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close this bookInformatics for Secondary Education - A Curriculum for Schools (ED/HEP - pii-iip - IFIP - UNESCO, 1994, 103 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction - Overall Aim and Justification
View the documentSection 1 - The Curriculum Format
View the documentSection 2 - Main Objectives of the Informatics Curriculum
View the documentSection 3 - The Curriculum Units
View the documentSection 4 - General Implementation Issues
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix 1 - Computer Literacy Units
View the documentAppendix 2 - Informatics in other Disciplines
View the documentAppendix 3 - General Advanced Level Units
View the documentAppendix 4 - Vocational Advanced Level Units
View the documentAppendix 5 - Bibliography

Appendix 4 - Vocational Advanced Level Units

This Advanced Level Module is specified for secondary schools which have the necessary hardware and software, as well as trained teachers able to deliver the units.

Ideally, courses should be built up from Units VA1-3 in consultation with universities and tertiary institutions so that advanced credit can be obtained towards a tertiary computer science course.

Objectives

Students should be able to:

1. methodically plan, design, realise and implement relatively simple application systems with the aid of problem oriented tools;

2. identify problems involved in project management.

Instead of studying Units VAN, VA2 and VA3 in sequence, Unit VA3 may be used to provide a realistic context within which the objectives of Units VAN and VA2 can be met.


Different countries will be at different phases of development Communication Phase (pages 7, 18, 19)

Vocational Advanced Module

UNIT VA1 - BUSINESS INFORMATION SYSTEMS

This unit assumes basic competence in the use of computer systems and programming skills as developed in Units Pa and P2.

Overall Objective of the Unit

Students should be able methodically to plan, design, realise and implement relatively simple information systems with the aid of problem oriented tools.

1. INFORMATION PLANNING

Objective

Students should be able to use formal methods of data flow analysis to identify requirements for an existing information system.

Context

Students should be able to relate programming to the real world, and especially the world in which they are likely to find employment. The relevance of the material will enhance the value of the course and make it more interesting for both student and teacher.

Content

Students will analyse a simple case study of, for example, a ware house or an accounting office which is described in such a way as to provide the necessary information. The case study will be so constructed that no advanced use of techniques is required. The techniques used will be based on diagrams.

Students will work in groups using different methods to collect data such as interviews and questionnaires. The forms and other documents used in the case-study organisation will be analysed as sources of accurate information.

The following student activities are part of Information Planning phase of the unit:

a) sketch the data flow within a given organisation
b) quantify the volume of data flowing in the organisation;
c) assess the speed of data flow within the organisation;
d) specify a relational data model;
e) identify functions to be provided to employees by the Formation system.

2. DESIGN

Objective

Students will be able to develop a design of a simple database and a limited number of associated functions for data entry, data retrieval, data updating and data presentation.

Context

The case study should only require a few functions to be specified and the required human-computer interface will be of a simple, standard form. The teacher could play the collective role of the users.

Content

In designing a database students will need to be accurate by specifying the overall structure and the specific details for the variables in relation to the data to be used. It will be necessary to review specifications with users to ensure that the specifications are comprehensive and appropriate.

The following student activities are part of the Design Phase of this unit: a) specify the structure of the database; b) specify sample data to be included in the database; c) specify the necessary functions and the human-computer interface; d) design a small program in terms of the database, the functions and the interface.

3. REALISATION

Objective

Students should be able to realise and test the designed program on a computer.

Context

Students will typically use a programmable database system like dBase or a structured, general purpose programming language with a comprehensive library of pre-programmed database functions.

Content

Before trial-running the program with test data, students will need to establish criteria to be used in the evaluation, testing of specifications and coding. Proper documentation will be necessary to enable students to trace the sources of errors.

The following student activities are part of the Realisation Phase of this unit:

a) transform the designed program into a real program;
b) specify testing criteria for the program;
c) trial-run the program with test data;
d) test and verify the coding;
e) identify problems areas and provide solutions.

4. IMPLEMENTATION INTO THE ORGANISATION

Objective

Students should develop a feeling for the problems associated with the implementation of an information system into an organisation.

Context

The different employee functions in the case-study organisation could be played by students. The teacher could supervise the role playing and help in identifying the problems.

Content

Students will have their design, and specifications of their program validated with respect to the real life situation. They will categorise the nature of the problems into classes: data model, specification, functions and interface. The teacher will bring their attention to the importance of documentation.

The following student activities are part of the Realisation Phase of this unit:

a) implement the information system into the role played organisation;
b) identify problems with the use of the system;
c) suggest practical solutions to these problems.

5. USE IN ORGANISATION

Objective

Students should be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the running of their program within the organisation.

Context

Students will run the system simulating the organisation involved. The technical skills of the students will be put to test by this life-like environment, thus providing students with an opportunity to evaluate their ability to identify the capabilities and limitations of their system.

Content

Using data specifications, students will evaluate the capabilities and limitations of their system. Software and hardware interface errors will have to be corrected, enhancing the design.

The following student activities are part of the Use in Organisation Phase of this unit:

a) monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of the system
b) evaluate the capabilities and limitations of the system to handle the activities in the organisation.

Resources

Documentation from previously developed systems should be made available to students. Although it is likely to be aimed at tertiary students, a relevant book on Systems Development would be helpful as background material.

A programmable database system like dBase or a structured, general purpose programming language with a comprehensive library of pre-programmed database functions should also be available to students.

Links

Working with a Database (C6); Database Design and Use (E1)

UNIT VA2 - PROCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS

This unit assumes basic competence in the use of computer systems and programming skills as developed in Units P1 and P2

Objective

Students should be able methodically to plan, design, realise and implement relatively simple process control systems with the aid of problem oriented tools.

1. PLANNING OF PROCESS CONTROL

Objective

Students should be able to identify requirements for technical systems which control or automate processes within some environment.

Context

Students will develop an awareness of the various functions of control systems needed to monitor technical systems within organisations. After that they will work on a case study connected with a simple process to control, such as a robot.

Content

The following student activities are part of the Planning Phase of this unit:

a) use existing control systems to monitor technical systems;
b) specify problems within a given technical environment;
c) identify the need for technical process control within the given environment;
d) identify the input and output data which are needed to control the system under consideration;
e) specify the functions needed to control the system under consideration.

2. SYSTEM DESIGN

Objective

Students should be able to design simple systems which control and monitor technical processes.

Context

In preparation for the world of employment, students should be able to analyse a simple case study connected with a simple device, such as a robot. They should also be able to design and enhance the technical operations of the control system.

Content

Using a case study, students will develop techniques to write a program to support an existing system for efficient operations. The case study will be limited to the use of simple sequential procedural algorithms.

The following student activities are part of the System Design Phase of this unit:

a) produce technical specifications of the procedures needed
b) design the procedures of the controlling system.

3. REALISATION

Objective

Students should be able to program the simple procedures for process control.

Context

Students should be able to translate the designed procedures into a program for a problem oriented programming environment (for example a language for robot control) or for a general purpose programming language with a comprehensive library of pre-programmed control procedures.

Content

The following student activities are part of the Realisation Phase of this unit:

a) realise small programs designed to support control operations;
b) specify testing criteria for the program;
c) trial-run the program for testing purposes;
d) test and verify the coding;
e) identify problems areas and provide solutions.

4. IMPLEMENTATION INTO THE ENVIRONMENT

Objective

Students should develop an appreciation for the problems associated with implementation of a control system into the (organisational or technical) environment.

Sub-objectives

Students should be able to: a) identify any technical problems associated with the implementation of the control system program; b) classify any problems relating to the software and hardware interfaces.

Context

Using a real life, case-study environment the students should be able to evaluate and validate the specification, design and coding of their program. For example, the controlled robot could be part of a production line. The operation of the production line can be simulated by the students.

Content

Students will have their design and specifications of their program validated with respect to a real life situation. They will categorise the nature of any problems into classes: data, specification, control functions and interface. The teacher will bring their attention to the importance of documentation.

The following student activities are part of the Implementation phase of this unit:

a) implement the controlled system into the role played environment;
b) identify problems with the use of the system;
c) suggest practical solutions to these problems.

UNIT VA3 - PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Objective

Students should be aware of the main variables which influence the progress and success of a project and are able to plan team activities within a given, but not too long, time frame.

Sub-objectives

Students should be able to:

1. identify the goals of a project, all the variables (social, political, financial, economic, cultural and human resources) which are likely to affect the implementation of the project;

2. plan team activities and use a simple graphical planning tool.

1. PLANNING PHASE OF A PROJECT

Objective

Students should be able to Identify the objectives of the project and have an appreciation of the variables which may affect successful implementation.

Context

Team work is essential in the modern information technology environment. Students should work on a project as a team in the Planning Phase (see also Units V.A..1 and V.A.2). It should be ensured that students understand and appreciate their respective roles as members of the team.

Content

The objectives and parameters of the project have to be defined to ensure that all the variables will be considered at the appropriate stages of the project. Students will be made aware that market research should be undertaken to ensure that decisions affecting the project will be based on quality information.

Sub-objectives

Students should be able to, as part of the planning process:

a) identify the objectives of the project to be implemented;
b) state the objectives in operational terms
c) identify the social, cultural, political, financial and human resources variables which may influence the project.

2. DESIGN PHASE AND REALISATION PHASE OFTHE PROJECT

Objective

Students should be able to plan team activities and use a simple graphical planning tool.

Context

In the real world, having the best plans means nothing if you cannot "sell" them within the organisation. Students should give a mock presentation of their project in their respective teams while another team evaluates, pointing out what they see as problems and asking the team presenting to justify their choices and strategies of the suggested way forward.

Content

The following student activities are part of the Design Phase and Realisation Phase:

a) identify all the essential output from the project;
b) quantify the output in terms of time, materials, financial and human resources
c) plan the application of resources with a simple graphical planning tool.

3. IMPLEMENTATION PHASE OF THE PROJECT

Objective

Students should be able to relate the quality of the outcome of a project to the planning and realisation phases, and to the monitoring of the project during these two phases.

Context

In the real world, we learn and make progress by analysing the good and the bad of every project; planning to re-utilise the good and avoid the bad in future. Students should discuss, under the directions of the teacher, how each of the identified variables has affected the implementation of the project and what should be done to minimise negative effects. Each team presents a comprehensive picture of what they propose should be done.

Content

The following student activities are part of the Implementation Phase:

a) collect data relevant to the quality of the implementation of the project;
b) identify the factors which have adversely influenced the project
c) suggest what could have been done to improve effectivity of the project.