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Informatics Education Europe III5-12-20081 The enrolment problem and the changing nature of...

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  • The enrolment problem and the changing nature of prospective students (and informatics)J. van Leeuwen Utrecht UniversityInformatics EuropeAttracting (more) Students to the Informatics Discipline

    5-12-2008

  • 5-12-2008

  • Informatics was:about computing, data processing and process controlcentered once around mainframes and minisNow is:about designing and creating processes and systems and their interactions with the worldcentered around networks, embedded systems and intelligent (information/software) environmentscritical in everything (science, business, society)used by everyone, everywherebusiness domain of many information and software companies (large and small)major factor in economy, innovation and of ICT policieschallenging future ethics, privacy, securitymajor intellectual discipline of this century (cf Constable 2005) and.. a household word!

    5-12-2008

  • 5-12-2008

  • Informatics education was:focussing on programming languages, datastructures, database systems, logic (and math..), program constructionorganized in 4-5 year diploma programsNow is:focussing on algorithmic thinking, concepts in context, object/agent/ web/service-oriented programming, algorithms, multimedia, embedded systems, distributed intelligence, cognition, system architecturewith amazing software technologies, unleashing/augmenting creativityembedded in multidisciplinary contexts (game design, bio-informatics, technology management, etc.) and experiential learningorganised in broad 3-year Bachelor and specialised 2-year Master programsmore application- than theory-orientedusing unlimited digital information, changing the face of scholarship in many fieldsconstantly adapting to progress in ICTin great demand in all branches of science, business, industry, ...

    5-12-2008

  • The Information Age New worldWe are all connectedDigital communities, new forms of communicationTriple play: (mobile) high speed internet, television, telephoneE-skills, smart environments, serious gamingEverything is informatisedNew economyInformation technology industriesCompany- and society-wide system applicationsNetworked, with worldwide interchange of data/documents/Globalization of production, goods and services, trade, financeNew scienceCreative tools in learningInformation system structures in all sciencesPrograms and computation as most powerful modelKnowledge discovery from massive dataVirtual laboratories, e-journals, digital librariesInstant dissemination of research and ideas The Informatics Age??

    5-12-2008

  • From the 1960s until 2000, engineering and CS have been popular, no extra mile had to be taken to attract students touniversities.

    AND YET

    While nowadays our youth is using new technologies fluently, the number of CS students in first-year university has declined alarmingly in North-America and Europe. Although according to some (national) statistics the number of graduating students increased from 2005 to 2006, enrolments have dropped 49% fromtheir height in 2001/02. The number of female undergraduatestudents in CS is low. The alarming trend of declining enrolment exists despite a desperate need for computer scientists in industryand a popular debate on the topic in the media. Cf. Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop 2009

    5-12-2008

  • We must provide students an engaging curriculum that goes beyond programming and represents the imaginative, creative, collaborative, and complex character of Informatics/Computing.

    Cf. Comm. ACM (Nov 2008).

    5-12-2008

  • Do we promote Informatics effectively?

    5-12-2008

  • Interesting students for Informatics: problems relate along the whole educational chain:Primary educationSecondary educationBachelor programs(Vocational programs)Master programsPhD programs Science, industry, business, services

    Challenges at level X: not only a problem of level X-1..Also distinguish: input, throughput, output

    And, what is keeping women out of academic programs in Informatics cq Computing (in some countries)?

    5-12-2008

  • Example: career motivators for studying InformaticsBased on external factors and later..

    Informatics is a fascinating field that brings together software technology, logic, design, psychology, management science and mathematics, and drives scientific, technological and societal change `touching every aspect of daily life.In 2007, Informatics (CS/CE) jobs ranked the top five for average starting salary offers among graduates. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the IT workforce to grow at more than twice the rate of the overall workforce from 2006-2016. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that of the top six fastest growing occupations, three are computer science-related jobs, such as computer software engineers, systems analysts, and network systems and data communication analysts.Informatics graduates work in a variety of different areas, such as healthcare, Internet development, homeland and military security, space exploration, transportation, robotics, virtual reality, gaming, and more!

    Cf. Various University sites

    5-12-2008

  • Example: academic motivators for studying Informatics Informatics is part of everything we doExpertise in Informatics enables you to solve complex challenging problemsInformatics enables you to make a positive difference in the worldInformatics offers many types of lucrative careersInformatics jobs are here to stay, regardless of where you are locatedExpertise in Informatics helps you even if your primary career choice is something elseInformatics has space for both collaborative work and individual effortInformatics is an essential part of well-rounded academic preparationFuture opportunities in Informatics are without boundaries

    Cf. ACM Top 10 Reasons

    5-12-2008

  • Example: one of the most exciting disciplines to study, where you can have an impact on real world problemsInformatics is: a science, based on deep ideas that you will discover, apply and can even invent as an undergraduate.

    highly suited to people who are creative, enjoy solving puzzles, like to design and build things.

    an ideal discipline for students who have broad interests, because it can be applied to so many other fields. [] is an ideal place for interdisciplinary studies open to students with or without programming experience one of the most employable degrees you can get, and now is a particularly great time to be a computer scientist.

    Cf. Computer Science, Univ. of Toronto.

    5-12-2008

  • Example: Why study Informatics here?Identify your departments unique selling points! Illustrate with demos, videos, and creative web presence.

    Earn a degree from a top-ranked programImmerse yourself in an excellent curriculumExplore exceptional non-CS coursesGreat academic options: pursue outstanding research opportunities for undergrad and grad studentsLearn in world-class facilities, from excellent teachersTake advantage of the events and extra-curriculars which the university has to offerLive in a vibrant, scenic cityExplore the world through study abroadLand your dream jobStart your own business through the universitys entrepreneurial resourcesCf. CS, U Michigan

    5-12-2008

  • Why students dont (seem to ..) choose Informatics

    5-12-2008

  • Paradox of valueVersion 1: Student interest for majoring/working in science (CS) declines as science and technology are more developed in a country. Cf. Schreiner & Sjberg, Project `ROSE, Oslo, 2005. Version 2: As IT gets embedded in everything and becomes ordinary, the less students see a challenge in studying Informatics. Cf. V. Frissen 2008.

    Version 3: Nothing wrong with Informatics but working in IT does not have an attractive image (`IT work will be boring). Cf. BITKOM 2007, CRAC Study 2008.

    Version 4: Students believe that the IT industry will hire them no matter what they have studied. So, why not study what you like now and learn `computers later. Cf. C. de la Higuera (at IEEIII 2008).

    Version 5: ICT research in `neighboring disciplines appears to grow faster than in the ICT disciplines themselves. Cf. Technopolis Study 2008.

    Version 6: Unlike other sciences, ICT researchers can pursue certain lines of research only if somebody else considers them useful. Cf. Santini (2006)

    What does this tell us?

    5-12-2008

  • Other arguments, often re- and re-discovered:Its the economy.. (e.g. present labor market concerns).Disappointment with secondary school view of Informatics.Poor career advice and misunderstanding of the field (incl. job futures) by friends, parents, school advisors, public perception, etc.Forced view of later jobs: students are not (very) interested yet in `what they will be, but rather in `whom they will be later. IT issues and e-skills dominate over societally accepted scientific challenges of the field.Gap between creative and technological aspects of the discipline is felt to be `large.Computer science students interested in computers but not in `science.Rather study Y (Biology, Math, ..) with a minor in Informatics than Informatics with a minor in Y.Lack of inspiring role models `in reach, no understanding of what informaticians cq Informatics graduates do.Studying (computer) science is perceived as passive and too much solitary learning and focus on competition. Cf. Tobias (1990).Perceptions of the curriculum as being difficult (`too much content, `too much math), not inspiring (low sense of relevance), or too academic (not related to `profession or practice).CS programs have not adapt

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