This week, I will be presenting two posters at the 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE’21), the flagship CS education conference normally held annually in North America (but being held online again this year). These posters build on two themes of recent work with existing collaborators: the impact of COVID-19 on education (and especially CS education), and the future of professional body CS degree accreditation in the UK.
As you can see from the abstracts below, these two posters represent empirically-based work-in-progress, with both strands of work having the potential for influencing policy and practice in the UK and internationally; stay tuned, more to follow!
An Overview of the Impact of COVID-19 and “Emergency Remote Teaching” on International CS Education Practitioners
Tom Crick, Cathryn Knight, Richard Watermeyer and Janet Goodall
The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed “emergency remote teaching” across education globally, leading to the closure of institutions across all settings, from schools through to universities. We draw on the quantitative and qualitative findings from a large-scale international survey (N=2,483) conducted in the immediate aftermath of closures, implementation of lockdown measures, and the shift to online delivery in March 2020. We report how those teaching the discipline of computer science (CS) across all educational levels (n=327) show significantly more positive attitudes towards the move to online learning, teaching and assessment (LT&A) than those working in other disciplines. However, while CS practitioners across all sectors/settings consistently noted the potential opportunities of these changes, they also raised a number of wider concerns on the impact of this shift to online, especially on workload and job precarity. More specifically for the discipline of CS, there were concerns raised regarding the ability to effectively deliver technical topics online, as well as the impact on various types of formal examinations and assessment.
Keywords: COVID-19, emergency remote teaching, practitioner perceptions
Increasing the Value of Professional Body Computer Science Degree Accreditation
Alastair Irons, Tom Crick, James H. Davenport and Tom Prickett
This poster shares the progress related to an evaluation of computer science degree professional body accreditation, framed through an ongoing national review in the United Kingdom (UK). While this review substantially focuses on the UK, other countries, including South Africa and Ireland, have adopted a similar accreditation regime; furthermore, this work is evaluated in the context of the Washington Accord review, taking into account the memorandum’s impetus for increased consistency in the UK. In parallel with this international review, the UK’s Engineering Council is seeking to enhance and modernise the processes and procedures for degree accreditation (which includes the award of the protected professional title “Chartered Engineer”) and the introduction of the new set of accreditation expectations on approved institutions. The review includes consideration of the value of accreditation to universities, students and employers. It was initiated in 2016 following two major national reviews looking at computer science and wider STEM degree accreditation. The intent is to better understand the value of professional body accreditation in computer science, as well as how to co-create improved outcomes for all accreditation stakeholders.
Keywords: Accreditation, graduate employability, undergraduate curricula, UK
(also see: Publications)