Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Annual Computing Conference

The College Development Network held their Annual Computing Conference yesterday in Stirling, organised by Gerry Dougan. There was an excellent turn-out, on a beautiful day in a lovely location. The focus of this year's event was teaching and learning.

It commenced, appropriately, with HMIe Sheila Page giving feedback on the forthcoming Aspect report on Computing in colleges (due September).

Sheila's comments were generally positive, and made it clear that improvements had been made since the previous report (in 2009) that was "hard hitting" as she put it. Sheila reported that the sector was "buoyant", with excellent job prospects, and a shortage of skills in many areas (particularly programming). She also emphasised that Computing was also becoming a "social enabler", needed by everyone to participate in contemporary society.

More specifically, she reported on improvements in teaching and learning, team working, and learner interaction. Less positively, colleges needed to work more closely with employers and some learning was "too passive". But the overall picture was good. Sheila made a particular point about the role of mathematics within Computing qualifications and suggested that this needed to be looked at.

A number of colleges gave presentations on best practice. The case studies were excellent. I was pleased to see Computing qualifications at the heart of many of the examples, such as New College Lanarkshire's innovative MA programme with The Royal Bank of Scotland that involved an HND.

I gave a presentation on SQA qualifications in Computing, particularly the new ones such as Digital Passport and NC Computing.

It seemed to be well received. I reminded the audience about the forthcoming launch events for Digital Passport and NC Computing, which will be held (in Stirlng) next Tuesday.

I was pleased the see the focus of the event return to teaching and learning, and thought that it was an excellent day.

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