Friday, January 15, 2010

Applying the Bauhaus Manifesto to IT Education

Discussing with my ANU colleagues what should be done about IT education of IT professionals with my I was stuck by the similarity of many of the ideas to the Bauhaus Manifesto. This was written by Walter Gropius for the arts and crafts school in 1919.

Gropius was an architect and believed that the ultimate aim of all creative activity is building. He argued that the craft and art had drifted apart and needed to be reunited. To do this the Bauhaus combined architects, painters and sculptors, with the crafts in a workshop. This may seem a long way from what computer programmers and software engineers do, but there are echoes in his description of the "pattern-designer" and "applied artist", in contrast to fine arts. The term "pattern design" should seem familiar to software engineers, as the idea of "Pattern language" was adapted from archicture. The arguments about pure versus applied arts in the early part of the 20th century are much the same as computer science versus software engineering in the 21sdt Century. How much is this a theoretical practice and how much practical hands on implementation.

Gropius argued that education was needed in both, combined. The result was the idea of workshop based training and students doing the same foundation education, before specialising an a particular field. This practice is still followed by many architecture schools today. As to how well it worked at the Bauhaus will never be known as the school was shut down after 14 years of difficult operations in Germany between two world wars.

The same issues apply to IT now as they did to arts: While a wide curriculum may be good for the students, can teachers trained in narrow specialisations adapt to teach it? Will the students be accepted by conservative processions and employers? Can such programs be coordinated? Can ordinary people teach and learn from such courses, or are they only for a few exceptionally gifted individuals?

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

ICT Essentials for Government Leaders

The Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders Module Series is a set of training materials provided free by the United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communications Technology for Development (UN-APCICT). There are eight modules, each provided as a PDF document of about 100 pages (1Mbyte). The material is under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, so it can be freely used and modified.
  1. The Linkage between ICT Applications and Meaningful Development
  2. ICT for Development Policy, Process and Governance
  3. e-Government Applications
  4. ICT Trends for Government Leaders
  5. Internet Governance
  6. Network and Information Security and Privacy
  7. ICT Project Management in Theory and Practice
  8. Options for Funding ICT for Development

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Vocational Graduate Certificate in ICT Sustainability

Box Hill Institute of TAFE is now offering a "Vocational Graduate Certificate in ICT Sustainability" at its Nelson Campus in Melbourne. The course includes subjects of "Manage improvements in ICT sustainability ", "Use ICT to improve sustainability outcomes", "Lead personal and strategic transformation" and "Principles of sustainability". In May I visited Box Hill Institute to talk to Frank Mentiplay and other staff about the course. The course will initially be face to face on campus, but they are looking at e-learning and distance education options. It is good to see a range of green ICT courses becoming available in Australia. The Box Hill Institute course slots in neatly between the very hands on units at Petersham TAFE in Sydney and the management level course I am running at ANU on Green ICT Strategies: COMP7310.

I have suggested to Box Hill Institute of TAFE we get together and propose common standards for green ICT education, which will apply to both the vocational and higher education sectors.
National Code: 21970VIC
Centre: Information and Communications Technology
Location: Nelson Campus ...
Study Area: Information Technology

What does this course involve?

This Graduate Certificate is unique in that it concentrates on ICT aspects of sustainability.

The ICT Industry is well placed to be the driving force for change in the new low carbon economy. As a student in this course, you will develop skills not ordinarily found in a straight IT qualification, that will meet industry’s need for employees with knowledge and awareness of ICT sustainability issues.

This is a four-unit postgraduate qualification. Subjects will cover:
• General sustainability – looking at current issues and solutions
• Green ICT – ICT industry developments to reduce carbon footprint
• ICT as an industry enabler to carbon reduction – focusing on how ICT will help other industries to lower their carbon footprints
• ICT sustainability business case study – skills to develop business proposals to reduce carbon emissions for business.

Students will work in small classes with professionally qualified lecturing staff.

You will need to have an IT background to study this course. This course is the first of its kind in Australia.

What employment opportunities will I have?

On completion of this course you will be able to:

* advice a company on ICT sustainability issues
* have knowledge of ICT sustainability issues and solutions
* have knowledge of Government agencies related to ICT sustainability and have knowledge of Government regulations related to ICT Sustainability
* be aware and able to prepare Carbon Reports as required by Government legislation and industry bodies
* have the skills to prepare and present an ICT sustainability policy for a given company to the company’s management
* be able to take leadership in a company on ICT sustainability issues
* advise a company on ICT sustainability opportunities. ...


Nationally Recognised

What further study options will I have?

This course can lead to further studies at Postgraduate level.

Can I apply?

* You should have successfully completed a Bachelor or Diploma in an IT related field; or
* Alternatively, you should have work experience in the IT industry ...

Length of course

Part time - 1 year (Tuesday and Thursday evenings)

Units of Competency
Manage improvements in ICT sustainability 80 hr
Use ICT to improve sustainability outcomes 80 hr
BSBLED701A Lead personal and strategic transformation 80 hr
VBN762 Principles of sustainability 50 hr

Unit of Competency Details

– Manage improvements in ICT sustainability - (80 hours)

This unit covers the skills and knowledge required to reduce the sustainability related impacts of ICT operations through energy conservation, energy efficiency and changing user behavior.

– Use ICT to improve sustainability outcomes - (80 hours)

This unit covers the skills and knowledge required to improve sustainability outcomes through the reduction of environmental, economic and social impacts for a range of industries using ICT based solutions.

BSBLED701A – Lead personal and strategic transformation - (80 hours)

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to analyse and improve personal leadership style and professional competence, and to lead organisational transformation.

VBN762 – Principles of sustainability - (50 hours)

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will have a working knowledge of the key sustainability challenges in terms of environmental, economic and social issues at a global, national and local level. They will be able to address these challenges through an array of management and decision-making tools. ...

From: Box Hill Institute of TAFE is now offering a "Vocational Graduate Certificate in ICT Sustainability" at its Nelson Campus in Melbourne.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Learning Federation

Had a visit recently from a company which created interactive multimedia for education. They showed me a demonstration of a vocational course and one for schools. They said they had done numerous school modules for the "Le@rning Federation". This is a non-profit consortium of state and federal Australian and New Zeeland governments. So I went to look for content suitable for university ICT courses. There were 47 items under the "Information technology" category, but these seemed to mostly consist of how to set the ring tone on your mobile phone and old black and white photos. There seemed to be very little educational content. Perhaps the Learning Federation has good content at other educational levels or for other disciplines but there seems to be little of value for unviersity ICT edcuation.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Engineers for the Future

The Australian Council of Engineering Deans released a report "Engineers for the Future - Addressing the Supply and Quality of Engineering Graduates for the new Century" in March 2008. The report provides an analysis of problems with engineering education in Australia and recommendations for improvement.

Unfortunately the publishers did such a poor job of engineering the electronic version of the document that almost no one seems to have noticed it existed. Apart from rendering nugatory the fine work by many people preparing the report, this does not indicate that the universities involved understand the e-literacy techniques which will be needed to educate engineers.

The document was put online with a creative commons licence, so it could be freely distributed. But as it is in a poorly formatted PDF document, it is difficult for anyone to find or read. Even after I was alerted to the existence of the document it took me several minutes to find a copy of it. Instead what I found were numerous media releases from Universities about their staff attending the launch of the document. None of these bothered to provide a link to the actual document. It appears that the priority for these universities is to pander to the egos of their senior administrators, rather than to promote engineering.

The Recommendations for Action in the report were grouped as:
  1. the public perception of engineering
  2. the engineering occupational levels and graduate outcome standards
  3. implementing best-practice engineering education
  4. resources for engineering education
  5. engagement with industry
  6. address shortages by increasing diversity in engineering workplaces supported by engineering education programs
Unfortunately due to the poor formatting of the report I was not able to extract an easy to understand of the recommendations. However, here is the executive summary:
Engineers conceive, create and maintain physical and information-based products, processes, systems and assets that satisfy human and economic needs, and have minimal environmental and negative human impacts. Engineering is critical to Australia’s economy, security, health and environment, is increasingly complex and multidisciplinary, and is practised diversely, in business, government and educational
enterprises. Engineering is a key component of the nation’s innovation system.

Australia’s higher education sector provides entry-level education to professional engineers, engineering technologists and engineering officers, as well as advanced level education and engineering research. The engineering education system, involving educators, professional bodies and employers, enjoys good international standing. The system has continuously responded to changes in engineering practice
brought about by new scientific and technological knowledge, and to changing economic and regulatory forces.

This report examines the current state of the higher education component of the Australian engineering education system, with respect to its ability to address future needs, contextualised by assessing the implementation of outcomes of the 1996 Review of Engineering, Changing the Culture. Recommended changes to the engineering program accreditation process are judged to have been successful in driving greater emphasis on generic graduate attributes in first-degree engineering programs. The Review also stimulated improvements in curriculum design and delivery, including project, problem, and workplace-based learning, and increased emphasis on sustainability. The present study has also identified substantial and
emerging strengths of many of Australia’s engineering schools in the areas of research, international education, and in addressing industry-specific skills shortages though both undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Undertaken at this time of high demand for engineers, this scoping project identifies critical issues such as the continuing reduction in the size of the pool of Australian school students who are studying the requisite high levels of mathematics and science, and the low participation of women in university engineering programs. The study reports concerns about the educational capacity and robustness of the engineering education system with respect to its ability to graduate increased numbers of engineers
with the qualities that are required. The six recommendations aim to ensure that the system can meet society’s future needs for engineers, through actions that will:
  • increase the public understanding of engineering and the work of engineers, particularly in schools;
  • clarify educational outcomes and standards required for practice at all internationally recognised levels of engineering;
  • develop best-practice engineering education to ensure the required outcomes and reduce attrition;
  • attract a higher proportion of women and other under-represented groups;
  • increase staffing and material resources for delivery of high quality engineering education; and
  • promote stronger collaborative links with industry.
Action leaders, stakeholders, and performance measures and indicators are identified to ensure effective implementation of each recommendation.

From: "Engineers for the Future - Addressing the Supply and Quality of Engineering Graduates for the new Century", Australian Council of Engineering Deans, March 2008

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Occupational Skills Profile Model

The Occupational Skills Profile Model (OSPM) from the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is an attempt to standardise skills and occupations in the Canadian ICT sector. It is similar to the UK's Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). Unfortunately like SFIA, OSPM suffers from being a proprietary system which requires payment of a fee to use. It also suffers from excessively large and complicated documents. "Occupational Skills Profile Model: A Foundation for the Future" is 544 pages (10.6 Mbytes) of PDF. ICT is a global business and it seems unlikely there is much difference between the jobs in the UK, Canada or anywhere else. Those doing OSPM and SFIA need to pool their resources and provide something we can all use in a format we can use.
The Occupational Skills Profile Model (OSPM) was developed by the Software Human Resource Council (SHRC) to standardize skills and occupations in the Canadian ICT sector, the public sector and educational institutions. It is the foundation for identifying, recruiting, retaining and retraining workers, and is recognized as the national standard for describing ICT occupations in Canada. ...

The 36 current occupational profiles defined by the OSPM include software and hardware occupations to be compared across industries and over time, and give employers the ability to target and address skills gaps within their organizations.

... skills are grouped into five areas:

• Technical/Functional Skills
• Business and Management Skills
• Personal/Interpersonal Skills
• Software/IT Environments
• Hardware Environments ...

From: "Occupational Skills Profile Model: A Foundation for the Future" , Reference Manual Version 3.0, Information and Communications Technology Council Inc., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2007

ps: The ACS uses SFIA for its courses and I had to come to grisps with it for the Green ICT course.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

International Conference on IT Innovation Shows Lack of Innovation

I was asked to review a paper for the 14th ACM-SIGCSE Annual Conference on
Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
(ITiCSE 2009, Paris, July 3-8, 2009). For a paper about international innovation it was surprising to find that there were two versions of the call for papers provided: one for US Letter paper and one for international A4 paper. A few moments thought would have lead the conference organisers to conclude that if they formatted the document correctly it would print on either size page and only one document would be needed.

This may seem a trival point, but the conference deals with the use of technology in supporting computer science teaching and learning, the practice of teaching computer science and computer science education research. ICT is an international discipline and we need international standards in areas such as computer science edcuation. We can't waste time and resources on trivia such as producing versions for slightly different print paper sizes.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

International Alignment and Accreditation of Australian ICT Courses

In its August 2008 newsletter, the ACS announced that some of its online postgraduate Computer Professional Education Program has been revised to incorporate the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) competencies. Also the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP) held an accreditation assessment of the ACS for the International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3) , with a result expected in September at the 20th World Computer Congress (WCC 2008).

Charles Hughes, Chairman, International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3) is one of the keynote speakers for WCC 2008. IP3 is intended to provide international professional standards for ICT people.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Sustainable IT Lecture Series Free Online

The Natural Edge Project, an Australian based independent Sustainability Think-Tank, has produced the Sustainable IT Lecture Series. This is a free education package for training ICT professionals in sustainability. The package focuses on energy efficiency and draws on case studies of real world energy saving projects. Most of the examples are from the project sponsor HP, and focus on the company's methodologies for energy reduction, but this is not some company greenwash. The material is suitable for use in tertiary education for ICT practitioners, engineering and related disciplines. The lecture notes would also be useful for self study by practitioners interested in learning about energy saving techniques.

TNEP and HP are to be commended for making the material available free for educational use via an open access licence. TNEP have provided the opportunity for Australia to
lead the world in reducing the impact of ICT on climate change. It is now for ICT educators and practitioners to take up the challenge.

Sustainable IT: Reducing Carbon Footprint and Materials Waste in the IT Environment

  1. Drivers and Benefits of Sustainable IT: The aim of this lecture is to discuss the drivers and benefits of Sustainable IT, particularly for the customer. Drivers and benefits range through business, economic, environmental and legislative domains.
  2. Product Service Systems and the Product Cycle: The aim of this lecture is to discuss product service systems, their barriers and lessons from past implementations, as well as the opportunities to reduce energy and materials consumption in packaging and equipment through end-of-life processing.
  3. Client Equipment: The aim of this lecture is to discuss a four-step process for reducing energy consumption, materials consumption and materials toxicity in client equipment.
  4. Data Centres and HP Case Study: The aim of this lecture is to discuss a seven-step process for reducing energy consumption in data centres and to present a Sustainable IT case study of IT vendor HP.
  5. Roadmap and Success of Sustainable IT: The aim of this lecture is to discuss the strategies, activities and actions upon which customers and vendors should focus in order to successfully transition to, maintain and promote their Sustainable IT solutions at the organisation and industry level.
  6. References: This document contains the full citations for the references in the Lecture documents.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

National ICT Careers Week

National ICT Careers Week starts 28 July 2008. This has events about computer and telecommunications careers. It is aimed at young people and their parents. There are events across Australia.
17 July
Landing that job!
Australian Computer Society - Tasmania

18 July
Virtual thrills, robots and computer games
Macquarie University Computing Department
North Ryde Campus

22 July
Diversiti ICT Hiring Influence Report 2008
Level 12, 2 Park St, Sydney

27 July
ICT = Great Jobs + Great Money
ITCRA - Information Technology Contract & Recruitment Association

28 July
Testing trends and developments for the enterprise
Australian Computer Society - NSW Branch
Level 1, 280 Pitt St Sydney (Sydney Mechanics School of Arts)

28 July
Computing workshops for high school students
Macquarie University Computing Department
North Ryde Campus

28 July
NCSS Programming Challenge
University of Sydney School of IT

28 July
CIT Information Evening
Canberra Institute of Technology
Reid Learning Centre, Constitution Avenue, Reid

28 July
Careers in the Digital Content Industry
Mobile Enterprise Growth Alliance (MEGA)
Careers Forum, Education Development Centre, Milner Street, Hindmarsh

29 July
Digi-Girls Robotics
TAFE NSW Northern Sydney Institute
Crows Nest College, 149 West St

29 July
Faculty of Information Technology Annual Teachers' Luncheon
Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Information Technology

29 July
University of South Australia School of Information & Computer Science
Bradley forum, Hawke Building level 5, City West campus, University of South Australia

29 July
Forensic IT & Electronic Discovery
Australian Computer Society - NSW Branch
Norman Selfe Room, Level 3 280 Pitt St Sydney (Sydney Mechanics School of Arts)

30 July
Showcase and Forum
TAFE NSW Northern Sydney Institute
Studios A & B, North Sydney College, 213 Pacific Highway, St Leonards

30 July
Australian workplace culture – what to expect and tips for a smooth transition
Australian Computer Society - Victoria Branch
The Tea House 28 Clarendon Street South Melbourne

30 July
Meet Dr Karl!
University of South Australia School of Information & Computer Science

30 July
Business Intelligence Competency Centre
Australian Computer Society - NSW Branch
Mitchell Theatre Level 1, 280 Pitt St Sydney (Sydney Mechanics School of Arts)

31 July
Careers Evening
University of NSW, School of Computer Science and Engineering
Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Level 1, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

31 July
Trying to provide your students with the right career start
Western Sydney ICT Skills Taskforce
Department of State and Regional Development - Level 2, 470 Church Street, Parramatta

31 July
ICT Careers Night
Australian Computer Society - Victoria Branch
Telstra Theatrette, Exhibition St, Melbourne

31 July
ICT Careers - Your Future
Australian Computer Society - Queensland Branch

31 July
Careers Counsellors Forum: Promoting ICT Careers in the Australian Public Service
Australian Government Department of Finance and Deregulation
Radford College, Bruce

01 August
Robotics Workshop - Professional Development for Teachers
Griffith University School of Information and Communication Technology
Multimedia Lab 2.20, Multimedia building, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University

01 August
GO3 Electronic & Entertainment Expo
GO3 Electronic & Entertainment Expo
Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre

01 August
Science and technology breakfast
University of Adelaide School of Computer Science and School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Eclipse function room Adelaide university campus

01 August
Computer Science & Robotics - media welcome
University of Adelaide School of Computer Science and School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Eclipse function room Adelaide university campus

01 August
Where does a career in ICT lead? - media welcome
University of Adelaide School of Computer Science and School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

02 August
Monash University Open Day
Monash University Faculty of Information Technology

02 August
ICT & Careers Expo
Victorian Information Technology Teachers Association
Memorial Hall, Melbourne High School

02 August
From study to workplace: an ICT pathway for girls
Victorian Women in ICT Network
Melbourne High

03 August
ICT and Engineering Careers and Study Options Presentations at UQ Open Day
University of Queensland School of IT and Electrical Engineering

17 August
Open Day
Swinburne University of Technology Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies

20 August
ICT Grad Connect
Australian Computer Society - WA Branch
Novotel Langley Ballroom Adelaide Terrace, Perth

28 August
Go Girl - Go for IT
Victorian Women in ICT Network
Deakin University

28 October
I'm Informatics: Turning raw data into useful information
University of Melbourne, Department of Information Systems
Theatre 1, UniMelb ICT Building, 111 Barry Street, Carlton

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Education Delivery for the Information Disciplines

Professor David FenskeThe National Library of Australia has issued a general invitation to a free talk in Canberra on "New Models of Education Provision and Delivery for the Information Disciplines" by Professor David Fenske, Drexel University, 28 July 2008.

I have appended the details of the forum. Normally I would provide a link to the web site for the initiative, but in this case I could not find one. Given that this is supposed to be an open "conversation" among information professionals hosted by UNSW, it is odd that I could not find details of it at the UNSW web site, or anywhere else.

New Models of Education Provision and Delivery for the Information Disciplines

Monday, 28 July 2008 at 11.00am

National Library of Australia Theatre

Professor David Fenske is the Isaac L. Auerbach Professor and Dean, The iSchool at Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University, Philadelphia

Professor Fenske is visiting Australia to provide the keynote address at the I-Forum 3, a collaborative or open “conversation” among information professionals, educators and practitioners hosted by the University of New South Wales.

The I-Forums have been established to address a number of issues such as:
  • Productivity and innovation in the Information Sector is hampered by less than optimal educational offerings in many locations.
  • Divided efforts in many institutions with insufficient critical mass of researchers and educators means that Australia is not getting the best innovative minds to
  • converge on problems that could affect Australia’s economic capability;
  • Volatility in student enrolments and student retention patterns;
  • Current administrative arrangements inhibit cross-disciplinary fertilization of ideas across all information fields;
  • Rapidly changing industry requirements.
Professor Fenske will describe the route taken in some universities in the United States to resolve some of the problems identified above. In describing the experience of establishing the iSchool strategy, he will challenge us to to look at Australian education for information from the outside, unfettered by the confines of our everyday work or institutional affiliations.

You do not need to register for this event.

Please feel free to pass this notice on to other colleagues/divisions/organisations you think might be interested.

Dale Forrest | Assistant to Jan Fullerton, Director-General | National Library of Australia | Canberra ACT 2600

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Friday, June 27, 2008

ICT Education in Malaysia

While I did not set out to do a formal study of ICT education on my trip to Malaysia, Greece and Turkey, I noticed a few things on the way.


My visit to coincided with the 24th Malaysian Education Fair 2008. The Straights Times newspaper included a sixteen page supplement for the fair. ICT and computer science featured, after business, medicine and engineering, in prominence. Australian universities compete for students in Malaysia, with universities from the UK and the USA. The Australian institution featuring prominently is Curtin Unviersity (Engineering), which has a Sarawak Campus. RMIT University
has courses in association with Metropolitan College, for business with some ICT components (also with Curtin).

The Malaysian market is very competitive for students, and Malaysian institutions may have associations with multiple overseas universities. As an example
Sunway University College, offer a Victoria University programm, but also have a Memorandum of Agreement with Lancaster University, England, and students can also complete their course at Western Michigan University, USA.

Some Malysian institutions claim exclusive arrangements with Australian institutions, such as HELP University College and The University of Queensland for ICT.

Some of the claims made by Malysian instituions for collobroation can be somewhat tenuous. As an exmaple, the the Institute Of Leadership & Quality Management announced it "...has taken the first step to visit one of the best universities in Australia, The Australian National University ...", with one of their staff mentioning "cooperate and joint-venture". In fact this seems to be just a decision by someone at ILQAM to visit the ANU, with no endorsement or agreement from ANU.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sustainable IT Courseware

The Natural Edge Project (TNEP) is developing a series of lectures on 'Sustainable Information Technology Solutions' which will be available online, under a Creative Commons license. Academics interested in IT education are invited to contribute content and review the material.

Also they are looking for people to pilot the content semester 2 of 2008. Hewlett Packard Australia have offered technical staff to deliver a free guest lecture, as part of the course (HP are funding the development of the course).

TNEP sent me an invitation, as I reviewed their previously produced Energy Transformed online textbook (supported by CSIRO).
'Sustainable Information Technology Solutions' - Lecture Series Overview

The content for 'Sustainable IT Solutions' will be a freely available, open-source resource, available on The Natural Edge Project (TNEP) website with due acknowledgement to partners and reviewers. It will follow a similar format to existing education modules (see the 'Curriculum and Course Notes' drop down on the TNEP Home Page).

For each lecture this includes an educational aim, a bullet-pointed set of learning notes, followed by a fully referenced 'brief background information' reading, and optional additional references for further learning or assignments. Each lecture will comprise 1-2 hours of content, depending on factors such as the level of prior student learning in the area, whether the students are undergraduate or postgraduate, and the type of learning environment used (e.g. tutorial style or powerpoint style).

The 5 lecturers will address the following content:

- Lecture 1: Drivers and Benefits of 'Sustainable IT Solutions'
This lecture outlines key drivers and benefits of Sustainable IT Solutions, particularly for the customer, across business, economic, environmental and legislative domains.

- Lecture 2: Product Service Systems and the Product Cycle
This lecture discusses product service systems, barriers and lessons from past implementations. It also presents opportunities to reduce energy and materials consumption in packaging and through end-of-life processing.

- Lecture 3: Client Equipment
This lecture overviews a 4-step process for reducing energy consumption, materials consumption and materials toxicity in client equipment.

- Lecture 4: Data Centres and HP Case Study
This lecture outlines a 7-step process to reducing energy consumption in data centres. It presents a Sustainable IT Solutions case study of IT vendor Hewlett Packard.

- Lecture 5: Roadmap and Success of 'Sustainable It Solutions'
This lecture discusses the strategies, activities and actions which customers and vendors should focus on, to successfully transition to, maintain and promote their sustainable IT solutions at the organisation and industry level.

Peter Stasinopoulos B.E. (Mechatronics), B.Ma&CompSci
Senior Support Officer and Associate Director
The Natural Edge Project
(Hosted in-kind by Griffith University and ANU)

Office: +61 (0)7 3735 5062
See also:

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

ICT industry to benefit from new Curtin alliance

Last week I visited Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia. The Curtin Business School is offering credit for postgraduate courses for people who have done ACS's Computer Professional Education Program:

A new alliance between Curtin University of Technology and the Australian Computer Society (ACS) will provide students with a clear pathway to leverage their postgraduate studies at Curtin’s School of Information Systems.

The Articulation Agreement enables ACS students who have completed its Computer Professional Education (CPE) Program to transfer to Curtin and attain an internationally recognised Masters or Postgraduate Degree by gaining credit for the subjects they have completed through ACS.

Curtin is the first Western Australian university to offer this pathway, joining an exclusive group of only four universities in Australia to sign this agreement with the ACS.

Head of the School of Information Systems, Dr Vanessa Chang said that she welcomes the alliance with ACS and says it will go a long way to further develop the ICT industry in Western Australia.

“The ACS and the School of Information Systems both work towards the same goals; the education and professional development of ICT professionals, and more broadly the development of the ICT industry in Australia,” Dr Chang said.

“ACS membership requires high qualification and experience standards. This Articulation Agreement therefore ensures students of exceptional ability which is crucial as it allows the School of Information Systems to continue delivering degree programs at a very high level.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor of Curtin Business School, Professor Duncan Bentley said that this agreement is important for both Curtin and the ACS.

“The agreement is a mechanism for promoting and encouraging life-long learning which will help meet the increasing demand for highly skilled professionals in the ICT industry over the long term,” Professor Bentley said.

The Professional Development Director of the ACS, Mr Tom Worthington, travelled to Perth to formally announce and sign the Articulation Agreement at an event held recently at Curtin’s Bentley campus and to consult Curtin staff on new ICT initiatives in green ICT.

“This agreement will provide a direct link between the ACS CPE Program and Curtin degree programs. The ACS is committed to providing our local and overseas students with the best possible educational experience and this new partnership will offer postgraduate students more flexibility and choice,” Mr Worthington said.

“The ACS courses are particularly appealing to students in India and China, and this new alliance will provide them with the option to leverage their studies at Curtin.”

The ACS is the recognised association for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) professionals and is the public voice of the ICT profession and the guardian of professional ethics and standards in the ICT industry.

For more information on the Articulation Agreement please visit or call Karen Clarke on 08 9266 4489 or email her at

Note to Editor: Photographs are available on request

Contacts: Monique Billstein; Public Relations; Curtin; 08 9266 3353; 0401 103 018;

ICT industry to benefit from new Curtin alliance, Media Release, C116/08, Curtin University of Technology, 21 April 2008

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Postgraduate education for IS and IT professionals

Greetings from the learning center of the library at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia. Curtin Business School is one of those offering credit towards a postgraduate course for people who have done ACS's Computer Professional Education Program. So while in Perth I dropped in to visit the business school and meet Professor Duncan Bentley, Pro Vice Chancellor.

We had a photo taken with the PVC passing me what I thought was a copy of the articulation agreement with ACS. The document had a shiny cover which would cause glare in the flash photo so I ripped the cover off. Only then was I told this was the actual agreement, not a copy. ;-)

Curtin University of Technology

The Master of Commerce (Information Systems) and Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (Information Systems) degrees are designed for IS and IT professionals who want to increase their knowledge and skills in the management and strategic application of information systems and ICTs in competitive, intelligent and global business environments.

The programs are flexible and allow students to choose from a broad range of subject areas, including strategic information systems, business IT management, knowledge management, programming, web services and architecture, database mining, problem solving, computer forensics, Internet security and cyberwarfare. The Master of Commerce also includes a significant supervised research project, which can be tailored to suit each individual student’s interests.

Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (Information Systems) 200 credits (100 ACS)
Master of Commerce (Information Systems) 400 credits (100 ACS)

From: Articulation, Computer Professional Education Program, Australian Computer Society, 2008

By the way Curtin is taking a similar approach to computer equipped flexible learning centers as other Australian universities. The library has clustered workstations, with provision for several students to share one workstation. But with an emphasis on group work the noise level is higher than desirable and the architect needs to be brought back to plan some more noise control. There are also stand up casual stations and some glass walled rooms for group instruction.

The business school is about to start construction of some new dedicated rooms, similar to designs at University of Queensland.

There is also interest in green issues, with the Green Library Blog.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Qualifications for ICT Professionals

The New Zealand Government's Wintec - Business Development Unit has issued a request for Information for an "ICT Qualifications Steering Group":
This proposal originated from a Growth & Innovation Pilot Initiative (GIPI) led by the Institution of Professional Engineers in New Zealand (IPENZ) and Massey University, funded through the Tertiary Education Commission.

The GIPI addressed the issue of "Developing Well-qualified Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Professionals" and resulted in the issuing of two reports: a Research Report and Project Proposal which were published in August 2007 (reports can be found at:

The research project identified the issues facing professionals working in the ICT industry without a degree qualification and the resulting Project Proposal set out a programme of work aimed at enhancing the recruitment and retention of top-class people as ICT professionals in New Zealand.

An ICT Qualifications Steering group has been established to progress the Project Proposal. The Steering Group’s first priority, through this RFI process, is to identify a suitable lead organisation capable of overseeing the development and taking ownership of it.

The first objective for the lead organisation has been identified as being to develop an ICT Competency Framework that will form the basis for the development of a quality mark for ICT professionals. This Framework could also underpin the development of a professional accreditation process. Subsequent aspects of the Programme are the development of a resource centre, advisory council and marketing programme.

It is intended that, where ever possible, existing courses, projects and initiatives will be mapped into the Programme, creating a collaborative as opposed to competitive working environment. ...

From: ICT Qualifications Steering Group", Request for Information, GETS Reference: 21492, Wintec - Business Development Unit, The New Zealand Government, 2008

A Steering Group has been formed to provide oversight and governance to the delivery of the Project Proposal. It is comprised of representatives from:
• HiGrowth Project
• Ministry of Education
• NZ Qualifications Authority
• ITP New Zealand
• Department of Labour
• NZ Computer Society

And will also include representation from Universities, Career Services and Ministry of Economic Development.

The Steering Group's first priority is to identify a suitable Lead Organisation to host the Project, after which the Steering Group will assist the Lead Organisation with funding requests and other matters to assist the Lead Organisation to deliver on the project. The role of the Steering Group will be kept under review as the programme becomes established and the focus shifts to implementation through the lead provider.

As outlined in the Proposal document:

" A suitable home will need to be found for this programme. It is likely that there is an existing national body in a position to give governance, infrastructure and administrative support to its delivery. Care has been taken to avoid stating possible options as an open and contestable process should be entered into. In providing a home for the Programme it is envisaged that its physical infrastructure needs i.e. office space, phones etc - would be provided by the Lead Organisation."
This is not envisaged as being an onerous undertaking.

The proposed programme can be separated into 4 parts:

ICT Competence Framework

A key deliverable of the programme will be the establishment of an internationally benchmarked Framework that would define the competencies expected of both competent practitioners and ICT Graduates and would form the basis for the development of a quality mark for ICT professionals.
It would encourage a national approach to the development of courses leading to the development of framework competencies (or Graduate Attributes) and could form the basis for a professional accreditation process, or provide a greater outcomes focus for existing academic accreditation processes.
Specialist technical courses, wherever possible, would be developed by expert providers and shared through a blended delivery model on a national basis. Qualifications could be gained in "bite sized" chunks with employers clearly able to recognise the skills and competencies gained by achieving each course. Industry experts would be engaged to assist with course delivery and a means of moderating their input also developed.

Resource Centre

An independent advisory resource to provide both online and over-the-phone expert advice to employers and employees on issues like assessing current skills, deciding which courses to take or provide, and supporting the introduction of training, scholarships, mentoring etc. The centre should support a comprehensive web-based resource including some form of register of courses that are aligned to the framework.

Advisory Council

Regional advisory councils with representation by stakeholders from education, industry, recruitment, careers advisors and appropriate government agencies. These councils to be established according to a best practice model based on existing advisory boards and feed into a national advisory council, which would meet annually and create future strategic direction for the programme.

Marketing programme

Promotion of ICT careers and qualifications and the ICT “brand” itself. The marketing initiatives should support raising the status of ICT careers and training with all stakeholders and include promotion of the programme itself. ...

On the basis of this project wishing to build on the existing environment, it is expected that the Lead Organisation will consider:

• The Digital Technologies Framework being developed for senior secondary schools
• The work being undertaken by the NZ Computer Society including its utilization of the SFIA Framework
• The NZQA technology qualifications framework (Levels 4-6)
• NACCQ qualifications
• Industry provider qualifications i.e. Microsoft and Cisco
• Courses provided by Polytechnics
• Courses provided by the relevant Industry Training Organisations and
• Any other relevant competencies, qualifications or frameworks the successful contractor may identify. ...

Research paper ... and the Project Proposal report ... paying particular attention as to how their Organisation could particularly support the initiatives and process outlined.

ICT QUALIFICATIONS STEERING GROUP, LEAD ORGANISATION, Request for Information, GETS Reference: 21492, Wintec - Business Development Unit, The New Zealand Government, 2008

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

ICT Graduate training, recruitment and technology

Lunch at the ACS Canberra Branch Conference was a noisy affair. In the foyer were several standards from conference sponsors. An unplanned theme of the sponsors seemed to be ICT education and graduate recruitment. One stands was the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) who are recruiting ICT graduates. A problem government agencies have is making potential staff aware of what hi tech opportunities they have. Another problem is the slightly bewildering acronyms and names of the agencies after the last election (for example "fahcsia" sounds like part of a building).

The ANU National Centre for Information Systems Research was looking for advnaced stidents to research business information systems and e-commerce. I teach the ANU students web design and (I teach their students Web Design and E-commerce Technology. But one research area I wasn't previously aware they were researching is Network-centric warfare.

Another sponsor was ACTEWAGL with their Canberra Technology City project. They are proposing to build some large environmentally efficient data centers.

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Digital Education Revolution

Part of the new Australian government's policy is to provide computers for school children. But there is more to the so called Digital Education Revolution of the part of the Australian Government Education Revolution policy. The plan is to spend $100 million by June 2008 and start planning for broadband connections. There is a mailing list for updates.

One billion dollars over four years is to be spent on
  1. National Secondary School Computer Fund: up to $1 million per school for ICT for secondary students in Years 9 – 12. While the priority is (including thin clients), the money can also be spent on data projectors, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras and other technology.
  2. Broadband connections to Australian schools: up to $100 million for high-speed fibre-to-the-school (FTTS)
  3. Online curriculum content development
  4. ICT Training for teachers
  5. Web portals for parents.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Articulation for online courses

One of my more pleasant duties is to oversee the Australian Computer Society's Computer Professional Education Program. This is an online course for people who already have a degree in ICT but need to know about business, project management and the like. One issue is that because the course is entirely done via the Internet, will anyone take it seriously? One way to get an indication of that is via Articulation: universities who give credit for the CPEP course. So far three Australian universities do this with their Graduate Diploma and Masters courses in IS/IT:

Australian Catholic University

The Master of Information Systems suite of courses seeks to provide a relevant, innovative program to address the need for Information Systems professionals to upgrade their qualifications. The pace of technological change demands the provision of short, flexible periods of education through which professionals can update and maintain their skills and receive thorough industry preparation. To this end, course content is designed to meet industry demands by combining standard and specialist units of advanced study. The course emphasises the development of software, systems and management skills in the context of contemporary organisational environments.

Students must meet normal course entry and English language requirements for acceptance into these courses.

Post Graduate Diploma of Information Systems40 credit points (of 80 in total)
Master of Information Systems40 credit points (of 120 in total)
Master of Information Systems (Advanced)40 credit points (of 160 in total)

Awards through Central Queensland University

Modern businesses require people who have a knowledge of people, technology and organisations. Learn about all three and position yourself for a rewarding and stimulating career.

The term “information systems” is used instead of computing to indicate that we are interested in the use of computer technology in business – not just the technology itself. Studies have shown that employers seek people with interpersonal and communications skills as well as computing skills.

Career opportunities for graduates in these programs can find employment as system analyst managers, software engineers, database administrators, EDP auditors, network administrators, end-user support professionals, consultants, company managers, public sector managers and education roles.

The graduate suite of programs are designed for individuals seeking to upgrade their knowledge and qualifications in information technology and information systems processes and management. With n this highly relevant framework, graduates are well prepared to contribute to future information and economic growth while enhancing their individual advancement opportunities.

Graduate Diploma of Information Systems Management6 subjects (ACS 3)
Master of Information Systems12 subjects (ACS 3)
Master of Information Technology 12 subjects (ACS 3)

Home page:

Articulation details:

Curtin University of Technology

The Master of Commerce (Information Systems) and Postgraduate Diploma in

Commerce (Information Systems) degrees are designed for IS and IT professionals who want to increase their knowledge and skills in the management and strategic application of information systems and ICTs in competitive, intelligent and global business environments.

The programs are flexible and allow students to choose from a broad range of subject areas, including strategic information systems, business IT management, knowledge management, programming, web services and architecture, database mining, problem solving, computer forensics, Internet security and cyberwarfare. The Master of Commerce also includes a significant supervised research project, which can be tailored to suit each individual student’s interests.

Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (Information Systems)200 credits (100 ACS)
Master of Commerce (Information Systems) 400 credits (100 ACS)

From: Articulation, ACS, 2008

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Turning a classroom into a flexible learning space

These are some suggestions for the conversion of rooms into a flexible learning center. The example is for the Department of Computer Science (DCS) at the Australian National University, but may be of interest to others.

Only the design of the physical layout is covered, and it is assumed the spaces will be used for traditional teaching, as well as computer aided blended learning and studio teaching. It is based on recent visits to USC, UQ, the MIT iCampus, and having delivered a course in the existing labs and at a remote location. Please note that these are suggestions only and do not necessarily represent the policy of the ANU.

Why Build a Flexible Space?

The initial reason to look at changing the DCS spaces is that the furniture is in need of replacement is some of the computer labs. There is also the opportunity to correct some deficiencies in the rooms and provide for more learning options. These include blended learning combining computer based and face to face instruction, mini-lectures (10 to 30 minutes), computer based tutorials, group working, student presentations, computer based assessment, remote presentations and remote group work.

The rooms are equipped with light gray laminate benches with steel legs. The benches have the look of a chemistry laboratory, which does not provide the right business office atmosphere for IT work. The legs of the benches are at the front, making it more difficult for a group of students to work together.

One deficiency in the design is that there are limited facilities provided for a presenter. There is an open space at the front of the room with a wall mounted projection screen and white board. An overhead projector on a trolley is provided. However, there is no desk, computer or lectern provided for the presenter and no provision for placing a projector to use with the screen.

The lab computers are placed facing the side walls of the room. As a result the students have to turn 90 degrees to be able to see the screen or presenter. Th were intended for computer based work, not presentation.

The rooms have some good points, such as a generous allocation of space per student (1200 x 900 mm of desk), wide walkways for instructor access (1800 mm) and garden views from full length windows along the back (and for the two end rooms, side windows as well).

Other Options

Students at the ANU learn in many ways, including lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions, exercises and assignments. Some of these activities have purpose built rooms associated with them, particularly lectures, tutorials and laboratories.

Computer based learning is now supplementing, and in some cases replacing, these spaces and the modes of learning they are used for. It is not clear which mode of learning will be most useful, and this will differ from subject to subject and for different students. Therefore spaces which can accommodate different techniques are needed. Rooms which can only be used for one learning style and with one type of elelctronic technology will have limited use.

With its iCampus project, MIT built an online facility for experiments and a matching TEAL rooms. These rooms hold 100 students at "cabaret" style round tables, with the instructor in the center presenting "in the round" and electronic screens on the walls. The students work in groups of three, sharing one computer.

The eZones at the Biological Sciences Library Building, University of Queensland (UQ) hold 11 to 20 students, each with a computer. The room is oriented on an axis, with two long curved benches running down the room and the presenter at one end, but electronic screens at each end.

Monash University’s School of Information Management & Systems used a room for 25 students for its Bauhaus studio style of teaching, with a center large table and semicircular desks on each side.

CIST Building

The ANU's Computer Science and Information Technology Building (CSIT) has the ground floor devoted to seminar rooms, computer labs and other teaching spaces. Included at one end of the ground floor is N101, which despite its name, is used for advanced computer science and CSIRO ICT seminars.

A central corridor runs down the middle of the building, with tutorial rooms on the southern side and computer labs on the northern side. Half way along on the southern side is an entrance and open plan area.

The central corridor is windowless for most of its length creating a claustrophobic atmosphere. There is limited space near the door for students to gather informally.

Information Technology Business Center

Using the approach suggested by Dr Kathy Lynch at the University of the Sunshine Coast, the ground floor of the building could be modeled along the lines of a high technology business of the type IT students would aspire to work for (or own). To achieve that look, the central entrance and open plan area could be remodeled as the entrance and reception area. This would provide a place for students to meet and to find out about activities. This area would be also used during breaks in evening courses when the refectory areas of the ANU may not be open.


One of the existing tutorial rooms next to the foyer, or the lab next to N101, would be remodeled as a cybercafe, with a kitchen, cafe tables and a bench seat around the wall with data points and power for laptops. This would be used for informal gatherings and for students wanting to work alone at the bench. It would also be used for breaks in courses and for drinks before or after public seminars. The existing drink and snack dispensing machines in the corridor would be moved to the cafe.

Tutorial rooms

The existing tutorial rooms would be retained in their current configuration. Consideration could be given to installing glass partitioning in the walls, or larger glass panels in the doors, to make the corridor more open to the outside. Flat panel screens could be installed for presentations in rooms using notebook computers.

Consideration could be given to building a thin client computer into the flat panel screen for presentations. This would run Linux applications locally and Micrsosoft Windows applications via a remote server.

Computer Labs

The computer labs would be remodeled with new curved benches, similar to the eZones in the Biological Sciences Library Building, University of Queensland. These would be long benches joined to the wall at one end (for data and power access) and curving out into the room. Students would sit on one side of the benches where the are against the wall and both sides otherwise. The end of one bench would hold the instructor's console, with an equipment cabinet underneath.

The seating would be arranged to allow students to see the end of the room with the instructor. A projection screen and white board (with optional interactive white board capture device, Interactive whiteboard, and/or air mouse) would be located on the wall behind the instructor. A smaller flat panel screen, showing the same image as the main screen, would be located on the opposite, and/or side walls, to enable the instructor to see the presentation and for any students who have difficulty seeing the front of the room. This would also allow the instructor to see what is presented without looking back at the main screen or down at their computer.

Open area desks at UNSW LAW Faculty PHOTOGRAPHY JOHN GOLLINGSThe desks would have wave, or sawtooth front, similar to those in the UNSW Law Library. The desks would vary in depth from 300 mm at the narrowest part to 800 mm at the widest. One student would sit in each trough of the wave, between two crests. The student would sit at 45 degrees to the wall (as in some business class aircraft seating). They would be able to look directly at their computer screen and, by looking 45 degrees to one side, see the instructor and white board. Each student would have 1200 mm width of desk space.

The desks would be supported from the back, with no legs at the front, allowing seating to be placed at any point. Cables would be carried in cable ways, under the desk at the back, with holes in the desktop for cable access. Under desk power points and shelves would be provided to hold cables, power supplies and communications devices.

Desks in the middle of the room would have students on each side, with the cantilever legs and cable-ways underneath in the middle. The desk surface would be shaped like a sting of pearls, with the crests of two waves coinciding. The top surface of the desk would be flat and unencumbered (apart from desktop computers), allowing the wide sections to be used in a similar way to circular tables for group work, with six students collaborating around each section.

Floor space allocation

Students in the current DCS labs have a combined desk and floor space of 1200 x 1800 mm, or 2.16 square metres each. Changing to curved desks would make them effectively less deep, reducing the floor space used to approximately 2 square metres per student.

The University of Melbourne guidelines recommend 2 square metres per student for a "Cabaret-Style" Collaborative Learning room. This is less than the 2.38 sq m per student for the MIT TEAL room and half the 1 sq m per student UoM specify for a lecture theater (1.5 sq m for a tutorial).

An ANU course, such as "Information Technology in Electronic Commerce " (COMP3410), has 31 hours of lectures and 14 hours of tutorial/laboratory sessions. Assuming the recommended UoM floor areas are used, this would require an average of 1.16 sq m per student per hour, less than half that of the MIT TEAL room. The refitted DCS labs with more space efficient than TEAL rooms, but much less than lecture theaters.

Example of N111

The DCS computer labs are each a slightly different size with doors, windows and columns in different locations. However, a typical room is 9,000 mm deep by 71050 mm wide, with a 600 to 1200 mm section of one corner of the room taken up with the doorway and widows at the far end and, in some cases, one side of the room.

Using N111 as an example: 9,000 x 9080 mm with a 600 mm cut-in for the door along one side, making an effective space of 9,000 x 8,480 mm. This would allow for four rows of six student places and two rows of five (minus one where the is a pillar), making thirty two student places, plus a presenter desk.

Modes of Learning

The labs would be used for:

1. Individual computer, desk work: One student would occupy each computer place.

2. Small group work: Groups of two or three students would cluster around each wave crest, sharing one computer.

3. Large group work: Groups of six students would cluster around the crests of two opposite waves of the center tables, sharing two computers.

4. Mini lecture/tutorial/presentation: Students would occupy each computer place and watch an instructor, or student group presentations on the white board or electronic screen. A terminal window would allow them to view the presentation on their own screen and they would be able to use the computer for exercises.

5. Remote presentation: Individual, small or large groups of students would watch a remote presentation on the large screen and their own computers. Cameras, microphones and Interactive white board capture devices in the room would allow the whiteboard, instructor and students to be seen and heard remotely.

The instructor's bench at the front of the room would be equipped with the same facilities as ANU lecture theaters, including a microphone and controls for recording lectures, and a computer.

The students would have standard personal computers, or thin client workstations, equipped for Linux and (optionally Microsoft Windows) applications.

What Not to Do

Freestanding tables: industrial mat sideIndividual circular tables, of the style of the iCampus TEAL room world require either underfloor cabling or conduits from the ceiling for data and power connections. Underfloor cabling would require either a false floor or drilling of the concrete. Interlocking flooring is an option, but is not proven in a learning environment. Overhead cable would require poles which would block vision. In any case, the freestanding desks would be fixed in place by the cabling and would not have the flexibility they first appear to have.

Open Plan: As show in Architecture Australia (Sep/Oct 07) on design of schools. and designs for Victorian Schools, there is a trend to use open plan for flexible learning. This has areas with different levels of formality separated only by partial height screens. However, Dr Lynch empathized the need to control noise and provide a sense of ownership of the space by the students. Noise control and privacy are difficult to achieve in a completely open plan space. Full height walls with doors are preferable. Doors and walls can have glass windows.

High tech gadgets: In his talk on the MIT TEAL room, Philip Long talked about the use of old fashioned chalk boards, as well as computers. It is suggested that the one instructor's station be equipped with the same controls to allow for presentations using the video projection screen from a computer and the same Digital Lecture Delivery system as in ANU lecture theaters. There should also be provision for a document camera, and/or overhead projector. However, the room should be able to function without any elelctronic gadgets.

Microsoft Windows: The Department of Computer Science predominantly uses Linux software. It is suggested that Microsoft Windows be accommodated using a remote server running the windows applications, with the user interactively via a terminal window on the Linus desktop. This will make maintenance easier and also will be useful experience for the IT students, as Microsoft Windows is likely to be phased out from the desktop by business and governments from 2008 onwards.

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