Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Digital Passport in the news

The day I stopped for annual leave, the Times Educational Supplement (Scotland) carried a prominent article about Digital Passport. I was pleased with Julia's article, which seemed to be a fair summary of the strengths and (potential) weaknesses of the new award.

Overall, it was positive and emphasised the originality of the new qualification. The team behind it worked hard to ensure that it captured up-to-date digital literacy skills, and I do think that it is unique in what is covers. One of the criticisms of the qualification in the article is that it mustn't be "too closely linked to a narrow set of skills". That was a major objective of the development team -- to ensure that the qualification embraced high order knowledge and skills that could be transferred to new technologies as they come along.

The units are available now. The group award is available to pilot centres. Contact Hilary for more information about Digital Passport.

Friday, 18 July 2014

National Units in Digital Passport now available

The National Units that are included in the forthcoming Digital Passport award have now been published on the SQA website. They can be downloaded from the usual place by searching on their titles or they can be directly downloaded from these links (all PDFs).
These Units are available to all Scottish schools and colleges from 1 August. Other types of centre may require approval to offer them. It's great to see them published at last. It's taken a long time to produce them because they cover such new territory but, I hope, that they are worth the wait.

Contact Hilary for more information about the units or the award.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

National Occupational Standards for Big Data

I attended a focus group meeting yesterday afternoon, at Ibrox Stadium, which was organised by E-Skills UK to discuss new National Occupational Standards relating to big data.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the job roles and skills that are involved in this new area. Representatives of JP Morgan, RBS, NHS and other Scottish employers attended.

One of the key questions was: are there intermediate level jobs in this area? It's well known that there is a demand for data scientists. What is less clear is if there is a requirement for mid-level data analysts. The consensus was that there is. We discussed the skill sets involved in these roles. E-Skills hopes to have the new NOS available by October.

SQA is developing new HN Units in this area. Our focus is broader than workplace skills, and includes a high educational component (such as the social implications of big data). These new Units will be available to centres from September. Contact Caroline for further information. You can preview the units now.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Regional college contacts

I recently mentioned that I planned to create a list of regional college contacts for Computing. With all the changes to colleges over the last few years, the team's contact list is now out of date and doesn't reflect the changed college structures.

So I plan to identify a person from each regional college to be the "contact person" for the college. We would use this list of names to disseminate information to centres. The designated person would cascade the information within his/her regional college to their colleagues involved in delivering Computing qualifications.

This list would not replace the existing forms of communication. So, for example, update letters would continue to be sent to SQA Co-ordinators, and this blog would continue to provide information to anyone who reads it. But the list would be helpful to ensure that information can be disseminated quickly, perhaps in advance of a letter to centres.

We'll use our existing mailing list to ask you to identify one person from your regional college to serve as the lead contact. It's entirely up to each college to decide who this person should be. I've created a form to capture this information.

Once you've decided who you want to represent your regional college, I would appreciate if that information was added to the sheet.

Contact Caroline if you have any queries about the list.