Thursday, 30 June 2005

Blog traffic increases

June was the best ever month for the blog, with almost 1500 hits during the month. That's almost twice as high as the previous best month. It's good to see people begin to visit the site regularly.

Wednesday, 22 June 2005

Vendor validation - Part 2

We validated three more Professional Development Awards today. Last month we validated three PDAs linked to Microsoft certification. Today's awards are linked to different vendors:
  • Certificate in Computer Concepts (linked to CompTIA)
  • Advanced Certificate in Database Programming (linked to Oracle)
  • Advanced Diploma in Network Technology (linked to Cisco).

The validation went well. The Validation Panel (led by Sarah Lennox of CompTIA) placed two conditions and two recommendations on the proposals. We're hoping to have the awards validated by the beginning of July.

More information from Caroline.

Monday, 20 June 2005

Visit to Abertay regarding computer games

I attended a meeting at Abertay University today to discuss a local development relating to computer games. The Dundee-based Access to Industry programme wants to offer games-based curriculum to its students (mostly disadvantaged young people) and I was there to suggest suitable courses.

The meeting was interested in Stow College's recent award. But I couldn't offer many specific units relating to computer games (at NC or HN level). So it was agreed to take this forward with a view to creating specific interactive units at National and Higher National levels. This development has the support of SkillSet which has standards relating to interactive media.

It will also link with the updating of the National Certificate portfolio which is about to be revised to include more up-to-date provision.

Sunday, 19 June 2005

Walter Patterson retires

Walter Patterson retired last week. I attended Walter's retirement celebration on Friday evening. It was held in the Glasgow Metropolitan College.

Walter has been an HMI for nearly 20 years and during that time he has been instrumental in shaping Computing/IT education within Scotland. His knowledge, experience and unique character will be sorely missed.

I've served on numerous committees with him - many of which were difficult meetings but Walter always handled them well. I remember one in particular when Walter was trying to introduce the Internet only to be angrily told that "The Internet's a fad! It won't be here next year!". Walter, thankfully, persevered.

I've known Walter for more than 10 years but I didn't know that he was a comedian - but he held the floor for the last 30 minutes of the evening and his talk was hilarious.

Thursday, 16 June 2005

HND blog

I created a blog to record the development of the new HND Computing award. It didn't really work. It received 667 hits - which is a lot less than I expected. So it can't be considered a success.

Which is a little surprising since the basic blog format (a chronological journal) seems a good way to record the developments that take place when creating a new qualification.

I guess we'll have to reflect on the HND Computing blog and try to figure out why it didn't work and how we can improve the next one.

HND Computing Arrangements updated

The HND Computing Arrangements have been updated to remove some typos. The new version (v1.1) [PDF] was uploaded to the HN Computing e-group this morning.

Monday, 13 June 2005

HND Computing letter

I arranged for a letter to be sent to centres this morning. The letter contains important information about the new HND (such as the run-out dates of the existing awards).

The letter (and enclosures) should arrive in centres next week.

Sunday, 12 June 2005

Angela's wedding

Angela got married yesterday. So she's now Angela Lees - not Angela Orr. She looked beautiful and we all had a great day.

Friday, 10 June 2005

Blog unit is now available

The National Unit on blogging is now finalised. Weblogs [DOC] is an Intermediate 2 unit which covers the basics of finding, creating and tracking blogs. It shows how to locate blogs, what blogs can be used for, how to create and use a blog, and how to track blogs using aggregation tools (such as RSS). It's not entirely hands-on since students are exposed to the history of blogs, shown how to evaluate a blog, and introduced to the theory of aggregation. The unit also places blogs in the wider context of social software.

It's an interesting and straight-forward unit that should appeal to students. The resource requirements are low; students simply require access to the Internet and can use a free blogging service such as Blogger. The unit can be used as part of a National Certificate programme within colleges or free-standing within schools.

Although the unit is finalised, is it not available to centres until 2 August.

Monday, 6 June 2005

Connected journal

The Summer 2005 edition of Learning & Teaching Scotland's Connected journal has a feature on blogging - including an article on this blog. A paper copy of the journal should be arriving in (school) staffrooms now and a digital version is available on the LTS website.

Saturday, 4 June 2005

Moderators' meeting

The Computing Moderators' responsible for HNs and SVQs met today to discuss developments in these areas. The meeting was led by Deryck Nutley. The focus of this full day meeting was SVQs. Jack Robertson and Jack Coleman provides training on the new IT User and IT Professional SVQs. Also in attendance was Caroline Douglas who is the SQA Officer responsible for these awards.

Friday, 3 June 2005

Computer games qualification

Stow College has been developing a new award entitled HNC Computer Games Development during the last 18 months -- and today was the culmination of those efforts when the college hosted the validation event.

After serving on the Qualification Design Team during the HND Computing validation event, it was a pleasure being on the other side of the table today! The photo below shows the QDT for this award, led by David Hughes.

The validation event went very smoothly -- mainly due to the high quality of the documentation which was created by Mike Docherty (seen speaking here).

Although the award was not validated until certain conditions were met, the conditions were minor and the team hope to have the award validated by the end of this month.

Thursday, 2 June 2005

Unit writers' training

The HNC/D IT award is developing at pace and there was a training event for unit writers today at the Menzies Hotel in Glasgow. Me, June McCamlie and Angela Orr provides guidance to the prospective unit writers. I also encouraged them to subscribe to the (public) unit writers forum.

I was keen to get this training done before the summer holiday since I am hoping that most of the writing will get done during the holiday so that we have well developed units available by the autumn, when I will post them on the public forum for feedback.

Angela Orr is the SQA officer with specific responsibility for this award.