Survival Mode: The Stresses and Strains of Computing Curricula Review

Grace Tan, Anne Venables
InSITE 2008  •  Volume 8  •  2008
In an ideal world, review and changes to computing curricula should be driven solely by academic concerns for the needs of students. The process should be informed by industry accreditation processes and international best practice (Hurst et al., 2001). However, Australian computing curricular review is often driven by the need for financial viability of programs with declining student numbers as much as concerns for academic merit. Worldwide there remains a strong job market and high demand for computing professionals (Liu, 2007; Melymuka, 2006), which predicates an impending IT workforce shortage. However, computing programs currently do not attract students due to perceived problems of the inadequacy of courses to prepare students sufficiently to cope with the practical challenges in current technologies adoption, to acquire strong communication skills and business aptitude (Taft, 2007), to foster problem solving skills, and to find the relevance of program contents to specific occupations. Therefore, computing curricula wishing to attract students need to have specialized studies that are of industrial strength that are updated regularly to reflect the progress in the discipline (Finkelstein & Hafner, 2002; Lui, 2007). Yet the challenge for universities is to weigh this need against preparing students to be universal and lifelong learners.
computing education, IT education, academic review, curriculum development
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