Academic year ends – next years challenges?

We have had a busy year in the School of Computer Science this year. As well as securing BCS (British Computer Society) accreditation for our undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses, we have hosted a Microsoft Windows phone 7 ‘phone camp’, a 24 hour ‘Game Jam‘, and held numerous open days and applicant taster events.

The challenges for next year will  not only be to maintain these achievements and to further improve the student experience in the School of Computer Science, but also to adapt to the new fee structure within which our new students will be studying. Contrary to the popular media-supported belief, these students will not have to pay the course fees up front, but will start to pay them once they have graduated and are earning above a threshold of £21,000. Will this new intake of students coming to University under this new fee regime have different expectations and demands to our previous intakes? That is difficult to say. What is clear however, is that the course standards and requirements will not change – there may eventually be more transparency in how courses are administered and managed however. This is already the case with External Examiner reports for example, as they are considered public documents, as are QAA institutional review reports and other documents. The evidence is already showing that the application pattern has changed slightly this year, with students deciding on their final University choice later in the application cycle.

Research challenges are growing both in the School and across the University sector as the 2014 REF deadlines get ever closer. Research outputs and publications are high on everyones list of priorities. I will be in Berlin in July at EuroITV 2012 to present my latest paper “Who is on your Sofa?  TV Audience Communities and Second Screening Social Networks“. I presented a short paper at this conference last year in Lisbon and found the conference to be a fascinating mix of computer science, HCI, TV broadcasting and technology. I expect this years conference to be just as good as last year!

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