Friday, 16 January 2009

Area #2 - Colleges

Microsoft OfficeImage via WikipediaFor many years, Colleges rode the Computing boom with their departments. They looked upon Computing as a significant source of students (and funding). Now that the boom is over it is vital that colleges become fully involved in providing support for their Computing departments. This starts with being fully cognisant of the challenges facing the departments.

College management may find it challenging to understand the technicalities and skills involved in Computing. This has led to unrealistic expectations of the flexibility of Computing practitioners.

An analogy can be made to the teaching of languages. There would be no thought of walking into the work-room of a lecturer in French and announcing that, as of next week, they will teach Mandarin Chinese.

Computing lecturers are routinely asked to take classes for which they may have had inadequate professional development e.g. rather than teaching Pascal, they are asked to teach C# or rather than using Office 2003 the package of choice will be Office 2007 (and, by the way, the class starts on Thursday!). Becoming proficient in a programming language is not a trivial exercise.

Re-training, that should take several weeks of work, can be expected within days.

Colleges, who benefit from the provision of up to date courses, must provide practitioners with the necessary time, training and support required to update their skills.

(P.S. If you are not sure why moving from Office 2003 to 2007 should be a problem then I have proven my point.)
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