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Computer Science: Active Learning in Computing (ALiC)

Work Activities

Work Activities for Years 1 and 2

The following sections highlight ALiC activities and expected outcomes until October 2007. The activities represent local curriculum development and, therefore, will require the support of institutional academic staff. The Teaching Fellows, funded through ALiC, will support curriculum development and also act as evaluators and disseminators. It also requires cooperation from existing academic staff and, therefore, financial allowance is made for an appropriate reward strategy.

The research method to be adopted comes from the FDTL-funded EPCOS project [Boyle02] where each site annually donates at least one area of expertise that is then adopted by others. These areas of expertise are then translated directly into activities. By the porting of excellent practice between partners it is possible to increase the number and range of students exposed to a particular method thus making it possible to determine ‘what works for whom’.

This porting process will make use of a further item of best practice adopted from EPCOS: that of ‘bundles’. ‘Bundles’ form a concise specification of an approach for transfer. Further, they identify watch-points as well as sources of support material or tools. The transfer model seeks to disseminate techniques beyond computing in Phase 2 – this will take place in a controlled manner. A staged refinement model of transfer will be adopted, firstly within the consortium, then (where applicable) outside the computing domain but within our partner institutions before general release. Each stage of the transfer model will utilise bundles. For further details please see dissemination.

The following sections specify the activities by year. Some of the later activities are dependent on the results of earlier ones. These are referred to as ‘Incubators’. These incubators are stores of ideas and hints towards the final direction that the activity will take once the details of the dependent activity have been evaluated.

Academic Year 2004/05

The plans for this time-period relate to an April start, mid-way through the academic year, so the activities within this period relate mainly to preparation including CETL resourcing issues such as staffing, extending the 'Industrial Liaison Network (Activity 3) and organisation of the document and configuration management support systems for sharing support materials.

One of the most important activities in this phase relates to Student Feedback (Activity 1). To facilitate this, plans have already been established to reserve video-conferencing facilities on each site.

1 Student Feedback
2 Good Practice in Organising and Administering Project-work
3 Formation of Industrial Liaison Network

Academic Year 2005/06

In recognition of the risks associated with the novelty of the Techno-Café during this period a number of small evaluations will be used to inform and direct the final plans. During this period, activities focusing on group-working include Activities 6, 7 and 8. Activity 10 focuses on revising and improving support for projects and refines the outcomes from Activity 2 but with broadened student audiences of both post- and under-graduates. Activity 5 supports Aim 4.

4 Techno-Café Evaluation
5 Support for Special Needs Students
6 Cross Year Tutoring
7 Synoptic Asessment
8 Peer and Self-Assessment for Group-Work
9 Cross-Site Software Development - experiment
10 Quality process enhancement for projects
11 Tool enhancements

Academic Year 2006/07

In this period there are a number of Incubators that have dependent activities from the previous year. Therefore, detailed planning will only occur once the results of the prior activities are known. Incubators, therefore, represent a concept and direction but not a final commitment. We particularly adopt such an approach where there is potential for risk. The Coordinating Committee will formulate the final activity and will ensure that any risks are minimised. This approach also allows us to build flexibility into our planning.

12 Support for Special Needs Students
13 Synoptic Assessment
14 Cross-Site Software Development
15 Student Feedback
16 Integrating PDPs in the Curriculum

Year 3 and Beyond

The activities contribute to the foundational knowledge that will drive and enable the realisation of our aims within the curriculum. From year 3 and beyond, our activities will focus on:

  • Creating a ‘One university perspective’ where cross-university and multidisciplinary activity is common. (cf. Aim 2)
  • Enabling effective multi-disciplinary working including the introduction of programmes in the field of e-Science (cf. Aim 2)
  • Significantly impacting a re-focusing of the computing curriculum towards increasing levels of AL and a curriculum that is research-led, both nationally and internationally (cf. Aim 1, 3)
  • Transforming University IT provision so that it better facilitates modern computing practices and informs best practice for industrial working conditions (cf. Aim 4)
  • Ensuring the permanence of a learning organisation of key individuals in AL and close ties with employers (cf. Aim 1)
  • Widely distributing tools to support a learning community that is more student-oriented and supports personal choice. (cf. Aim 4)