Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Novosibirsk State University's Multi-Level Professional Training in Computer Science

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Novosibirsk State University's Multi-Level Professional Training in Computer Science

Article excerpt

There are already many approaches to training specialists in computer science. The world's experience is extremely diverse and interesting, and a number of summary works exist in this field, such as Computing Curricula 1991, a report by the ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Curriculum Task Force.[1] However, new working conditions and countries' historical experiences continually create newer approaches for preparing specialists.

One new approach is a system of training used by the Novosibirsk State University's College of Informatics (NSUCI).[2] The work being carried out by this college is original and perhaps of interest to specialists in computer science education.

* The Multi-level System, in Brief

In this system, studies begin at the age of 15, two years before students complete their secondary education. The levels are: * 0 Level: two years of study, analogous to regular secondary school but on a deeper level. * 1st Level: two years of post-secondary (university) education and mid-level professional education. (Russia's mid-level professional education is comparable to a two/three-year U.S. education in a narrow field where the student does not intend to continue his or her education at the university level.) * 2nd Level: four years of university education (bachelor's degree). * 3rd Level: six years of university education (master's degree). *Subsequent: post-graduate work.

Distinctive features of this model are: * Students begin their studies two years earlier than normal, so it is possible to include students in the university's training system and to remove them from the standard high school at an earlier age. * The first two years of university study are arranged so that upon their completion students are also able to receive a mid-level professional education. * Continued studies are oriented towards education of the scientifically elite at NSU.

While this system of education took shape due to a series of specific historical circumstances, it has one indisputable advantage: Students begin to study according to university standards two years earlier than usual.

0 Level and 1st Level education take place at Novosibirsk State University College of Informatics (NSUCI). Subsequent levels take place in NSU's Mechanics-Mathematics Dept. NSUCI is perhaps the only educational institution in Russia that prepares specialists in the field of computer science on various levels - secondary and university-simultaneously. Such conditions, and NSU's accumulated experience in computer science education, have led to this original system of professional training.

* System of Professional Training

Specific distinctive features of NSUCI'S professional education carried out within this multi-level framework are:

* Uninterrupted training in computer science throughout the entire education process;

* Students receive a professional qualification upon completion of the 1st level of study;

* Combining theoretical and practical study (study of general principles using concrete examples);

* Active use of what is studied as students carry out professional projects;

* Close ties to the scientific community.

Of course, within this process, the fundamentals of a university education are retained.

Students' projects are a very important part of this professional training. Projects entail the solving of professional tasks (developing programs, creating databases, etc.). At first students solve simple problems corresponding to their level of study. Projects then get increasingly more complex, up to and including professional work solving real-world problems.

At NSUCI students begin working on projects on their very first day; this process continues throughout their entire study. In this system of education, it is assumed that beginning with the fourth year of study (second year at university level), students will be carrying out real-world research projects in their areas of specialization. …

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