Tuesday, 31 May 2005

New librarian qualifications

My team are responsible for Computing/IT, E-Qualifications and Library awards -- but we don't develop many qualifications for librarians. So it was a particular pleasure to go forward for validation this morning for two new library awards: the Certificate in Applications of ICT in Libraries and the Advanced Certificate in Applications of ICT in Libraries. These new Professional Development Awards are designed for practicing librarians - of which there are 4000 in Scotland alone - although we're hoping that these awards will have international appeal.

This development has been led by Rhona Arthur of SLIC. The funding was provided by the Big Lottery Fund. Cleo Jones (Edinburgh Council) chaired the Validation Panel.

The validation event went well. The Panel felt that the level of the awards should be increased and it was agreed to re-title the awards: Diploma in Applications of ICT in Libraries and Advanced Diploma in Applications of ICT in Libraries. Although a number of conditions were placed on the proposals, we're confident that the awards can be approved by the end of June.

Angela Orr is the SQA contact for these awards.

Monday, 30 May 2005

HND Computing Arrangements

Today is a milestone. Caroline uploaded the definitive HND Computing Arrangements to the HN e-group! The Arrangements will also be uploaded to the SQA website later this week.

I'm currently working on an update letter that will be sent to centres in the near future. This letter will contain information about a launch event (for HND Computing) that will take place in August or September.

Thursday, 26 May 2005

Central moderation

Central moderation takes place today and tomorrow. This involves the HN moderation team reviewing exam papers and student scripts [ASF]. Each centre is required to submit a sample of scripts which the moderators go over to check that standards are consistent from centre to centre.

This year's event takes place in the Marriott Hotel (Glasgow). The moderators enjoy the opportunity to discuss standards; a face-to-face meeting means that they have the opportunity to debate problems that arise as they review scripts.

Sometimes you just need to get away from the crowd.

Monday, 23 May 2005

New HNC/D IT forum

A new e-group was created today to support the review of the HNC/D IT award. The group is public and is designed to keep lecturers up-to-date with developments and also to provide feedback to the Qualification Design Team.

You can subscribe to the group by visiting the home page or sending an e-mail.

Wednesday, 18 May 2005

HND Computing is validated!

The convenor of the Validation Panel today confirmed that the validation conditions had been met and that the new awards are now approved.

This is great news. The HND development has taken a couple of years and this is the culmination of a greal deal of work by the Qualification Design Team, led by Mike Jannetta. I'll arrange for the Arrangements documentation to be uploaded to the HN e-group and also the SQA website so look out for this. I'll also write to centres to formally announce the validation of the new awards. But you can contact Angela Lees if you need a copy of the Arrangements immediately.

Validation of Microsoft PDAs

We held a validation event for three vendor-related PDAs today. The awards are linked to Microsoft certification:
  • Certificate in Desktop Support (linked to MCDST)
  • Advanced Certificate in Network Administration (linked to MCSA)
  • Advanced Diploma in Networking Technology (linked to and MCSE)

The event went well. Although the Panel imposed conditions, there was nothing that the Qualification Design Team can't action quickly. We're hoping to have the awards available to centres by the end of June.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005

E-Skills seminar

The E-Skills Sector Skills Council held an information seminar in Glasgow this morning to answer questions about the new SVQs in Information Technology. There was a good turn-out at The Corinthians in the city centre.

Chris Morrow described some of the resources available to support the new awards - including a new website to support the new Standards.

Both myself and a representative from Scottish Enterprise answered questions relating to the new qualifications.

Monday, 16 May 2005

Design Team meeting for IT

The Qualification Development Team responsible for creating a new national framework for HNC/D Information Technology met today at the Stirling Management Centre. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the core skills that the new awards should include and also to make a first attempt at a qualification framework. The Team is led by George Johnson of Reid Kerr College; June McCamlie is the lead developer; and Angela Orr is the Qualification Officer responsible for this project. We're hoping to have the new awards validated by December and available to centres from January 2006 so there's a lot of work to be done between now and then.

Friday, 13 May 2005

Happy birthday blog!

The blog is one year old today! It was started on 13 May, 2004. It was actually done as an experiment to see if a blog would be useful to teachers and lecturers with an interest in Computing/IT qualifications. So far the blog has had over 400o hits - that's more than 15 hits per (working) day - so it appears to be quite popular.

The blog was also intended to reduce the clutter in your inbox. Instead of "pushing" information to you via your e-mail program (as mailing lists do), a blog "pulls" information by (hopefully) attracting you to a website where you can find information at a time that suits you.

I'm hoping that during the coming year more people will contribute to the blog - that includes SQA staff (who can post new messages) and readers (who can comment on existing posts). We really would like to hear from you via the comment facility.

We're grateful to you for taking the time to visit the blog. Don't forget to bookmark it and come back regularly!

Thursday, 12 May 2005

SQA Customer Conference

The first ever SQA Customer Conference was held today at the Radisson Hotel in Glasgow. Around 700 people attended. The purpose of the conference was to highlight some key SQA developments - including PC Passport and E-Qualifications. There were presentations and stands where people could get information and collect materials. The PC Passport and E-Qualifications stands were very popular... we ran out of materials for E-Qualifications! So it was a very successful day.

There were rolling presentations on E-Qualifications throughout the day. Attendance at the seminars was good - except the 5 o'clock showing which had one person!

The E-Qualifications stand was busy. Lots of teachers, lecturers and trainers wanted to know more about this suite of awards. Many were considering doing one of these awards themselves for their own professional development.

The PC Passport stand attracted people who wanted to know more about this popular suite of IT awards.

Monday, 9 May 2005

Welcome to Angela

Angela Lees joined the Computing team this morning. Angela is a Qualifications Officer, working alongside Caroline. Some of you may know Angela as Angela Orr - but she's getting married in a few weeks so it seems easier to refer to her by her married name. Either name will work if you want to contact her.

Angela has specific responsibilities - the main one being Higher National awards. So she's the person that you would contact for matters relating to HNC/D Computing for example. She's also involved with the review of HNC/D Information Technology.

I've updated the team's organisation chart to show who-does-what.

Tuesday, 3 May 2005

Customer Conference

The first-ever SQA Customer Conference takes place next week - and it includes two sessions of particular interest. The programme [PDF] includes a session on PC Passport and another on E-Qualifications. I'm doing the E-Qualifications presentation which takes places at 11am, 3pm and 5pm (for 45 minutes). There's still time to register [PDF].

I'm meeting with my team today to discuss the arrangements for next week.