REVISED GRID FOR MICRO LEVEL APPROACH

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1 Cover sheet Country: Sector: Level: United Kingdom Bank EQF Level: 6 IT NQF Level: 6 Institution (private/state): Name of the study program : Duration (in years/months): University (state) BSc Computer Science 3 Years Credits 360 1

2 1) State of play/ macro level (please provide a short résumé of the macro level grid (1/2 1 page), how could the situation in your country be summarized concerning qualifications at Level 5 &6, what is the national context, (what is considered to be HE, how could the learning culture be characterized, etc.) The National Context in relation to the UK is that the different countries within the UK have National qualifications frameworks. On the whole these tend to mirror the EQF however there are some minor differences. They do have levels five and six. As part of the regulatory framework the Qualification and Curriculum Authority (which deals with all qualifications below university level) is responsible for managing the National Qualifications Framework. In determining them they work closely with other bodies such as the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). The UK also has a National Database of Accredited Qualifications. In addition there is the Joint Forum for Higher Levels, a body which looks at clarification of relations and articulation between credit and qualifications frameworks within a UK context clarification of relations and articulation between credit and qualifications within a European context identification of, and support for, progression between credit and qualifications frameworks the provision of guidance to learners and others on such articulation and progression matters. In relation to qualifications available for people in the IT sector there are a variety of other alternate qualification providers. The British Computer Society is one of the main validating bodies in this area. However, vendors such as Microsoft, Novell and Cisco provide proprietary certificates. These are popular with employers as they are functional, focus on the latest features of software/systems and show evidence of practical skill attainment. However, universities often argue that these qualifications are costly, too narrow and do not deal with underlying principles or lead to a broader understanding. Alternate qualificationss available at levels five and six include; BCS Level 5 Diploma in IT BCS Level 6 Professional Graduate Diploma in IT EDEXCEL Level 5 BTEC HND in Computing (ICT Systems Support) EDEXCEL Level 5 BTEC HND in Computing (General) EDEXCEL Level 5 BTEC HND in Computing (Software Development) Employers, social partners and others did tend to participate in; developing qualifications offering placements for students 2

3 but are less likely to: contribute financially participate in teaching Impact Apart from qualifying students, the HE sector plays a very small part in training the professional worker in the UK. However, accreditation plays a major role in maintaining standards and meeting the regulatory needs in the financial services sector. Of all Computer related degree programmes available in British universities, Computer Science degree programmes are most respected by employers especially if they are BCS accredited. There does appear to be good articulation between level 5 & 6 generally. 2. Short presentation of the institution and the selected program (please provide a short summary about the institution and the background of the selected program you are presenting (origin and history of the selected program, accreditation and building process,etc, core elements of the organisational structure (e-learning, specific modules in the evening, weekend, assessment procedures, etc..) The University of Bradford has always been a forward-thinking, modern and student orientated University. We have a firm commitment to confronting inequality and celebrating diversity and our mission of 'Making Knowledge Work' means our students' future is our top priority. The university is consistently ranked No1 for Graduate Employment in Yorkshire and joint 1st place in the North of England (Time Good University Guide 2008). The university has around 10,000 students the majority of which are undergraduate and fulltime. It is a small niche University that is focused on mainly vocational programmes. We have a very strong commitment to Ecoversity, Sustainability and Employment. Many of our programmes are accredited through industry organisations, and many are offered as sandwich courses (one year in industry). The university has seven academic schools; School of Engineering, Design and Technology School of Health Studies School of Computing Informatics and Media School of Life Sciences School of Lifelong Education and Development School of Management School of Social & International Studies The University delivers a number of programmes: 8 Foundation degrees (HE short cycle) 140 Bachelors programmes 3

4 BSc (Honours) Computer Science Computer Science concentrates on the theoretical foundations of computation and computer technology. It incorporates ideas from many other disciplines, including mathematics, engineering, psychology and graphical design and has a close affinity with electronic communications as illustrated by the Internet and World Wide Web. The term convergence is often used to describe how these two disciplines are coming together. The aim of the course is to provide students with a sound grounding in the fundamentals of computer software development (programming) and the tools and applications that modern computer scientist s use. Origin and building process Computer science developed out of mathematics which was a subject area at the University from its inception forty years ago. The motivation did not come from any professional body or from employers but sprang out of the research interests of university staff. Further development of the programme has been influenced by the British Computer Society (BCS) which provide added value to students upon graduation through an accelerated route to membership. BCS does not provide a licence to practise in this area but can provide access to resources and networking opportunities. Modifications to the programme have been encouraged by the BCS over the years and is also process of negotiation. Although valuing the support of BCS and recognising its value to graduating students, the University nevertheless would not change the degree programme for accreditation purposes only. Only where the suggestions for change from BCS coincide with the views of university staff will change to the programme actually occur. Objectives Learning outcomes indicate what students should know, understand and be able to do on successful completion of their course. Computer Science is a subject where current practices in the field are changing rapidly as technologies evolve and new programming languages emerge. However, the underlying theory and principles do not change rapidly. Students will study these fundamentals and learn how to apply them to the analysis of problems and how to plan, implement and evaluate the solutions. Students will learn about new technologies and languages required to implement solutions. In order to achieve the learning outcomes students will develop the following: Knowledge and Understanding; a systematic understanding of the fundamental concepts and theories of computer science including detailed knowledge of hardware, computer architecture, information and communication technologies; a firm grasp of the mathematical foundations of computing and how they underpin the formal specification and design of commercial applications; specific knowledge networks and computer communications; ability to comment on aspects of current research in the discipline. 4

5 Discipline Specific Skills including; how to analyse problems and develop solutions using leading edge ideas and techniques; how to develop computer programs using object oriented programming languages; how to choose which programming languages to use for specific applications; ability to manage and/or contribute to a team approach to software engineering projects; an ability to read and make use of research articles in journals and research literature; competence in the use of major software application packages. Personal and Transferable Skills ; exercise of initiative in information management, interpretation and presentation; ability to make decisions in a variety of contexts; application of IT and communications skills to management problems; report writing and presentation skills; creative and systematic problem solving ; teamwork and leadership; project management; and personal management Organisation The programme is full-time and available either as a three-year continuous course or four-year sandwich course, with a year in paid employment in an industrial placement between the second and final years. Students experience a wide range of teaching and learning environments. Concepts, principles and theories are generally explored in formal lectures, practiced in associated tutorials and seminars, and demonstrated in laboratory classes. Practical skills are developed in laboratory sessions. Professional and personal skills are developed through the Developing Professional Skills module which involves communications skills, library skills, group work and presentations. The Software Engineering Group Project develops an appreciation of how to manage group dynamics in whilst working on a substantial software engineering exercise. Honours students undertake a major individual project in their final year, drawing together the knowledge and experience gained throughout the course. The project provides the opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability to solve problems using current ideas and techniques that are at the forefront of computing and information systems disciplines. Students who achieve an Ordinary degree may be given the opportunity to top-up to a classified Honours degree at a later stage at which time they will undertake the individual project. Each 10-credit module on the course requires students to commit 100 hours of study. Some of these hours will be formally timetabled - lectures, laboratories, seminars and tutorials and others will involve students in carrying out private study. The balance between these forms of study changes as students pass through the three years of the course. There are a lot of contact hours (time spent with tutors) in the earlier stages of the course; in the final year students will be expected to manage their own learning, under the general guidance of their tutors. Methods of assessment are similarly varied and their progress will be assessed using a mix of formal examinations, presentations and seminar papers, reports, laboratory tests, essays, coursework 5

6 examinations, presentations and seminar papers, reports, laboratory tests, essays, coursework assignments, and projects. The appropriate method is chosen so that students may demonstrate the particular learning outcomes of each module. However, this degree is offered full-time only, part-time study is not available. As a full-time programme it is available as a three year or four-year (including a year in industry) degree. Modules are delivered during the day on campus. There are no modules offered during the evening, at weekends, or outside the usual semester system. 2) Access regulations/ recognition of prior learning or prior experiential learning Please describe in full detail Who are the target groups for these programs (traditional students/adults) What access conditions exist (explaining regulations/procedures/agreements with other institutions, also for case by case practices, role of involved ministries, etc.) Standards for validation of prior/experiential learning Target groups/access The target group for this qualification is standard undergraduate full-time (18-year-old) student. However there are a small proportion of mature students. The international reputation of the school means that there is a relatively high proportion of international students (20%) and the majority of students being local students, almost exclusively from the sub region. As is common for the subject area, the vast majority students are male (perhaps 80%). Conditions for access (including regulations) Offers are made following detailed consideration of each individual application. Most important in the decision to offer a place is our assessment of a candidate s potential to benefit from their studies and of their ability to succeed on this particular course. Entrance requirements will vary but are set after consideration of each applicant s academic background and achievements and all other relevant experience. A typical offer to someone seeking entry through the UCAS scheme would be CCC or 240 UCAS tariff points (for further details see Applications are welcome from candidates with non-standard qualifications or who, lacking academic qualifications, have significant relevant experience. Validation of prior learning or/and validation of experiential learning A student may be permitted to import specific academic credit for prior certificated or experiential learning up to a maximum limit of 50% of the balance of the award for which the student wishes to be registered, consistent with the University s Regulations which can be accessed on the Bradford website at the following address: 6

7 3) Relationships with employers and institutions Please provide detailed information about contributions of companies in programs, equipment, finances participation of professionals in normal courses, together with academics university courses combined with periods in companies, apprenticeship The viewpoint of the employers regarding the described programs (e.g. how is the level of acceptance, attractiveness of the program/the graduates, preferences of certain levels, etc.) Partnerships and contributions There are some guest lecturers from industry on many of the modules however their direct participation is limited to this input. There are no contributions from companies in terms of direct contracts for teaching their staff, providing equipment etc. Some companies do provide regular internship opportunities for students on the sandwich programme (about 20% of students take this option). The School of Computing Informatics and the Media to have an Industrial Advisory Board made up of staff from local and regional companies. This board provides advice and guidance on the development of programmes and changes to programmes. However, university staff are not obliged to take on board the comments of the Industrial Advisory Board. 4) Current situation regarding learning outcomes (please describe to which extent and how the presented program is based upon the principals of learning outcomes, meaning the three descriptors of EQF (knowledge, skills and personal and professional competences) and/or how much the design of the program is representing the content based approach) As with all HE provision in the UK all programmes are based on learning outcomes. 5) Links between the subsystems (vocational, general and higher education) Please describe Which kind of links and bridges exist between the different subsystems? Links and bridges existing with other qualifications for access to the programme and for continuity after completion of the programme Are these links and bridges negotiated? Are they only a form of recognition? Are these links and bridges included in a strategy or just happening? What are the obstacles (institutional, legal, pedagogical, cultural, and technical?) 7

8 Articulation with other qualifications On graduation students would be entitled to associate membership of the British Computing Society. This provides accelerated access to higher levels of society membership. There are a small number of Higher National Diplomas which are short cycle EQF level five qualifications which would provide direct entry to second year of the programme. These links are well established and explored as part of the process of designing the programme. The modular nature of programmes based on learning outcomes make the assessment of links and bridges relatively easy. 6) General reflexive section Please state What were the challenges in obtaining all necessary information for the case study? What are your prepositions and recommendations? What hasn t been said? Results The university has produced many successful graduates from the Department of Computing. In the last few years our graduates have joined companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Apple, working in Britain, Europe and the rest of the world as software developers, IT consultants, systems analysts, Web designers, and network administrators. Our courses ensure that students can gain the sort of experience that employers are looking for. Public service, accountancy, risk analysis and teaching are just a few of the other careers that students can enter with one of our degrees. We design our courses to enable students to develop a diversity of skills and knowledge that students can apply in a wide range of employment sectors, so don t feel that students have to be confined to the computing field. The university has six specialist MSc programmes in the field over computing and IT and some graduates progress onto these. Some graduates progress onto Masters level provision at the School of Management and some students will progress onto a Postgraduate Certificate of Education to facilitate entry into the teaching profession. Destination of Leavers Survey shows that of those leaving all undergraduate computing degrees at the University of Bradford in the 2007, 53% were in employment, and 31% were in further study after six months. Having a National qualification system and a learning outcome driven curriculum has made the process relatively easy in the UK. Thank you! 8

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