CSEET 2010: Day 2 - Keynotes

Notes from Keynotes presentations on Day 2 of the conference....

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Arosha K Bandara
10 March 2010

Notes from presentations on Day 2 of the conference.

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Keynote 1: The Future of Computing Practice and Education (in an Instrumented, Interconnected, Intelligent World)

Nicholas Bowen, VP Technology

Modern world is interconnected in ways more than simply communications networks.  We live in a global community that is connected economically, socially and technically.

  • Instrumentation, e.g., smart traffic systems, smart food systems - gather data from the environment to provide better information.
  • Interconnected, e.g., smart supply chains, smart energy grids - 'the internet of things'
  • Intelligent, e.g., smart retail, smart healthcare - optimisations of instrumented, interconnected systems.

This take on the direction in which technology is heading is very much in line with the Open University's thinking in developing TU100 (My Digital Life).

Which 'age' are we heading to? - Carlota Perez shows that each of the five great surges of development in the last 240 years - industrial revolution (1771-), age of steam (1829-), age of steel and heavy industry (1875-), age of automobile (1908-), age of IT (1971-), Age of biotech, nanotech, etc. (20??-) ?

Within the age of computing technological innovation has evolved through the levels of - Machine -> Middleware -> Internet.  Going forward there are a number of high-level trends emerging:

Trend #1: How is IT delivered and managed?

From "Build it" to "Buy it" - requires an integration of engineering, business models and social sciences.  A potential qualification that meets the needs of this trend is Service Science, Management and Engineering (SSME)

Issue: Is the 'service' paradigm going to be relevant to the interconnected, instrumented, intelligent world we are heading to?

Trend #2: Computing as a tool for other fields

E.g., the use of computing in life sciences (bio-informatics) - needs skills in modelling and analytics.  How much computer science does the domain expert in a particular field need to know?

Trend #3: Expanding business value in a 'smarter' world

Emerging applications in an instrumented world - implies education must be multi-disciplinary since these applications require collaboration across lots of different systems (economic, social *and* technical)

In order to talk about the solutions to these complex solutions, computing professionals need domain expertise in business and people processes.  More importantly, computing professionals needs the skills to be able to engage with a very diverse group of stakeholders.

Summary

Implications for computing education from each trend is that we need to develop:

  • Foundational skills - still need to understand the basics about how systems will be built and managed
  • Domain expertise
  • "Systems Thinkers" - engineers can no longer simply 'swim in their lane' - need to interact with diverse stakeholders.
  • Strong communication and collaboration required!

Developing 'T-shaped' people - the horizontal bar of the T represents a breadth of knowledge/experience over a range of areas, as well as the vertical bar representing a depth of knowledge/experience in a specific field.

From Q&A:

  • From IBMs (and industry perspective), the technical content of what students learn is less important than the skills they gain through the learning process.  For example, the ability to self-critique ideas and then go off and independently acquire new knowledge that would allow the criticisms to be addressed.
  • From question about, how can universities fit even more (on interdisciplinary working, etc.) into an already crowded curriculum? Answer from Nicholas Bowen - universities need to have a 'near death experience' and ensure that internal processes need to ensure regular review of effectiveness and allow rapid realignment of direction.

IBM are sponsoring a IEEE Computer online discussion on this topic @ http://www.computer.org/portal/web/computer/industry_perspective.

 

Arosha K Bandara
12:34 on 10 March 2010 (Edited 14:03 on 10 March 2010)

Keynote 2: Reinventing Software Engineering Education

Prof. Raj Reddy, CMU

Latter part of the talk will focus on a proposal for a Learning by Example handbook of Software Engineering education.

Link to the previous keynote - How will every student having a laptop in the classroom will change education?  We won't know until we give everyone a laptop a [removed][removed] nd instrument it and develop methods for analysing the data that comes from the instrumentation. We need instrumented, interconnected, intelligent systems for education (not just business)

  • Software Engineering education is more effective if it is student centred (active learning) - rather than lecture centred (passive learning).  We need handbooks on Learning by Example and Learning by Doing for Software Engineering.
  • Need to adopt principles and practices followed in other Engineering disciplines - access to a body of knowledge / experience, access to open market for components and services, design environments and analysis tools.
  • Education and training programs must introduce and use components from the marketplace in classes.

Ideas from the Science of Learning

  • Learning to Learn: Skills required to acquire new knowledge without the need for formal instruction.  Give students foundational knowledge and incremental problems with some simple tools for finding additional information.  Students use the knowledge gained from solving previous problems together with some additional information to learn something new. Teach skills of validating knowledge gained.
  • Learning by Doing: Some tasks  (e.g., reading) can only be learnt through direct personal experience.  However, this needs someone (thing) that can evaluate the student's attempt and provide feedback.
  • Learning by Example
  • ... and others

Educators need to be aware of these techniques and use them appropriately when producing course materials.

The three 'L's of learning - Lectures, Labs and Libraries should be enhanced to allow for active learning.  

  • Recorded lectures can be used as the basis for tutorials where students are be encouraged to discuss material and arrive at answers to questions on their own.
  • Simulation software can be used to allow students to conduct experiments on their own, without the need for expensive equipment or facilities.
  • Online libraries can provide students with access to learning materials, wherever and whenever they want.

Software engineering education wiki handbook should be established to provide a resource for learning from example and learning by doing.  Such an online handbook would be a multimedia presentation of the material. Components of a handbook wiki page:

  • Some background reading material - explaining the foundations of the topic - embedded with relevant examples.
  • Provide a task or problem to solve: Includes a link to relevant background material; specific knowledge needed for the particular problem; provide a worked example of an analogous problem.
  • Ability to submit a solution: provide student with ability to review instructor's solution alongside their own.  If the submitted solution is incorrect, ask the student to solve another problem until they get it right.
  • Enable dialog with instructor - either synchronously, or asynchronously - to resolve any remaining problems faced by the student.

A 20/20 Vision for Software Engineering Education

Teach students how to carry out: Preliminary design, Analysis and prototyping, develop specification for components, build and test. 

Online parts catalogs, online handbooks, search mechanisms to locate closest approximation to needed parts.  Use the internet to find information - but challenge of knowing what information to trust.

We need a handbook of software engineering education that will allow us to learn from each others best practices.  The handbook should be grounded in the science of learning - drawing on ideas of learning by example, learning by doing, etc.,

Arosha K Bandara
13:01 on 10 March 2010 (Edited 14:20 on 10 March 2010)

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