BSc (Hons) Computing from the University of Wales, UK

The Imperial Institute of Higher Education (IIHE) was established in 1996, with the objective of providing quality private university education to discerning students in Sri Lanka. The University of Wales is the 2nd largest university in UK. The relationship between IIHE and UoW is the longest standing in Sri Lanka between a private institute and a world renowned university. This relationship is testament to the quality standards maintained at IIHE. To date IIHE takes pride in being able to achieve these benchmarks set 13 years ago.

What made you develop a special computer degree for the Sri Lankan market?

The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka did a study in 2007 that showed that the demand for IT graduates in Sri Lanka is over 7000 a year and the numbers being produced are insufficient. After studying the requirements, we put in two years of work in preparing this degree. Together with senior academics from the Sri Lankan university system and respected leaders from the Sri Lankan software industry, we developed the study programme which was then validated by the University of Wales. The needs of this industry in the country were specifically considered in addition to the requirements of the global software industry. We believe after successfully completing the degree our graduates will be immediately employable.

How can you ensure that students can succeed professionally?

Our academic programme is reviewed every three to five years to make it both responsive and proactive in following UK standards. 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 other online material such as virtual learning environments, course management systems etc. As the student progresses the emphasis shifts from lectures to guided reading, learner-centered 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 demonstrating deep understanding of theories and concepts, research capability, and the application of theoretical knowledge to real-world computing problems. Right through 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 comprehension, skills and the capabilities expected. Assessment brings in the element of seeing whether the student reaches the specified outcomes, thus, providing learning environment and support. But of course whether the student excels or not is in his or her hands.

Can the degree be completed faster?

We do not offer short cuts. This is a fully-fledged 4-year sandwich degree, the sandwich element being the 3rd year is spent in industrial placement. The 3rd year is a planned opportunity to consolidate and complement academic learning through a continuous period of supervised work experience. We believe the 3 years of study in a university environment, and the placement year in the industry combines to help obtain an internal degree that will be an investment of a lifetime.

How do you plan to cater to the diverse needs of the Computing sector?

Our BSc (Hons) in computing aims to provide students with a thorough grounding in computer science with emphasis on software engineering as it is a requirement to enter the IT industry in Sri Lanka as a Software Engineer. The programme also includes a small set of subjects related to business and management as it is within such an environment that we expect our students to work. In addition to 'Software engineering', the study programme hopes to branch out into other specializations such as networks, web technologies, multimedia systems, information systems and information systems management. 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.

Is your degree accessible?

We believe there are thousands of capable and motivated young people in Sri Lanka who may not have the resources to follow a degree in IT. This is why we would like to assist such students who also do not have an opportunity to enter a national university, with a scholarship to enable them to become leaders in the IT field.

Q&A with the Senior Lecturer Charles Fernando the Course Director of the BSc Computing programme at IIHE

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