Thursday, 28 October 2004

SVQ launch event

We're planning a launch event for the new SVQs. A small "event committee" met this afternoon to take this forward. Members include people from Marketing, Custom Relations, Qualifications staff and a representative from Scottish Enterprise.

We intend to hold an event in February to launch the new SVQs for both IT User and IT Practitioner. Jack Robertson (who developed the IT User awards) and John Coleman (who developed the IT Practitioner awards) will play a major role on the day in explaining the new awards. We're also hoping to get a major employers along to explain how they plan to use the awards.

More details will follow but in the meantime don't forget to subscribe to the SVQ e-group.

Tuesday, 26 October 2004

Oracle developments

I met with Jane Richardson and Orla Nichorcora of Oracle yesterday afternoon.

We have recently compared SQA and Oracle curricula to try to identify common areas. I commissioned a couple of consultants to map the Oracle Academy programme with Higher Information Systems and HND Computer Networking. We discovered that the Academy programme covers one unit within the Higher course and two units within the HND award. I plan to create a document which will describe the credit transfer arrangements between these qualifications.

We also discussed the next stage in this work. We are going to look into the feasibility of creating a hybrid curriculum that covers both SQA's Higher Information Systems syllabus and Oracle's Database Design & Programming syllabus. If this is possible, this single syllabus would allow schools to deliver Higher Information Systems using the materials supplied through the Oracle Academy programme (supplemented with additional learning material) and gain two awards at the end of the course: the Higher award and Oracle's award.

Watch this blog for more information.

Monday, 25 October 2004

E-Qualifications are now validated

A sub-group of the validation panel met on Friday to check if their conditions and recommendations had been addressed. I got great news this morning - they had! So the qualifications are now validated and the following awards are now approved:
  • Diploma in E-Learning Production
  • Diploma in E-Assessment
  • Advanced Diploma in E-Learning.
It will take a week or two to put the awards (and the units) on our system but you should be able to offer these awards in the near future. Please contact Caroline Douglas if you want a copy of the definitive Arrangements. And don't forget to join the dedicated e-group.

Tuesday, 12 October 2004

LTS support for new HNs

I attended a meeting at Learning & Teaching Scotland this morning to discuss how LTS can support the new HN awards in Computing/IT. Mohammed Asif of LTS is keen to work with SQA to develop training programmes to help Scottish colleges deliver the new (or revised) qualifications.

There has been lots of changes in the last year. There are new awards (such as HNC/D Computer Networking) and updated awards (such as HNC/D Computing). Some of the units within these awards feature new technology or new skills and LTS is hoping to provide training to college lecturers.

This was a preliminary meeting and nothing definite was decided- but we agreed in principle to work together to ease the introduction of these new qualifications. Mohammed will work on a training programme to provide a range of training options to lecturers.

Monday, 11 October 2004

New HNC/D Information Technology planned

HN IT development team
Originally uploaded by bobbyelliott.

Last November, at a conference in Stirling, it was agreed to develop a new Higher National Award in Information Technology. The Qualification Development Team met today to take this forward.

The team are hoping to produce a new HNC/D Information Technology within the next 12-18 months. It's a consortium development, led by George Johnson of Reid Kerr College, supported by Robert Quinn of SQA. The team is planning to create its own blog to keep you up-to-date with developments.

Thursday, 7 October 2004

Meeting with Microsoft

I met with Bob McGonigle of Microsoft this morning to discuss the possibility of creating a range of Professional Development Awards (PDAs) within the HNC/D Computing and HNC/D Computer Networking awards.

These PDAs could be taught and assessed "normally" - or taught and assessed using Microsoft materials and assessments. This would permit centres to deliver Microsoft qualifications while contributing to Higher National qualifications.

I think that these PDAs could be attractive to part-time students who would like the national recognition that SQA awards provide also also status and vocational relevance of the Microsoft certification. They would be designed to fit in with part-time programmes within colleges.

The suite of PDAs would encompass more than Microsoft. We're hoping that they would be compatible with a range of vendor awards - from companies such as Oracle and Cisco - as well as Microsoft.

Ted Hastings is looking at ways of including these PDAs within the HNC/D Computer Networking and Deryck Nutley is looking into HNC/D Computing. You can find out more about SQA's work with Microsoft by contacting Vanessa Ranaldi.

Tuesday, 5 October 2004

IT User SVQ registrations are now OK

Good news for centres offering the new IT User SVQs - from today you can enter trainees for the new awards.

Although the awards were available from 1 August, the SQA system was not able to accept registrations. The problem was caused by the flexibility of the new awards and the difficulty in programming the conditions of award on the SQA system. This problem has now been resolved.

We recently submitted the IT Practitioner awards for accreditation. We're hoping that these are available to centres from 1 January 2005. Please contact Jack Coleman directly if you want to find out more about the Practitioner awards.

You can find out more about the new IT awards at the E-Skills website. Don't forget to subscribe to the SVQ community to keep up-to-date with developments. Contact Shirley Sampson if you require information or assistance on any aspect of the new SVQs.

Monday, 4 October 2004

Moderators update event

Moderators update event
Originally uploaded by bobbyelliott.

An update event was held on Saturday for HN moderators and SVQ verifiers at the Dunblane Hilton Hydro. Most Computing moderators/verifiers managed to attend.

The purpose of these events (which are held once a year) is to bring moderators (for a wide range of subjects) up-to-date with quality assurance issues. The focus of this year's meeting was the new "V" units which replace the "D" units as means of certificating the knowledge and skills of moderators. But the event is also a good opportunity for moderators to discuss general quality issues.

I plan to arrange a meeting of the Computing moderators to discuss recent changes to Computing provision - especially the revised SVQs, the updated HNC Computing and the new awards that have recently been validated (such as Internetworking).

You can find out more about the work of moderators (including how to become one yourself) from Marion Weir.