Sunday, August 24, 2014

Skills Frameworks to Reform Higher Education

Greetings from the opening of the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Computer Science and Education (ICCSE 2014) in Vancouver, where Venky Shankararaman from Singapore Management University is speaking on "Skills Frameworks: A Tool for Reform in Information Technology Higher Education".
Information Technology (IT) has revolutionized
the ways in which various sectors of the industry operate. It has enabled organizations to develop new and creative approaches to design, develop and provide products and services. Consequently, companies increasingly rely on IT solutions and Information Systems (IS) to deliver product and services. This I turn has created a need for availability of skilled IT and IS personnel for effective operational continuity within organizations. There seems to be high demand for both IT/IS skills globally. Universities and other form of tertiary institutions play a key role in developing skilled IT personnel. They deploy various approaches to designing and developing IT/IS educational
programs. Some programs could have been developed without much consideration given to the nature of demand for skills and real needs from the IT sector. It is critical to align skills development strategies and educational programs to ensure realistic and relevant needs for IT skills are met. There seems to be a need for standardization of perceptions and expectations of IT/IS roles to facilitate reform for more effective alignment of education of IT/IS with industry needs.
This is very relevant for Australia as it discusses the Sikes Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) as used in Australia. I use SFIA skills definitions in designing courses. I use SFIA partly because the courses are included in programs accreted using the framework, but also because it makes the courses more relevant to real world jobs (and it makes courses easier to design). The course "ICT Sustainability" is designed to align with SIFA Level 5 sustainability competencies, although I designed the course first, sent it to SFIA and they created the skills (discussed at ICCSE 2012).

My paper on how I did this, from ICCSE 2012:

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