) and Gerry will be working on this during the next few weeks.

Contact Caroline if you want to know more about this development or see "beta" versions of the units.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Meeting with vendors

I posted something a few weeks ago about our plans to incorporate vendors qualifications into the new HN awards. Caroline subsequently invited all of the vendors that we work with to a meeting, which was held in the Glasgow office this morning. Representatives of Microsoft and Oracle, among others, attended.

I began by describing the progress-to-date with this review, but the majority of the time was spent explaining our plans for accrediting vendor qualifications within the new awards. The main change is that we plan to directly accredit vendor qualifications rather than, as we presently do, accredit them by "translating" them into SQA units (what we call "credit transfer").
I emphasised that the final decision for including, or not, a specific vendor's awards lay with the QDT, and that the QDT would only consider vendor awards that were SCQF accredited (few vendor awards are) so the proposed system has opportunities and challenges for vendors.

Our plans to directly accredit vendor awards will be piloted in one or more of the new HN awards to see how it goes. But it's an exciting idea and one that utilises the potential of SCQF to mix and match qualifications from various bodies to provide the best possible qualification for students.

The next stage is for vendors to put their awards onto SCQF, and formally request their inclusion in one or more of the new HN awards. We have a devised a process for this, culminating in the QDT approving, or not, their inclusion.

Contact Caroline if you want to know more about the proposed vendor accredition system.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Writing process

I've documented the process we will follow when we produce units.

There are some things worth noting. Unit writers will not only be helped by a vetter, but will also have assistance from an External Verifier and someone to advise them about e-assessment. Kenji Lamb, formerly of Jisc, is going to help writers to think about ways that they can utilise e-assessment. It's great to have Kenji as part of the team.

We plan to have draft units complete by the end of October, and final (validated) versions by the end of November. We hope to validate the group award in December.

If you're not a member of the QDT, the first time you will see the units is when they appear on the SQA website, but we're happy to accept "beta testers" if you want a preview of the units before they are finalised. Contact Caroline if you want to join the preview.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Writers and vetters are now selected

I met with Caroline and Hilary yesterday afternoon to finalise the selection of unit writers and vetters.

We tried hard to be as inclusive as possible. The invitation to volunteer went out in July, and remained open for a few weeks, and we finished up with a great response. I used criteria to select individuals for each unit. I think the resulting team of writers and vetters is a good one. Most of the unit writers are members of the core or extended QDT, which represents 22 colleges, but there are also some new faces on the list.

Caroline will now issue contracts to the individuals who can now, at last, get down to the real business of writing the new curriculum.

The deadline for completing the units is the end of October. The units will be available to centres by December.

Contact Caroline is you want to know how the units are shaping up.