Some answers to typical questions as provided by the Course Director Mr. Charles Fernando Licencié, Diplomé, and Maître of the University of Louvain in Belgium.
There are so many Computing Degrees around. What is special about this Wales degree?
First of all, as explained elsewhere in the supplement the Degree is from a well recognized University. And secondly, much discussion and study was involved as it has been two years in preparation. Senior Academics from the Sri Lankan university system and respected leaders from the Sri Lankan software industry worked together to produce the study programme which was then validated by the University of Wales. The current needs of Sri Lanka were considered in addition to the requirements of the global software industry. We believe that upon graduation our graduates will be immediately employable.
Can one be sure that your students will reach that goal?
As in the UK, our academic programme is outcome-based and is reviewed every three to five years to make it both responsive and proactive. The Teaching and learning strategies are designed to combine lectures with the use of practicals, laboratory sessions and exercises, use of computer/web-based teaching/learning packages and of other online materials such as virtual learning environments, course management systems etc. As the student progresses the emphasis shifts from lectures to guided reading, learner-centred resource-based activities such as student-led tutorials and seminars, case studies, and especially problem-solving assignments/projects etc. related to the industry.
The dissertation undertaken in the final year is a special opportunity for independent learning and for demonstrating deep understanding of the theories and concepts, research capability, and the application of theoretical knowledge to a real-world computing problem from business / industry. Right through out the course and within each of the modules a mix of opportunities are provided for independent learning, creative and reflective thinking, debate, and discussion so as to help develop both depth and breadth as well as the skills and capabilities expected. Assessment bring in the element of seeing whether the student is reaching the specified outcomes. Thus providing a learning environment and support. Of course, whether the student excels or not is in his or her hands.
Why can't we finish the degree quicker?
We do not offer short cuts. We offer a full-fledged 4-year sandwich degree… the sandwich element being the 3rd year spent in industrial placement. The 3rd year is a planned opportunity to consolidate and complement their academic learning through a continuous period of supervised work experience. We believe that the 3 years of study in a university environment, and the placement year in industry all combine in helping one to obtain an internal degree that will be an investment for a lifetime.
Do you plan to cater to a diversity of needs in the Computing sector?
Our BSc (Hons) Computing aims to provide the students with an opportunity to gain a thorough grounding in computer science with a software engineering base given particularly the fact that to enter any stream in the IT industry in Sri Lanka, one needs to start as a Software Engineer. But the programme does include a small set of subjects related to Business and Management. As it is within such an environment, we expect our students to work. In addition to 'software engineering', as the study programme develops other specializations such as networks, web technologies, multimedia systems, information systems, and information systems management will be added. But for now we have decided to focus on what is essential as a solid base for a career in computing both nationally and globally.