Staffordshire University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 7542-7548
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0347
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
This paper discusses the challenge of integrating professionalism and professional issues into the design of an undergraduate Computer Science curriculum. Undergraduate curriculum design is increasingly a multi-stakeholder process with input from industry, current and future students, domain experts and academics. Courses also need to pass a viability test which requires financial and logistical planning, marketing input and forecasts of student numbers. For subjects where professional bodies have a regulatory role, such as medicine, professional standards are an integral part of the curriculum design. For subjects such as Computer Science, where professional bodies do not have a regulatory role, the status and contribution of professional standards to curriculum design is less clear. However, there is an industry expectation that students who complete an undergraduate computer science course will have an understanding of the professional issues in their domain and there is a requirement for university courses to ensure that students are fully equipped to work in their chosen profession. Many undergraduate Computer Science courses have accreditation from the relevant professional body.

Integrating professional issues into the Computer Science curriculum presents three key challenges. Firstly, there is a need to define what is meant by professional issues and whether this is separate to, or part of, the wider topic of professionalism. Secondly there is the pedagogic challenge of making professional issues accessible and relevant to undergraduates and developing the concept of professionalism. Thirdly, there is the design challenge of incorporating professionalism and professional issues into a changing curriculum.

In this paper we discuss the professional standards that apply to the design of Computer Science undergraduate courses. We argue that the complexity of the curriculum design process means that professionalism and professional issues must be explicitly identified as a key element in the curriculum to ensure that these components are not overlooked. We describe the process of embedding professionalism in the curriculum and the review process that will be used to monitor the effectiveness of the curriculum design.
Computer Science, Professionalism, Curriculum.