Tuesday, 21 December 2004
Most of the SQA team are about to stop for their Christmas holidays (SQA stops on Thursday but some staff are taking annual leave or TOIL before then). We return on 5 January.
Have a good holiday.
Monday, 13 December 2004
I look forward to working with you in the New Year.
Wednesday, 8 December 2004
Thursday, 2 December 2004
The blog is an experiment. Blogs seem well suited to curriculum development since they provide a chronological sequence of events - but the number of hits on this site has been disappointing so far.
Time will tell if it's worthwhile to spend time on similar blogs in future.
Tuesday, 23 November 2004
SQA is looking at the possibility of creating Sector Panels to provide advice and support to Qualifications Managers. The Panels would advise QMs about external trends and also identify priorities for development. The QM would then decide if these developments were feasible and, if so, ask the Qualifications Support Teams to assist him to produce the required awards.
New Panels will be created in four subject areas - and Computing is one of them. Members will be drawn from a variety of backgrounds and will include employers, IT companies, representatives of the Sector Skills Council, representatives of national organisations (such as the Scottish Executive and SFEU), college representatives, training providers and individuals with key knowledge and experience.
It's hoped to have the first meeting of the Computing Sector Panel next Spring so I'm busy trying to identify suitable members. Don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to be considered for membership.
Friday, 19 November 2004
Joe Wilson and I went with a group of Scottish lecturers to Doncaster today to discuss games software. There were representatives of Cardonald College, Stow College, Fife College, Telford College and Motherwell College.
We visited Doncaster College and Sheffield Hallam University. Doncaster College has recently invested in state-of-the-art hardware and software to permit the college to offer games development courses and Sheffield Hallam offer degree and post-graduate qualification in games development.
It was a fascinating day and it gave us lots of ideas about how to incorporate computer gaming into Scottish qualifications. Watch out for news.
Tuesday, 16 November 2004
The availability of the unit specifications means that the awards are now fully developed. The group awards have been available to centres for a couple of weeks. The full Arrangements can be downloded here.
We're still working on an approval procedure for these new awards but contact Jim Ballantyne if you're interested in offering these new awards.
This is a big day for the development team! We're delighted to see the awards finally become available to centres. We're particularly excited about the Diploma in E-Assessment which we think is the first national qualification in this area in the world.
Saturday, 13 November 2004
The moderators responsible for HN and SVQ qualifications met this morning. Unlike the previous moderators meeting, this one was subject specific. The meeting was led by Hugh McDiamid, the full-time Computing moderator.
The purpose of the meeting was to update moderators on the developments relating to HN and SVQ awards - and there have been lots. We discussed the new HNC Computing award, the current HND Computing revision, links with vendor qualifications, PC Passport, the new SVQs for IT Users, and e-moderation.
You can find out more about becoming a moderator by contacting Marion Weir.
Thursday, 11 November 2004
A delegation of from Armenia visited SQA this week to look at the Scottish qualification system.
This morning I gave a presentation on PC Passport. They seemed genuinely interested (the translator asked how she can take PC Passport!) and they are considering offering PC Passport in Armenian schools and colleges.
Monday, 8 November 2004
This one contains important information about run-out periods (for the HNC/D Computing), news about the HND Computing review, information about the recently validated HN awards in Networking, Multimedia and IT, and news about proposed Professional Development Awards. The letter also contains details about a forthcoming consultation event for HND Computing which is currently being revised.
The letter was sent to College Principals, SQA Co-ordinators and Heads of Computing Departments so please ask one of them if you haven't yet seen a copy.
Monday, 1 November 2004
A number of UK awarding bodies met on Saturday to agree common evidence requirements for the new S/NVQs for Practitioners. The meeting took place in Birmingham. Participants included OCR, EdExcel and SQA.
Although some work still needs to be done, the outcome will be that most UK awarding bodies will have common requirements with respect to the amount and type of assessment material expected from candidates.
Thursday, 28 October 2004
We intend to hold an event in February to launch the new SVQs for both IT User and IT Practitioner. Jack Robertson (who developed the IT User awards) and John Coleman (who developed the IT Practitioner awards) will play a major role on the day in explaining the new awards. We're also hoping to get a major employers along to explain how they plan to use the awards.
More details will follow but in the meantime don't forget to subscribe to the SVQ e-group.
Tuesday, 26 October 2004
We have recently compared SQA and Oracle curricula to try to identify common areas. I commissioned a couple of consultants to map the Oracle Academy programme with Higher Information Systems and HND Computer Networking. We discovered that the Academy programme covers one unit within the Higher course and two units within the HND award. I plan to create a document which will describe the credit transfer arrangements between these qualifications.
We also discussed the next stage in this work. We are going to look into the feasibility of creating a hybrid curriculum that covers both SQA's Higher Information Systems syllabus and Oracle's Database Design & Programming syllabus. If this is possible, this single syllabus would allow schools to deliver Higher Information Systems using the materials supplied through the Oracle Academy programme (supplemented with additional learning material) and gain two awards at the end of the course: the Higher award and Oracle's award.
Watch this blog for more information.
Monday, 25 October 2004
- Diploma in E-Learning Production
- Diploma in E-Assessment
- Advanced Diploma in E-Learning.
Tuesday, 12 October 2004
There has been lots of changes in the last year. There are new awards (such as HNC/D Computer Networking) and updated awards (such as HNC/D Computing). Some of the units within these awards feature new technology or new skills and LTS is hoping to provide training to college lecturers.
This was a preliminary meeting and nothing definite was decided- but we agreed in principle to work together to ease the introduction of these new qualifications. Mohammed will work on a training programme to provide a range of training options to lecturers.
Monday, 11 October 2004
Last November, at a conference in Stirling, it was agreed to develop a new Higher National Award in Information Technology. The Qualification Development Team met today to take this forward.
The team are hoping to produce a new HNC/D Information Technology within the next 12-18 months. It's a consortium development, led by George Johnson of Reid Kerr College, supported by Robert Quinn of SQA. The team is planning to create its own blog to keep you up-to-date with developments.
Thursday, 7 October 2004
These PDAs could be taught and assessed "normally" - or taught and assessed using Microsoft materials and assessments. This would permit centres to deliver Microsoft qualifications while contributing to Higher National qualifications.
I think that these PDAs could be attractive to part-time students who would like the national recognition that SQA awards provide also also status and vocational relevance of the Microsoft certification. They would be designed to fit in with part-time programmes within colleges.
The suite of PDAs would encompass more than Microsoft. We're hoping that they would be compatible with a range of vendor awards - from companies such as Oracle and Cisco - as well as Microsoft.
Ted Hastings is looking at ways of including these PDAs within the HNC/D Computer Networking and Deryck Nutley is looking into HNC/D Computing. You can find out more about SQA's work with Microsoft by contacting Vanessa Ranaldi.
Tuesday, 5 October 2004
Although the awards were available from 1 August, the SQA system was not able to accept registrations. The problem was caused by the flexibility of the new awards and the difficulty in programming the conditions of award on the SQA system. This problem has now been resolved.
We recently submitted the IT Practitioner awards for accreditation. We're hoping that these are available to centres from 1 January 2005. Please contact Jack Coleman directly if you want to find out more about the Practitioner awards.
You can find out more about the new IT awards at the E-Skills website. Don't forget to subscribe to the SVQ community to keep up-to-date with developments. Contact Shirley Sampson if you require information or assistance on any aspect of the new SVQs.
Monday, 4 October 2004
An update event was held on Saturday for HN moderators and SVQ verifiers at the Dunblane Hilton Hydro. Most Computing moderators/verifiers managed to attend.
The purpose of these events (which are held once a year) is to bring moderators (for a wide range of subjects) up-to-date with quality assurance issues. The focus of this year's meeting was the new "V" units which replace the "D" units as means of certificating the knowledge and skills of moderators. But the event is also a good opportunity for moderators to discuss general quality issues.
I plan to arrange a meeting of the Computing moderators to discuss recent changes to Computing provision - especially the revised SVQs, the updated HNC Computing and the new awards that have recently been validated (such as Internetworking).
You can find out more about the work of moderators (including how to become one yourself) from Marion Weir.
Wednesday, 29 September 2004
The validation event for the E-Qualifications suite of awardstook place today. The awards were validated subject to a couple of conditions (and a number of recommendations). The awards are:
* Diploma in E-Learning Production
* Diploma in E-Assessment
* Advanced Diploma in E-Learning.
The development team are delighted with this outcome. The conditions will improve the awards and are simple to address. We're hoping to have the awards fully validated by mid-October and available to centres later this year.
Many thanks to the validation panel (chaired by Andrew Comrie of Lauder College) for their constructive comments and helpful advice. And my personal thanks to the development team (led by John Gordon).
You can find out more about the awards and keep up-to-date with developments by subscribing to the E-Qualifications online community.
Friday, 24 September 2004
Thursday, 23 September 2004
A new service can resolve this problem by giving teachers control over blogs. 21Publish allows teachers to become a blog portal. You control who can create a blog, what the blog can do, what's in the blog - even what the blog looks like. It's currently in beta and provides a free service until April 2005. But even then, the paid service will only cost $9 per month (for up to 50 blogs).
It seems a good way to provide a controlled service to students or fellow teachers.
Sunday, 19 September 2004
Monday, 13 September 2004
I attended an Oracle seminar this morning at their HQ in Edinburgh. Around 20 people attended including Head Teachers, Local Authority representatives and practicing teachers.
Oracle is presently promoting its Oracle Academy programme in Scotland. There are currently five Scottish teachers involved in the initiative. These teachers have just completed a 10 week training programme (in Oracle technologies) - including a two week, hands-on training programme in UCLA.
I'm working with Oracle to forge links between their programmes and SQA qualifications and I gave a short presentation on credit transfer between Oracle and SQA awards.
Oracle is looking to expand the programme this year to 20 centres and they're actively looking for volunteers. Contact Jane Richardson if you want to find out more. Jane will also provide today's presentation (in PowerPoint format) if you're interested.
There's another event in Glasgow on Wednesday.
Friday, 10 September 2004
After this morning's launch event, the team met to discuss how to take this forward. Much of the HND development work has already been done but the team have to finalise things during the next few months. The target is to validate the award in December so that it's available to centres from early next year.
In addition to the traditional means of communicating with centres (I'll be writing to centres in the near future to inform you about a forthcoming seminar), there's also an online forum that you can join to keep up-to-date with developments and I also plan to create a dedicated blog for this development that (hopefully) the entire development team will contribute to. Don't worry, it's a short term blog that will be deleted as soon as the award is validated but it seems a good idea to try to use a blog for this purpose. So please visit the blog regularly to find out how the HND is developing.
The launch event for the new Internetworking and Multimedia awards was held today in the Stirling Highland Hotel. Around 60 people attended from various colleges across Scotland as well as representatives of national agencies such as the Scottish Executive and Learning & Teaching Scotland. Representives of Microsoft, Oracle and CompTIA also attended.
The event went well and most people expressed their interest in offering one or other (or both) of these awards.
Several people requested that a new multimedia online group is created to support multimedia teachers and I promised to create one early next week. There's already an Internetworking community that you can join.
Tuesday, 7 September 2004
Six Scottish schools and colleges have signed up and several lucky teachers and lecturers have just finished a 10 week training programme (two weeks of which were spent in UCLA) to help them deliver the course.
I'm speaking at the events about two topics - (1) SQA's general support for curricular links with IT vendors and (2) the specific credit transfer arrangements between the Oracle curriculum and various SQA courses (such as Higher Computing and HNC Computing).
I'll post something on this blog after the events. Contact Jane if you want more information on the Oracle Academy.
Monday, 6 September 2004
It takes time to maintain a blog and I wasn't sure if it was worthwhile but it looks like it is.
Wednesday, 1 September 2004
We're excited about this development since it includes (what we think) is the world's first national qualification in online assessment (the Diploma in E-Assessment).
There's an online community and you can download a FAQ here.
Tuesday, 31 August 2004
Saturday, 21 August 2004
Thursday, 19 August 2004
Today's meeting focussed on the new IT User awards and the IT Professional awards which are currently under development. The main news relating to IT User is that E-Skills is about to finalise a credit transfer system to allow candidates to transfer "old" units to the "new" units. The system isn't quite finalised but when it is SQA will produce its own credit transfer system (based on E-Skills framework).
The awarding bodies agreed to jointly develop evidence requirements for the new IT Professional Standards. This means that the same standards will be applied to anyone across the UK who undertakes these new qualifications. More information will follow. The IT Professional SVQs will be available from 1 January 2005.
Please subscribe to the SVQ online community to keep up-to-date with developments. Contact Jack Robertson if you have specific queries relating to IT User or John Coleman if you have specific queries relating to IT Professional.
Wednesday, 18 August 2004
Tuesday, 17 August 2004
The event will introduce the new suites of Internetworking and Multimedia awards. Qualification developers and vendor representatives will be present.
Friday, 13 August 2004
Speaking of e-assessment, there's a new e-assessment blog and an old e-assessment community that might be of interest to you.
Thursday, 5 August 2004
If you're interesting in Networking qualifications, please subscribe to the Internetworking online community.
Wednesday, 4 August 2004
Monday, 26 July 2004
They're based on the new National Occupational Standards, defined by the E-Skills Sector Skills Council, which are more flexible than the previous Standards.
We're also working on revising the Practitioner Standards and these will be available to centres from 1 January 2005.
You can keep up-to-date with developments by subscribing to the SVQ online community. We're working on a dedicated website within the SQA website to support these new awards. Watch this space.
Monday, 19 July 2004
Education is also finding uses for them. Blogs are appearing on all sorts of educational topics - such as plagiarism and e-learning. Teachers are using them for project work. Students are using them as online log-books. They're particularly good for online collaboration between students.
Once you've found a few interesting blogs, it can be a pain to check them one at a time. However there are online services that will do this for you. These "aggregators" allow you to watch various blogs and tell you when there are new posts. Bloglines is one of them. You simply tell Bloglines which "feeds" you want to "watch" and you'll be told whenever there are new messages. Newsgator provides a plug-in for Outlook which allows you to read blogs within that program. You can even use Bloglines and Newsgator for your e-group subscriptions.
More information here.
Wednesday, 14 July 2004
The suite of awards is called E-Qualifications and includes specialist qualifications in e-learning (such as the Advanced Certificate in E-Learning: Production) and e-assessment (such as the Advanced Certificate in E-Assessment).
You can find out more by subscribing to the E-Qualifications online community or contact Caroline Douglas.
Friday, 9 July 2004
Wednesday, 7 July 2004
I attended the 8th International CAA Conference this week which was held at Loughborough University. Almost 200 people from all over the world attended and the event covered a wide range of issues relating to e-assessment.
This is my second visit to the Conference and the standard was as high as last year. There was an excellent keynote lecture from Randy Bennett of ETS which is responsible for the SAT tests in the States. His talk focussed on the operational issues involved in introducing online assessment into American schools. There were also lots of interesting workshops on various issues such as technical standards, CAA in Mathematics and student perceptions of CAA. I would highly recommend this two event to anyone with an interest in online assessment. I plan to update my FAQ with the new information I gained through attending this event.
Wednesday, 30 June 2004
JISC organised the first international conference on plagiarism which was held at St James Park (the home of Newcastle United). Over 100 people attended. Most attendees were from Higher Education but there were representatives from a couple of English FE colleges.
It was a fascinating event which covered every conceivable aspect of plagiarism. The event attracted considerable media attention .
I learnt a great deal from the conference and plan to update my FAQ once I have time.
Tuesday, 1 June 2004
Friday, 28 May 2004
Don't forget to join the HN Computing online community to keep up-to-date with developments.
Thursday, 27 May 2004
Chris Morrow of E-Skills attended and provided an overview of the main changes to the National Occupational Standards. Jack Robertson (SQA) showed how the new Standards have been translated into qualifications. I explained the timeline for the introduction of the new awards and encouraged everyone to join the SVQ forum.
The new Standards/qualifications were well received. People liked their flexibility. It was a good meeting.
Wednesday, 26 May 2004
The moderation of the HNC examination is taking place today, tomorrow and Friday. Around 10 moderators are presently in residence in the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow to look through candidate scripts from 25 centres. Once complete, each centre will receive feedback on the quality of their marking. For the first time, every centre submitted a prior-approved question paper - which makes moderation much easier.
Either myself or Hugh McDiarmid (full-time moderator) will post a summary of the moderation event on the HN Computing forum.
We're always looking for moderators so please contact Marion Weir if you want to find out more about becoming a Computing moderator. It's an interesting job which provides a great insight into the standards within colleges and training centres.
Friday, 21 May 2004
The main item was the new Occupational Standards. All of the Awarding Bodies plan to launch new qualifications based on the new Standards. SQA will introduce new awards in August 2004. There a Quality Network meeting on 27 May where these developments will be discussed.
Chris Morrow of E-Skills also talked about their E-Skills Passport and informed members that he plans to make it available in early June.
Monday, 17 May 2004
They went very well. Over 800 people attended the events. Most of the people who came along were employers or training providers. We've also received hundreds of enquiries by phone and e-mail.
You can find out more about PC Passport by contacting Joan Morris.
Thursday, 13 May 2004
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