Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Developing the Future (and why I started blogging)

One of the highlights of my year and a major reason for sparking my interest in how higher education interacts with the IT industry is my work contributing to the Developing the Future 2007 (DtF 2007) report that was published in May on behalf of City University jointly with Microsoft, the BCS and Intellect.

DtF 2007 (and the previous 2006 report) covered a lot of issues relevant to how universities interact with the IT industry. Both reports for example drew attention to the crisis in recruiting computing students. Some of the issues I'll be blogging about will be based on background research that I did for DtF that did not get used in the report (or at least not in full).

I'm blogging because I think these issues are important, and writing about them should help me get some of my nascent ideas straight. Also, not all the coverage out there is what I would call 'evidence based'. Some is definitely written with an agenda or from prejudice. I'd like to respond to that with evidence - a lot is there if you wish to look.

Not all of the posts will be expansions of DtF 2007 - I also aim to respond to the discussions in the media! That said, both reports do cover issues I'm interested in. Those new to issues around the IT industry, skills, innovation and education would be well advised to read them.

Both reports are also very timely in regards to government policy. The UK government is very strongly drawn to the idea that their intervention in 'skills' will have a clear economic impact. And if you think that skills will not be a big policy issue, then think again. The Leitch report on skills was driven by the treasury - the chancellor is now the Prime Minister - you do the math!

Of course, not everyone thinks that this will work - Alison Wolf is a notable example in her book 'Does Education Matter?'. That said, few would dispute that the state can make things harder, so its (in)actions are not without consequence. The truth as always somewhere in the middle - 'where' being the key question But more on that for later posts.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Getting Started...

Over the coming months I'll be writing down my thoughts on the IT industry and computing in Higher Education. The two are intimately connected, but not in the way one would immediately think. I have quite an interest in these questions - so watch this space.