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Leading innovation in IT education

  • 22 September, 2006 16:39

<p>Three pioneering projects of the UTS Faculty of Information Technology to enhance the education of the next generation of IT professionals have won the support of Australia's peak organisation for university teaching and learning.</p>
<p>The Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education has awarded UTS IT around $600,000 in Priority Project Grants for 2007-2008 to develop innovative, interactive, online learning and assessment environments that will benefit universities around Australia.</p>
<p>The Faculty's Associate Dean (Education), Associate Professor David Wilson, said the successful proposals had targeted three areas of need – high-demand computer scripting skills, improving the assessment of introductory programming subjects and developing students' evaluation, feedback, review and assessment skills.</p>
<p>"Andrew Solomon and Raymond Lister have received funding to develop what they call LinuxGym – a fun, interactive online tool for self-paced learning and evaluation of computer scripting skills," Professor Wilson said.</p>
<p>"An analysis of job advertisements has shown that these skills are in greater demand than ever in areas as diverse as web services, genome sequencing, financial modelling and nuclear physics.</p>
<p>"The tool will provide students across a range of disciplines an avenue to learn these vital skills, with the ultimate goal being to supply LinuxGym to universities across Australia and establish a certification in this area.</p>
<p>"The second project, being undertaken by Dr Lister, addresses a major problem that has been identified in the teaching of IT at university – the assessment of introductory programming subjects.</p>
<p>"Retention rates in IT courses are often poor as a result of bad experiences in these initial subjects. The manner of assessment, due to the large class sizes, often means that students don't get timely and meaningful feedback throughout the subject.</p>
<p>"Dr Lister will be creating an interactive online environment for students' self-assessment that will free lecturers of some of their marking burden and allow them to concentrate more on the students and their learning.</p>
<p>"In the third project Richard Raban and Andrew Litchfield will be looking to develop the capacity of students to make informed assessments of their own work and the work of their peers.</p>
<p>"The ability to assess the work of others is a core attribute for most professionals, but in the university setting it has been found that students working in teams can find this very difficult.</p>
<p>"The project will result in an online tool to support and facilitate self-and-peer assessment, providing opportunities for quantitative and qualitative feedback, evaluation, reflection and review. Again, the tool will be made freely available to the Australian academic community," Professor Wilson said.</p>
<p>Issued by:
Terry Clinton,
UTS Media Office,
+61 2 9514 1623 or 0419 293 261,
terry.clinton@uts.edu.au</p>

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