The system of higher education in the U.K. is undergoing fundamental change. It is likely that the outcome will be one of much greater differentiation between universities. For this reason the University of Ulster has decided to recast the academic year into two semesters and an intensive summer session in place of the traditional three terms and a long vacation. This will enable the university to cater for the continuing high demand for university education by making better and more intensive use of physical resources. As part of this semesterization courses have been modularized so that students will now be examined at the end of each semester. Under a scheme for Credit Accumulation and Transfer the University is ensuring that such courses and modules will be accepted by other universities in the U.K. and Europe in the case of transferring students and by the same token we would recognize their qualifications. This scheme will greatly facilitate student exchange and mobility. This modular curriculum is likely to mean that a student should have a much wider choice of optional modules and the sharing of modules between courses departments and even institutions will become more widespread. It is very likely that the University is not maximizing the variety of its degree plans. An important consequence of modularization is that the basic process of constructing a degree course is uniform across faculties and we have attempted to design a computational tool for use throughout the university. The purpose of our system COMANTO--the COurse MANagement TOol--is to support a course designer in building new degrees from a database of modules which are related to one another and to courses and departments in complex ways. We have also incorporated an advisory facility into COMANTO where a student is allowed to manipulate the degree plans based on personal strengths and preferences.
|Journal||Computers & Education|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - Nov 1994|