Computer Science News
Outstanding MSc students
The department would like to congratulate our 2021-2022 MSc students on their end-of-year results. Additional congratulations go to the following outstanding students, who have been awarded academic prizes:
The department's new Student Experience staff team
Making sure that our students have a high-quality experience in the department will be a top priority for Dr Sara Kalvala, Dr Ramanujan Sridharan and Adam Alcock. They will work with our students, the department's academic and professional services staff, and colleagues in the wider university to address issues, make improvements, and develop initiatives that will improve students' satisfaction and benefit their future careers.
Welcome to our new students who have joined us this week!
We welcome our new students who have joined the department this week and congratulate them for their excellent results prior to coming here! For the first time ever, they are joining us for a Welcome Week before lectures start next week. We are excited to have so many outstanding new students and are looking forward to seeing them become excellent Computer Scientists in the coming years!
Department of Computer Science Launches MOOC to Support Computing Teachers
The Deparment of Computer Science has launched a free online Computer Sciences course to assist teachers delivering new computing curricula. The MOOC – a Massively Open Online Course – will allow teachers to support the ongoing drive to enable school children to be active creators of computing technology rather than passive users of technology.
The course has received funding from Google and is aimed at teachers working with UK Key stages three and four. Building on material developed through Warwick’s existing work with school teachers across the UK, the MOOC will cover fundamental computing concepts and computational thinking, the Python programming language as well as the development of teaching resources.
As well as independent study, the MOOC will offer a community forum to share experiences and resources and expert real-time support on the course content.
Further information on how the Department of Computer Science is engaging with UK schools, including details of the new MOOC, can be found at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/dcs/schools/.
A-Level Results 2013 - Congratulations to our New Students
We would like to congratulate our new intake of students on their outstanding exam results. The grade average for our undergraduate intake has been rising consistently in recent years, and we are delighted to report that this year looks to be one of our best.
Warwick has an excellent reputation for attracting top-quality Computer Science students. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why we enjoy excellent statistics for graduate recruitment.
BSc Data Science course announced
Our new 3-year Data Science degree is launched this week at the Warwick undergraduate open days. This unique course aims to meet the rapidly growing demand, from students and employers alike, for a systematic, flexible combination of high-level learning and experience in both Computer Science and Statistics.
The first cohort of students will start in 2014. The course structure includes the option of an intercalated year, a year spent away from Warwick (either in industry or at an overseas partner university) to gain valuable experience before the final year of the degree.
The Head of Statistics, Professor David Firth, says: "We, together with the Department of Computer Science, are pleased to be leading the way with this new initiative at the undergraduate level. But really this is overdue: the demand from employers for well-qualified data scientists is insatiable already, and looks set to be huge for years to come. Our aim is to provide the very best course of its kind anywhere in the world".
This exciting new course will appear on the UCAS system shortly, in good time for the 2013-14 admissions season.
Historic Steps for Computing in Schools
Step No.1 :
The speech by Michael Gove last Wednesday was probably the first time that a Minister for Education in the UK Government has acknowledged in reference to schools that, "Computer Science is a rigorous, fascinating and intellectually challenging subject". See
He said, "we're encouraging rigorous Computer Science courses [in schools] .. . we will certainly consider including Computer Science as an option in the English Baccalaureate". He recognised the current ICT curriculum as a "roadblock" and announced a plan to withdraw the Programme of Study for ICT and allow schools the freedom to teach the subject as they wish.
The speech was not 'anti-ICT', as some have suggested, though it was ambiguous in that regard. Quite clear was the determination urgently to move ahead with new high quality Computer Science GCSEs and A-levels, and to focus on training teachers to support and deliver such courses. We hope this new direction marks a significant turning point in Computer Science education in the UK. It is long overdue but very welcome.
At Warwick we believe the universities have an important role in supporting such developments. We should like to hear from teachers, teacher trainers, and Examination Boards as to what provision would be most useful in the short and medium term. We have a variety of resources to offer but need to collaborate with others for well-focussed planning and delivery. We have already been planning some one-day training sessions in March and April aimed at supporting teachers of the more technical A-Levels in Computing. Details of these courses will appear here. Please send suggestions for such courses, or offers of collaboration or assistance to firstname.lastname@example.org
Step No.2 :
On Friday last week was published the long-awaited Royal Society Commissioned Report on Computing in UK Schools.
On any reckoning this 120pp Report must be regarded as an historic landmark in charting the complex development of computing education in schools over the past several decades and making 11 key recommendations for the future. The Report is clear and clarifying, comprehensive and yet urgent. It is essential reading for anyone interested in computer education in schools and in Higher Education.
The Computer Science community, and indeed the country, owes a considerable debt to Professor Steve Furber and his Advisory Board for an impressive and compelling compilation of evidence and argument. A powerful case is presented for the delivery in schools of computing education in three overlapping, but distinguishable, levels of digital literacy, Information Technology and Computer Science. The educational case for Computer Science (see Section 3.2.2) has not before been presented so cogently.
As in Michael Gove's speech, there is considerable emphasis in the Royal Society Report on the necessity of further Continuing Professional Development for teachers. But it is in this area that we at Warwick feel the need to complement the Recommendation 3 (p.9), "Government .... should seek support from business and industry to make that provision [for subject-specific CPD for Computing teachers]". We believe there is a social, scientific, and pragmatic responsibility for universities also to offer technical and academic support for such CPD provision for teachers. We intend to be practising what we preach in this respect - hopefully in co-operation with other Midlands Universities - in the coming months.
Dr Steve Russ (homepage)
Admissions Tutor and Associate Professor in Computer Science