Transforming IT education

Transforming IT education

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It is by now an obvious observation that much of the world depends on information technology. Our infrastructure relies on IT: our buildings, finance systems, roads, airplanes, cars, televisions, washing machines and bread makers; as does much of what we do: our banking, learning and communicating. Almost everyone today uses information technology, but few know how it works, and very few indeed understand the mysteries of how to build new systems. This imbalance between a€˜usersa€™ and a€˜knowersa€™ grows worse every year. With the a€˜dot com collapsea€™, the number of students studying computers, and information technology more generally, has been shrinking steadily. In the long run, this trend is not likely to be a good thing, either in Australia or elsewhere. What can we do about this? IT courses worldwide report falling enrolments and high attrition. The glamour of computing a€“ seemingly effortless graphics and animations, and the management of massive computations and data sets a€“ is at odds with the reality of how difficult it can be to coax computers into exhibiting these advanced capabilities; and many students find the transition from the dream to reality too difficult to master. One possibility is to reconceptualize both what and how we teach, making IT more attractive to students without sacrificing the rigour and depth needed to produce graduates capable of life-long learning against the backdrop of rapidly evolving technologies. The Faculty of Information Technology at QUT has long sought to develop curricula and pedagogies that make this possible. The results of this search show in innovative curricula, real-world engagement, and a dominant position in our local market for IT education. QUTa€™s strategic plan, the a€˜QUT Blueprinta€™*, exhorts the University to be bold, experiment, and engage with the real world in order to ensure we remain relevant and attuned to the needs of both our graduates and the industries that will employ them. The contents of this book report on a significant part of our response to this challenge. Ia€™m honoured to be able to write this preface only a year after I joined QUT; the work herein is a credit to my two predecessors as Deans of the Faculty, Professors Dennis Longley and John Gough, and to all the staff of the Faculty, both academic and professional, and current and past. Hopefully it will also help to inspire a new generation of staff and students. To you, the reader, this book is best thought of as a snapshot of a long quest to discover the secrets of how best to approach the moving feast that is IT education. It will be of interest to those looking to develop new curricula of their own, or benchmark their own journeys of discovery. We should never imagine that we have all the answers; indeed, ita€™s our hope that readers will learn from, and improve on, what we have achieved, and share their insights with us in return, so that the co-evolution of ICT teaching around the world can be facilitated.MBTIAr manual: A guide to the development and use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ... This research has been supported through research grants from the Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee and the direct support of the Heads of anbsp;...

Title:Transforming IT education
Author: Christine Bruce, George M. Mohay, Glenn Smith, Ian Stoodley, Robyn Tweedale
Publisher:Informing Science - 2006

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