PDA Data Science validation

The validation event for the Professional Development Award in Data Science was held on Thursday afternoon. The purpose of validation is for an independent group of experts to approve new qualifications. The panel had representation from universities, colleges and employers. This was my first experience of a virtual validation (we used Microsoft Teams), which worked really well. I’m pleased to let you know that the suite of qualifications was approved with some conditions and recommendations. The main condition relates to…

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Design of new Higher National awards

Regular readers will know that we’re currently reviewing a suite of Higher National (HN) qualifications in Computing. This isn’t a normal review. Computing is one of three subjects testing a new design for HN awards. The initiative is called “HN Next Generation”. New Higher Nationals will have a different look to the current awards. The “design parameters” include: fewer and larger units less assessment inclusion of metaskills project-based learning. New Higher Nationals will have a consistent framework consisting of: Common…

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NPA Comp. Games Dev. (G9RP 44, G9RR 45 and G9RT 46) – Finish date extended

The NPA Computer Games Development was revised in 2018 (GP02 44, GP03 45, GP04 46). When awards are revised, the previous version of the award goes into lapsing for a period of time, during which centres can still enter candidates for the ‘old’ award while they become familiar with the revised award. So, for some time, both versions of the award coexist. After a period of 3-4 years, the previous version of the award is removed from the catalogue. It…

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PDA Data Science consultation

The PDA Data Science development at SCQF levels 7, 8 and 9 is well underway and validation will take place at the end of the month. We are now in a position to share more details with you regarding this development, such as the aims, frameworks and units. We would be interested in your views, which you can provide through the consultation form below: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=2LTEKxW0bE-LuCwphdcXHznh9ZB__vhLoPF9ACVVFIxUMzVXSEZVMkpMTUVUMDJGT0xVNVFaMlRGNSQlQCN0PWcu You will be able to access a ‘Qualification summary’ document once you are in the…

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NPA Computer Networks and Systems – Revision

Earlier this year, scoping was carried out on a number of our qualifications in order to gauge how centres felt about the awards and to inform any decision on the best way to proceed. One of the awards scoped was the National Progression Award in Computer Networks and Systems (G9J8 45). The scoping report revealed some key points, such as the fact that the structure of the award is considered to be good. Consequently, taking into account the feedback from…

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PDA Data Science update

As regular readers will know, we’re currently developing a new suite of qualifications in data science. The Professional Development Awards in Data Science will be available at SCQF Levels 7, 8 and 9. The Level 7 award is for everyone or, at least, everyone who works with data. This qualification will provide data analysis skills for people who don’t want to become data scientists but need to know how to handle large datasets and make business decisions based on that data.…

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Lead developers for HN Next Gen

An important milestone in any qualification development is the appointment of lead developers. I’m pleased to let you know that we have now appointed five experienced teachers to lead each of the developments in the HN Next Gen project. For privacy reasons, I’ll only name their centres. HNC Computing: Glasgow Clyde College HND Computer Science: University of the Highlands & Islands HND Data Science: Edinburgh College HND Networking & Infrastructure: Open University HND Software Development: City of Glasgow College. Although…

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Refreshed combined assessments for HN Computing

The “HN enhancement” project has two parts. Part 1 was adding units to the existing HNC Computing, which has now been done, and part 2 is refreshing combined assessments that were produced a few years ago and making these available to all centres. The combined assessments were originally devised in 2014 (and made available in 2015) to reduce the amount of assessment (by integrating several assessments into one) and giving learners “a university experience” of assessment. They’re also known as…

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Teaching and learning material for data science

Since my previous post about this, I’m pleased to let you know that the Data Education in Schools team, within the University of Edinburgh, has been selected to develop the additional support materials for NPA Data Science. The new materials will come in two parts. An Educator’s Guide will provide advice to teachers about getting started with the qualification (such as the software that you’ll need and how best to timetable the course) and a Learner’s Guide, which will cover all…

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Embedded Core Skills in MA frameworks

A few days ago we received a query regarding Core Skills in an MA framework. I feel it is important to share this with you, as the discovery I made will not be obvious to many of you. The query related to the MA in Digital Applications. There is a statement within the framework stating that “Core Skills in ICT (SCQF Level 6). Problem Solving (SCQF Level 5) and Working With Others (SCQF Level 5) are embedded within the mandatory…

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NPA Computer Networks

Early this year we carried out a scoping exercise to identify changes needed for three existing qualifications: G9J8 45 NPA Computer Networks and Systems, G8L5 48 PDA Network Technology and G9HL 44 NPA Software Development. The scoping reports were produced after consultations were conducted with our stakeholders, as a result of which, we have decided to revise G9J8 45 NPA Computer Networks and Systems (and no changes will be made to G8L5 48 PDA Network Technology and G9HL 44 NPA…

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Online cyber learning opportunities for teenagers

At the beginning of May, The UK Government, with NCSC and the National Crime Agency, launched a number of programmes in an online/virtual format. Learners undertaking these courses will receive SCQF credit points. These courses should be of particular interest to anyone who is undertaking or interested in the NPAs Cyber Security, as they will acquire evidence for the NPA Cyber Security at the relevant level. Please see below for more details. Cyber Discovery’s Virtual Cyber Security School: https://cyber-school.joincyberdiscovery.com/ (13…

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PDAs Data Science – Update

As things start to settle down and we become more used to life and work in lockdown, it is probably a good time to give you an update on the PDA Data Science. We have just concluded the unit writing training for this development, which took place last week. We held the training via Microsoft Teams and Bobby and I delivered the training over a 90-minute session. I am pleased to say that it worked well and, consequently, we may consider…

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NPA Data Science units – new links

We have received some queries regarding an old post about the NPA Data Science units. It would seem that some of the links to the unit specifications are not working. This is probably due to the fact that the units had to be recoded shortly after they were first published, as was explained in Bobby’s post last September. Bobby’s post provided a link to the qualification FAQ, which among other questions, includes links to the unit specifications. However, to avoid…

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First meeting of the development team for HNC Computing

As regular readers will know, we’ve started the review of HNC Computing. The Qualification Development Team (QDT) met for the first time last week, using Microsoft Teams. Martyn Ware, Head of Transformation, gave an interesting presentation about “HN Next Generation”, which is the modernisation programme for Higher National awards. The new HNC Computing will be one of the first “HN Next Gen” qualifications (along with one from engineering and one from broadcasting). New HN awards will be different from the…

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HN enhancements – adding units in the HNC Computing

As Bobby has explained in his previous post, the HN awards is going to happen in two phases. Phase 1 will “enhance” the current awards (“HN enhancements”), without changing their structures, and phase 2 will revise the awards using new design rules. In order to improve the HNC Computing framework more quickly (as it was developed in 2012 and needs modernisation) before its review is complete, our Qualification Support Team (“QST”) has approved the following more up-to-date SCQF level 7…

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Support materials for NPA Data Science

I recently posted something about new support materials for NPA Data Science, thanks to extra funding from the Scottish Government. We’re now looking for expressions of interest from organisations or individuals to develop this material. We intend to commission this work externally, rather than the normal process of recruiting and managing content writers. The new material will consist of a guide for educators, to help centres prepare for and deliver the awards, and teaching and learning materials for Levels 4…

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Data science course for teachers and lecturers

Commencing 4 May, and lasting three weeks, the University of Glasgow is running a MOOC on data science for educators. The course is available on FutureLearn and is free. Here’s some information about it. ’Teaching Data Science’ is a three week MOOC, designed by University of Glasgow, sponsored by The Data Lab, hosted on FutureLearn. It’s aimed at educators, empowering them to include data science activities in their learning design. We introduce Python coding, data visualization and interpretation with interactive…

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Review of HNC Computing

I recently posted information about the planned review of a number of Higher National awards in Computing. I’m pleased to let you know that we’re commencing this large development by reviewing HNC Computing. We plan to update five HN qualifications in total but it makes sense to commence with the HNC because this forms the first year of the HNDs. HNC Computing HND Computer Science HND Data Science HND Networking & Infrastructure HND Software Development. A Qualification Development Team (QDT)…

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Teaching and learning material for NPA Data Science

I’m pleased to let you know that the Scottish Government has recently provided additional funding to support the new National Progression Award in Data Science. We plan to use the money to produce something similar to what we produced for NPA Cyber Security, which was well received by schools and colleges. The initial focus will be on Levels 4 and 5 (National 4 and National 5). We will produce an Educator’s Guide (for teachers) and Learners’ Guides (for each level),…

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