Raising the Economic Status of Pakistani Women

Raising the Economic Status of Pakistani Women

The women economic development in Pakistan has been quite ignored and over the years most of the programs/ interventions have been directed towards removing violence against women, women’s primary education and health care, women crisis centers and most recently a rigorous drive on political empowerment of women by giving them 20% representation in the National Assembly of Pakistan. Despite governmental commitment and donors efforts to reduce gender inequalities, nothing has been done with regards to developing proper women economic action plan to uplift women socio-economic status. On ad hoc basis, some common facility centers and vocational/technical training institutes to enhance female participation rate have been established which provide traditional skills. Also, to mobilize youth energy into economic sectors, government has launched internship programs and other incentive; yet its impact on the grass root level is not visible due to lack of information and knowledge to young females regarding these facilities. The result is that many girls become confined to their homes.

The question we have to answer for ourselves is whether we want to live with the existing situation or whether we want to bring a productive change in our society. Online earning is the most recent opportunity to bring this change. It provides a graceful solution to raise the economic as well as social status of Pakistani women. Also, foreign exchange earn through online earning can be integrated with the national economy. Above all, it will help us to transform the most suffocated population and wasted human resource of the country into a valuable asset.

Online earning is a new catch word. Success stories of multi-million dollar blogs and high profile brand partnerships on the Internet have created an impression that earning online is a monkey-eat banana business. If someone thinks so then he/she lives in a fools’ paradise. Earning online is as tedious as any other serious business and should be treated like so!  The diversity of options available to earn money online makes it a tedious task. No single solution can be offered as a silver bullet.  The truth is that different ways to make money online involve different sort of work and require different types of skills. The high-paying options require technical skills, which is why many people end up with lowest paying options and then conclude that it’s impossible to make money online for a decent living.

The entrepreneurial challenges of online earning require special skills, aptitude, passion, and commitment. New comers to this field need special training which prepares them to cope with these challenges.  Unfortunately, none of the Pakistani university or any other educational institutions offer such training.  Keeping in view the need of the time, following contents for an intensive training has been proposed. These contents can provide essential knowledge & skills required for online earning.

It would not be out of place to mention that the success of this training absolutely depends on resource persons. Conventional teachers who read books and deliver lectures will ruin the ethos of the training. Only resource persons who have practical experience of online earning can bring fruitful results.

Proposed Contents

  1. Essential knowledge of the Internet & WWW for online earning
  2. Introduction to Online Market & Niches: Bloging (hosted & owned);YouTube , Tweeter, Facebook, Google Adsense; Search Engine Optimization; Affiliate Market; Online Service Industry; e-tutoring; Article & Review Writing; Selling on eBay, OLX, and Fiverr; and New Trends and Opportunities.
  3. Essential Skills for online earning:
    1. Multimedia Information Management
    2. Online Communication Management
    3. Technology Management
  4. Essential Attitude, Aptitude, and Ethical Issues of Online Market
  5. Online Earning Tools, Technologies, and Trends
  6. Content Management System for Website Development (WordPress, Drupal, etc.)
  7. Starting an e-Commerce Business:
    • Feasibility and Business Plan Development
    • Loaning & Funding
    • Effective planning for Product Launch
    • Multimedia Content and Publicity Material Development
    • Website Registration, Hosting and Website Development
    • Legal Issues (Contract Management, Taxation, Company Regt., Registration of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Copyrights)
    • Export Import Documentation and Financing Schemes
    • Online Payment & Fund Transfer Systems in Pakistan
    • Supply Chain management
    • Customer Relationship Management
    • Taxation & Financial Management
  8. Mobile, eMail, Social Media, and Search Engines Marketing
  9. Security & Scammers Issues
  10. Google Application Development
  11. Free Lancing: Working on Elance, 99Designs, oDesk, Freelancer, and other Free Lancing Websites.

 Educational Institutions can offer this training in the form of a 6 months Diploma under the title of “Diploma in e- Entrepreneurship”.

Note: This is a Copyright Material. It is your legal and moral obligation to get permission from the author before using it for commercial purposes.

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Effective Communication for Effective Teaching

Effective communication for effective teaching is an important aspect of any teaching learning process. Today’s competitive world demands from teachers to teach better, smarter, and effective. The course contents worth nothing if not communicated effectively. To get it across the students a teacher has to be very effective in his communication and presentation skills. An effective communication is always stimulating, inspiring, motivating and adds fuel to the fire if presenter possesses that igniting spark. Unfortunately, many teachers do not realize this aspect. Effective communication is very important for effective teaching. I have  delivered a workshop on “Effective Communication for Effective Teaching” at Directorate of Staff Development (Lahore) to the newly employed school teachers. This workshop covers various aspects which can help teacher to make their communication stimulating, inspiring, and motivating. The workshop covers following topics

• What is Communication and Why Is It Important?
• What is Persuasion?
• The Rhetorical Approach to Instructional Communication
• Role of Teachers’ Credibility
• Role of Clarity
• Role of Humor
• Role of Immediacy
• Factors Facilitate Openness and Acceptance
• Helpful Hints for Effective Communication
• Factors Encouraging Student Responses
• Roadblocks to Communication
• Responses Tend to Communicate Inadequacies and Faults
• Messages Try to Make the Student Feel Better or Deny there is a Problem
• Response Tends to Try to Solve the Problem for the Student
• Messages Tend to Divert the Student or Avoid the Student Altogether
• Active Listening
• Factors of Affecting Listening

Here are the slides of my workshop

Employment Trends of Computing Industry: Guidelines for Computing Students

Along the road of life, you make many decisions. The decisions you have made will range from the trivial to crucial. For computing students, it is very important that what you decide now will determine the kind of person you become later. Taking decisions at this crucial stage will affect your future. So it’s not best, however, to base your career decision on today’s environment as you will enter the workforce after a couple of years from now, for example, after completing your degree program. So where is the future of the labor market headed?

You may have read, as it is predicted, that between 2013 and 2020 industries occupations related to health care, personal care and social assistance, and construction are expected to experience the fastest job growth. Some argue that boomer generation is coming into retirement, 5.7 million new jobs expected by 2020, an increase of 33%. But you must not forget, the latest technologies have taken up many jobs which were usually performed by human. As a result, we may not have the expected number of jobs. So, you must keep an eye on the trends of technology driven global society. Someone may suggest you that skill of Front-End Development, including the layout and functioning of a Website using Java, ASP.NET, HTML and other languages are enough. In reality, it is not the case. Be vigilant, being computing graduates, to be hired in today’s competitive market, it’s crucial for you to prove that in addition to computing and programming knowledge, you have strong command on soft skills, communication and critical thinking skills, and sales and marketing savvy. It is most important to be aware of the most in demand skills. For example, according to Baseline.com 2013’s top in-demand technology Skills include Mobile Development (iOS, Android). Gartner forecasts that mobile device sales will reach 1.9 billion this year, driving the demand for Apple and Android hotshots. Cloud Computing Cloud computing is expected to grow to a $121 billion market by 2015. Big Data expected to grow into a $16.9 billion market by 2015, enterprises will continue to seek IT workers who know Hadoop, MongoBD and NoSQL. Ruby on Rails has won a “Hacker of the Year” award from Google. Java Java has been holding steady with the #2 popularity rating, as calculated by the TIOBE Programming Community Index. (C is #1.). PHP This server-side scripting language is now installed on more than 244 million Websites. Linux More than 90% of today’s 500 fastest supercomputers run a version of Linux. And its mascot, “Tux,” turns 17 this year.

It is equally important to be aware of those skills which are not in demand. For example, in his article Brianlowell has listed top 10 technical skillsets that are becoming a thing of the past. These are Windows XP / 2003 and Earlier, Silverlight, Adobe Flash, COBOL, FORTRAN, and other Mainframe Languages, Lotus Notes Administrator, Novell GroupWise Administrator, Traditional Telephony, Those with only Server Administrator Skills, Help Desk Technicians / Level 1 Support, PC Repair Technicians. He concluded his article with comments that the pace of change in IT is very high and increasing at an ever faster rate. To keep up and stay employable, it is important to see what is happening and be prepared for what is coming.

You must be aware of the fact that your technology skills have a two year half-life. The reason your technical marketability degrades so quickly is because technology, like time, marches forward. Software companies continually update their applications. Hardware vendors upgrade their hardware and software control systems on an on-going basis. Also, technology oriented mega-trends like cloud computing and the proliferation of mobile devices are continually driving and transforming our industry.

In his blog, Brian Lowell presents a statistical analysis that looks at the demand for more than 629 skills both certified and noncertified and what is being paid for those skills over and above base salary. This analysis can help you make a decision to strengthen your skillset. The below given data is also available on http://www.cio.com

1. Requirements Engineering and Analysis Skills

These are the skills required to determine the needs of IT to create and maintain software, products and services while taking into account many factors and stakeholder requirements. This is crucial to software development and many other evolutions that go on within IT. In the last 3 months, this skill has seen an increase in value/demand of 27.3 percent. While engineering and analysis skill has been in demand for years, according to Foote, the cloud is driving much of this growth.

“Everyone who invests in systems has to do requirements analysis and what’s happened is the cloud,” says Foote. He adds that there is a chance that analytics, security or mobile could also be a part of this upward trend.

Salary Range: $65,000-$104,000

2. SAP Supply Chain Management Skills

This skill surrounds a software module from the German company SAP. So many companies are using it that it needed to be included in this list, according to Foote. This software focuses on logistics to allow companies to be more agile and work more effectively with their partners. “Yes it’s vendor [specific],” says Foote, “but it’s the largest vendor of business software in the world. We track 90 different SAP modules in our skills pay.”

Employers are paying a skills premium of 10-14 percent of base pay for this role, which has grown 20 percent in the last three months.

Average Salary: $88,000

3. HBase Skills

HBase is an open-source non-relational database originally created by Google. It’s written in Java and has been a top level project within Apache’s Software Foundation. It’s being used more as companies start to incorporate big data into their decision-making processes. HBase is used for real-time read/write access to large datasets.

“This is the push for all different types of technology companies to harness the power of big data and what it can do for them and their customers beyond the reporting and analysis,” says Ed Nathanson, senior director of global talent acquisition with Rapid7.

Skills in HBase are paying a skills premium on average of 13 percent and value/demand for this role has grown 18.2 percent in the last 3 months.

Average Salary: $111,000

4. Quantitative Analysis and Regression Analysis Skills

People who use this skill in their daily workflow take company objectives and develop analytic models, assessments and solutions. They work across all areas of the business, from Web developers to accounting, to database teams. These individuals normally have an advanced degree. The adoption of big data and the evolution of the data scientist are driving demand for this skill upward.

“Companies have been hiring PhDs to do quantitative analysis and regression analysis for years, but now it’s become the province of data scientists, where a lot of the work being done in analytics starts with quantitative analysis skills,” says Foote.

Quantitative analysis has seen 18.2 percent growth in market value over the last 3 months.

Salary Range: $74,000-$117,000

5. IT Governance Skills

IT governance skills help companies and organizations ensure that IT is both effectively and efficiently enabling their business objectives while remaining compliant with industry regulations. Companies large and small will have different compliance and governance needs, but in general the bigger and more regulated your company or industry is the more IT governance structuring there should be.

“There is a trend across all industry, verticals and businesses to be compliant whether they are large enterprise or small business,” says Nathanson.

Value/demand for this skill is up 15.4 percent over the last 3 months, according to Foote Partners research and it’s paying an average skills premium of 15 percent of base pay.

Salary Range: $97,000-$122,000

6. C# Skills

C, C# C++ and Java are some of the foundation languages driving technology these days, but what is interesting, according to Foote, is how demand for this skill has risen.

“C# has been around for a long time. It’s remarkable to see this type of growth. There are a lot of people who have C# skills so it’s not supply,” says Foote. Microsoft Windows and .NET are driving demand in this skill. “If a company has built its foundation with Microsoft technologies then, of course, these skills will be in demand,” says Nathanson.

C# skills earn a skills premium of roughly 6-10 percent of base salary, but value/demand has risen 14.3 percent in the last six months, according to Foote Partners research.

Salary Range: $61,000-$251,000

7. ITIL Skills

ITIL best practices are part of a library of books that outline the management of IT development, infrastructure and operations. ITIL’s systematic approach to IT management helps companies improve IT services, reduce spending and deliver a better level of customer service to their clients. ITIL skills and certifications regularly make the list of most in-demand by employers and this trend is expected to continue according to experts.

The demand for ITIL v3 skills has been rising sharply over the last year. It has grown in value/demand 9.1 percent in the last six months, 20 percent in the last year and 33 percent in the last 15 months. IT pros with these skills earn a skills premium of 10-14 percent over base salary.

Average Salary: $61,000

8. Enterprise Architecture Skills

Companies are applying the lessons learned from years of business architecture and are now trying to incorporate those lessons into the parts of the job that deal with technology and data. According to Foote, architecture roles are about the long term and are hard to justify ROI. As a result when the economic downturn happened in 2009 and 2010, many companies shed their network and other IT architects.

“A lot of companies took down and disassembled their enterprise architecture groups. That’s all changed now. You can’t do advanced analytics without a lot of data cleansing, data quality analysis, data management and data architecture, says Foote.

Enterprise Architecture has grown 30.8 percent in value/demand over the last 12 months.

Salary Range: $91,000-$134,000

9. Infrastructure Architecture Skills

IT has gone from the Maytag guys who maintain the servers and email to the driver of big business. Combine that with the fact that technology changes at lightning speed and it’s clear why you need infrastructure architecture skills in your organization. They often work to align long-term business strategies and technology.

“Companies really need someone to come in and architect what things will look like and be the person who makes sure all those systems play nice together and have the right foundation in place…,” says Nathanson.

IT Pros with infrastructure architecture skills are earning a skills premium between 12-17 percent of base pay and value/demand for this skill has risen 7.1 percent in the last 3 months.

Salary Range: $109,000-$141,000

10. Security Architecture Skills

Security is at the forefront of every CIO’s mind. The relentless waves of news stories detailing major corporations that have been hacked grow larger each week. To battle the onslaught of cyber-terrorists and script kiddies you need a solid security architecture. That doesn’t happen by accident.

“Companies are fearful. It’s not getting better. Companies are seeing that they are closer than ever before to dangerous breaches. Security needs to be properly architected, because it cost a lot of money,” says Foote.

IT security professionals with these skills earn a premium of between 14-18 percent of base salary, according to Foote Partners. These skills have also seen a considerable 23.1 percent increase in value/demand over the last twelve months.

Average Salary: $115,000

11. Business Intelligence Skills

Big data is big business and companies are looking more closely at how to interpret the many disparate sources of data they have. That’s where BI skills come in.

“This is still an immature area for a lot of companies. Businesses are starting to understand that they have a lot of data internally that can help them with market trends, where and how they can make forecasts with their sales and marketing, as well as help the executive team make decisions,” says Rob Byron principal consultant with WinterWyman, an IT recruitment firm in the Northeast.

On average, BI skills pay a premium of 12 percent of base salary and have seen 9.1 percent growth in value/demand over the last 3 months.

Salary Range: $62,000-$164,000

12. Business Analysis Skills

Business analysts can be found in many places in an organization. They work to find, document and assess the risk and impact of changing needs business needs and then they work with IT to get requirements and deliverables to support the business throughout implementation phases.

On average, IT workers with these skills earn a skills premium of 12 percent of base pay. Value/demand for these skills is up 9.1 percent in the last 12 months.

Salary Range: $61,000-$105,000

13. Unified Communications and Messaging Skills

The world of IT and business is complex and continually morphing. IT touches every part of the business, which often times has global implications. Remote workforces, BYOD and other factors create challenges when it comes to creating an environment where workers can be productive, collaborate and innovate in a seamless manner and that’s where unified communication skills come in.

The technology involves collaboration tools, telephony, messaging, social media and more. The current interest is no surprise to Foote who says, “There’s currently a lot of activity in unified communications and it’s always been very popular.”

Unified messaging skills are averaging a skills premium of about 12 percent of base pay and have seen a rise of 9.1 percent in value/demand in the last six months.

Salary Range: $45,000-$113,000

14. Risk Assessment and Analysis Skills

According to Foote, companies are trying to incorporate risk assessment and analysis into their workforce and the IT decision-making process, spurring demand within the tech industry. “Every company is doing risk assessment and analysis; it’s nothing new. Companies are trying to build risk assessment and analysis into several jobs within their company. They’ve set it up as a core skill like in the old days of project management,” says Foote.

Risk assessment and analysis skills are helping IT pros earn a skills premium of roughly 13 percent of base pay and value/demand has grown 18.2 percent in the last 12 months.

Salary Range: $91,000-$104,000

15. Mobile Application Development Skills

While this didn’t make the list, Foote notes that there is a lot of interest in this area. Mobile development skills continue to be in short supply and as more companies start to focus on mobility, the demand for mobile developers has continued to increase. According to Foote, that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

“There are a lot of skills associated with mobile apps development. Most are also associated with other areas of development. Isolating them to just mobile is virtually impossible,” says Foote. That said, here are some of the common skills associated with mobile application development: Java, jQuery, JavaScript and other scripting languages, C/C++/C#, .NET, HTML5, CSS, Eclipse and Mobile OS (iOS, Android)- to name a few.

Salary Range: $76,000-$139,000

16. Cloud Computing Skills

PaaS, SaaS and virtualization skills will likely be more in demand as more companies use the cloud to reduce costs. However, it didn’t make the list because, according to Foote, the data on the cloud market isn’t mature enough. That said, the market for cloud certifications has grown and, according to many analysts, there is an impending Cloud Skills Gap for IT.

“Companies will put out ridiculously unrealistic requests for workers. There’s no silver bullet anymore in hiring, these people don’t exist. You have to build them. That is what’s happening with cloud computing right now,” says Foote.

Salary Range: $30,000-$128,000

Inception of a New Institution of Inspiring Teaching & Innovative Learning (Pasha Institute of Emerging Disciplines)

Our society is passing through an unprecedented change. Ever improving high speed communication links and transportation means have brought global boundaries into the reach of a common man. Our Segmented world has become a global village. The latest technological advancements, social engineering outcomes, and the emergence of new knowledge boundaries have revolutionaries our ways of working, thinking, and living. Even, these changes are transforming our values, believes, thoughts, associations, and social behavior. For example, at one time literacy was considered to be the ability to read and write, and perhaps do math. But, the current revolutionary era has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments. So, a literate person now needs to possess a wide range of abilities and competencies. Now literacy has become a necessary condition to equip people to participate in the local, national and global economy, culture and polity. Similarly, a generation ago, initial education was expected to last students for a lifetime. But, at the current rate of growth of knowledge, education and training need to prepare learners at all levels for more rapid change than ever before, for jobs that have not yet been created, using technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that can not be foreseen.
At present we are experiencing an era of knowledge eruption – named as the knowledge revolution. At the time when you are reading this message, somebody at the far end of the Atlantic will be working on new trends, tools or concepts allied with the milieu of Knowledge Based Technologies and its implementation. The amount of technical information is doubling about every two years. It is estimated that the rate of information doubling will occur every 72 hours. President of Georgia Tech Institute of Technology wisely worn the academic community about the fact that a student leant knowledge in 1st year will become outdated by the time he will be studying in 3rd year of his/her study.
The process of current change is based on three defining forces: the rise in knowledge use in economic activities, the increasing globalization of economic affairs, and the high pace of technological advancements particularly information & communications technologies. For some, this change is the driving force behind the current progress; it has created wealth, expanded opportunities and provided a nurturing environment for individuals, organizations, and countries. For others, these changes have created unemployment, poverty and marginalization, and are thus perceived as a force institutionalizing social crises. They believe that current changes have aggravated inequalities both within and between communities, societies, even countries because of the sharply diverging experience at individual levels. It has increased economic and political insecurity even for those who have benefited in monetary terms. Consequently, the digital, economic, and literacy divides are rapidly expanding in countries that have already been encountering the conventional dilemma of “have” and have not”.
As Chairman of the Pasha Trust, I am personally a staunch advocate of the fact that education is the only mean to combat these challenges which are the concerns of the global community. Education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, and values from one generation to another. Yet we need to ensure that young people get the right education which prepares them to meet challenges of the 21st century. It is equally important to note that skills and technology have flattened the world so that all work that can be digitized, automated and outsourced can now be done by the most effective and competitive individuals, enterprises or countries, wherever they are. Therefore, we need to upgrade the existing education model to cater the need and demands of today’s technology intensive knowledge driven complex work places. For this, we need to invent new educational processes which not only accommodate the high pace of knowledge eruption, but also ensure students’ intellectual and professional development with a global mindset so that the successful graduates can take up their role and responsibilities of global society.
Realizing these aspects, Pasha Trust has established “Pasha Institute of Emerging Disciplines”. I am confident, PIED will set new educational standards through implementing innovative educational processes for creating an effective teaching-learning environment. At PIED, the faculty and staff are striving to gain excellence in:

At PIED, we are devising and implementing the best practices of Knowledge Management to create a learning environment to foster intellectual and personal growth of students, faculty and staff through:

  • Realizing the importance of Intellectual capital
  • Enriching their theoretical and practical knowledge
  • Strengthening their understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities
  • Providing practical experience for enabling them to become valuable contributors
  • Improving their knowledge and skills to grow professionally

Although PIED is affiliated with the University of Sargodha and follows the University curriculum for its academic programs. Yet, to maintain its pride and distinctiveness PIED offers inspiring teaching & innovative learning. Our Branded Education, Personality Grooming Program, &Trans-Disciplinary Approach ensures students’ success in today’s Knowledge Economies.
PIED is teaching its students with a global mindset and preparing them to compete in the global knowledge economies. For this, adopting a futuristic approach, the Institute offers additional market oriented courses, special workshops, and practical activities. PIED’s Personality Grooming Program aims to produce professionals of international standards ready to work in multinational companies. The Institute’s Trans-Disciplinary Approach prepares students to get jobs in multiple domains. In fact, PIED is developing its own brand. PIED’s graduate will be acknowledging as a quality brand of computing graduates in local as well as global market. For all these additional support, the students do not pay any additional fee.
For achieving these targets, the Institute continuously upgrading and strengthening its programs by:

  • Adopting appropriate curriculum and its supporting pedagogy that meets the needs of the students, demands of the global employment market and fulfills the accreditation criteria of national and international bodies.
  • Accommodating the varied learning styles of a diverse student population
  • Recognizing and supporting the application of research in ICT and other emerging branches of learning
  • Recognizing and supporting creativity associated with the educational technology and innovative teaching methodologies

The faculty, staff and administration at PIED has a long standing commitment to international education and to the promotion of global understanding and goodwill. They also strive to serve as a model for the advancement of professional standards and quality instruction in intensive programs in Pakistan. The Institute is equipped with state-of-the art teaching technology and other educational resources. PIED’s excellent teaching pedagogy, well-designed curriculum, purpose built infrastructure along with professional competency, commitment and handwork provide a congenial environment for learning. It’s Culture Sensitive Student Centered Friendly Interactive Learning Strategy gives the students ample opportunity to develop the necessary skills in their respective fields and helps faculty and staff to offer the best possible service and the greatest enjoyable and memorable lifetime experience at the most economical and competitive price.

Effective communication is one the most distinctive feature of PIED’s students. The English language training program designed to provide a high quality intensive training to assist students in attaining linguistic proficiency and broadening their cultural awareness for success in their academic, professional, and personal lives.

The Institute strictly follows the QAA Quality Assurance Code of Practice and PIED’s Knowledge Management Strategies to maintain the quality of teaching, curriculum, resources, staff, management, premises, and welfare and to meet the requirements of various accreditation bodies.

The Institute is open throughout the year and offers a wide range of under-graduate & post-graduate programs in multi-disciplinary domains including Computer Science, IT, Commerce, Accounting & Finance, Business Administration, Mass Communications, Psychology, etc. In addition the he Institute also offers diploma, short courses, and certifications in IELTS, TOFEL, Teacher Training , Management & Accounting, Adult Education, Computer Software & Hardware, ICT, etc. The Institution especially caters the individual needs of special needs students through the use of Assistive and Rehabilitative Technologies.
Finally, I would like to comment that Pasha Institute of Emerging Disciplines (PIED) will bring high quality education in the reach of common people. I am sure all those students who are getting admission in PIED’s academic program will always receive a warm welcome from teachers, staff and students alike. Students will find the teachers and staff dedicated to helping them to achieve their goals and to make their stay enjoyable and memorable.

Changing Patterns of Computing Disciplines

Written by Dr. M. A. Pasha 25/05/2012

Computing is an interdisciplinary discipline that crosses the boundaries between mathematics, science, engineering, business and social sciences.  It consists of multiple fields including computer science, computer engineering, information systems, information technology, and software engineering (ACM/IEEE, 2001).  These fields are inter-related but they are quite different from each other. This dynamic nature of computing discipline propelled the international community to devise a model curriculum for computing.

The history of computing curriculum development can be traced back to 1965 when a preliminary version of the recommendations for Computer Science curriculum was published by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM, 1965). Since then the educators and professionals all over the world are striving to formalize the fundamental principles that distinguish the goals and methods of computing from those of other related disciplines.

In early days, the term ‘computer science’ was used as a common notion for computing discipline. With the passage of time, the nature of basic principles, methods, techniques and concepts evolves as the discipline evolves, and new principles replace old ones. Typically there are always strong resistances to change (Lawrence, 1954); therefore, these new developments were sometimes seriously questioned by believers in old principles. For example, Hilbert’s principle that formal mathematical theorems are provable by logical inference was questioned by Kurt Godel (1931), Alonzo Church & Alan Turing (1936), who argued that logic cannot completely prove all mathematical theorems. Similarly, many contradictory views of computing like the mathematical worldview (Davis, 1958 ) vs the interactive worldview (Goldin  & Wegner, 2008),  algorithmic programming  (Knuth 1968; Hopcroft & Ullman, 969 ) vs  contemporary programming (Rice & Rice 1969)  opened up new horizons for computing (Sipser, 2005).

Much efforts have been made to understand this rapidly expanding  nature of computing which include the recommendations of ACM Curriculum Committee on Computer Science (ACM, 1969; 1977; 1979), IEEE Computer Society Education Committee/Model Curriculum Subcommittee. (IEEE, 1976), IEEE Computer Society Educational Activities Board/Model Program Committee (IEEE, 1983), Report on the ACM Task Force on the Core of Computer Science (Denning , et al. , 1988).

Prior to the 1990s, many international bodies were producing their own curriculum recommendations. But, in 1991, ACM and IEEE-CS published a joint curriculum – Known as Computing Curricula 1991 or CC’91 – for four-year Bachelor’s degree programs in Computer Science and Computer Engineering (ACM/IEEE-CS, 1991). At that time Computing was restricted to three disciplines – Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Information Systems (See fig 1). In 1997, IS ‘97 Model Curriculum and Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Information Systems (ACM, 1997) was also published.

Computing

By the end of the 1990s, global community started realizing that the field of computing had not only grown rapidly but had also grown in many dimensions. Different kinds of degree programs were offered by different academic institution which brought in the problem of degree accreditation. Consequently, in 2001, ACM and IEEE-CS joint task force produced Computing Curricula 2001 (ACM/IEEE, 2001) which further expanded the concept of Computing into four distinct disciplines – Computer Science (CS), Computer Engineering (CE), Information Systems (IS) and Software Engineering (SE). In response to the CC2001 model, the Information Systems, the Software Engineering and Computer Engineering communities published their own curriculum recommendation reports reports (ACM/AIS/AITP, 2002), (ACM/IEEE, 2004a) and (ACM/IEEE, 2004a) respectively.

The inventions of digital electronics gave birth to ‘digital revolution which brought digital calculators and computer systems into the access of public domain. These gadgets not only revolutionized the conventional concepts of calculation, but also changed the way data was stored, retrieved and controlled. Computers became essential tools at every level of most organizations, and networked computer systems became the information backbone of organizations (Kotkin, 2000).

The digital revolution not only affected the way scientists conduct their research but also expedite the pace of inventions (Thomson, 2007). High pace innovation in technologies for communication, computation, interactivity, and delivery of information introduced invention like ‘the Internet’, ‘the World Wide Web’, ‘email’, ‘bulletin board system’, ‘virtual communities’, ‘E-commerce’ and  other online technologies which brought a paradigm shift in business world –  from data processing to information processing – converting industrial society to an “information society (Cohen, 2009). Such inventions converted computer technology into information technology (IT). While this paradigm shift improved productivity, it also created new work place challenges regarding the development, operation, maintenance, and up gradation of organizational IT infrastructure (Samuelson, 1995). By the end of the 1990s, it became clear that the existing computing degree programs were not producing graduates who had the right mix of knowledge and skills to meet these challenges. Consequently, colleges and universities developed new degree programs to fill this crucial void (Denning, 2001); thus information technology was added as an independent discipline into the computing domain (Burrell, 1997; Lunt, et. al., 2003a; 2003b; Lunt, et. al., 2004; Lunt, et. al., 2005).

The Computing Curricula 2005 (CC2005) produced by the ACM, AIS and IEEE-CS Joint Task Force identified the distinctive features of these five distinct but overlapping disciplines of computing and laid down the key characteristics and skill set which every graduate in their respective discipline must acquire. These recommendations help academic institutions to standardize their computing related degree programs according to the need of the international market. However, the curriculum development process has not stopped yet.  Newly emerging economic trends, escalating pace of Information Technology (IT) usage, development outsourcing, and the emergence of knowledge economies have raised new issues. Recently, the international community has put forward a draft version of Computer Science Curricula 2013 (ACM, 2012) which has redefines the knowledge units and provides concrete guidance on curricular structure and development in a variety of institutional contexts.

Distinctive Characteristics of Computing Discipline

Computing Curricula 2005 (CC2005) produced by the ACM, AIS and IEEE-CS Joint Task Force identified the distinctive features of these five disciplines are explined in below pargarps (see figure as well):

Computer Science spans a wide range, from its theoretical and algorithmic foundations to cutting-edge developments in robotics, computer vision, intelligent systems, bioinformatics, and other exciting areas. Computer scientists develop new programming approaches for software development, devise new ways to use computers and develop effective ways to solve computing problems. While other disciplines produce graduates with more immediately relevant job-related skills, computer science offers a comprehensive foundation for research and innovation.

Software Engineering is the discipline of developing and maintaining software systems that behave reliably and efficiently, are affordable to develop and maintain, and satisfy all the requirements that customers have defined for them.  Software engineering is different in character from other engineering disciplines due to both the intangible nature of software and related operations. It seeks to integrate the principles of mathematics and computer science with the engineering practices developed for tangible, physical artifacts. Software engineering students learn more about software reliability and maintenance and focus more on developing and maintaining software techniques. While Computer Science students just acquire superficial knowledge of these aspects.

Computer Engineering is a discipline that embodies the science and technology of design, construction, implementation, and maintenance of software and hardware components of modern computing systems and computer-controlled equipment. Computer engineering has traditionally been viewed as a combination of both computer science (CS) and electrical engineering (EE) (CE2004). Its curriculum focuses on the theories, principles, and practices of traditional electrical engineering and mathematics and applies them to the problems of designing computers and computer-based devices.  Computer engineering students study the design of digital hardware systems including communications systems, computers, and devices that contain computers. They study software development, focusing on software for digital devices and their interfaces with users and other devices.

Information systems programs make graduates ready to integrate information technology solutions and business processes to meet the information needs of businesses and other enterprises, enabling them to achieve their objectives in an effective, efficient way. Information systems curriculum emphasizes various aspects of information, and views technology as a tool for generating, processing, and distributing information. Students of this program learn how computer systems can help an enterprise in defining and achieving its goals, and the processes that an enterprise can implement or improve using information technology. They learn both technical and organizational factors to help organizations to determine how information and technology-enabled business processes can provide a competitive advantage.

Information Technology emphasis on the technology itself whereas Information Systems focuses on the information aspects only.  Today, organizations of every kind are dependent on information technology.  IT specialists possess the right combination of knowledge and practical, hands-on expertise to take care of both an organization’s information technology infrastructure and the people who use it.

Distinct Characteristics of IT, CS and SE graduates

Over the past sixty years, computing has become an extremely broad domain that extends well beyond the boundaries of computer science to encompass such independent disciplines as computer engineering, software engineering, information systems, information technology and many others. Realizing this breadth of computing domain, the global community deduced that no group representing a single specialty could hope to do justice to computing as a whole (SE2004). Consequently, independent Task Force on each discipline was assigned the task of curriculum development in their respective field.  Keeping in view the distinctive nature of IT, CS, and SE the Task Force of respective discipline laid down the key characteristics of graduates of these disciplines. These characteristics are shown in Table 1.  Every graduate in their respective discipline must acquire a skill set that enables him or her to successfully perform integrative tasks, including the ability to:

Information Technology (IT   2005) Software Engineering (SE   2004) Computer   Science (CS 2008)
–   Use and apply current technical   concepts and practices in the core information technologies;-   Analyze, identify and define the   requirements that must be satisfied to address problems or opportunities   faced by organizations or individuals;-   Design effective and usable IT-based   solutions and integrate them into the user environment;

–   Assist in the creation of an effective   project plan;

–   Identify and evaluate current and   emerging technologies and assess their applicability to address the users’   needs;

–   Analyze the impact of technology on   individuals, organizations and society, including ethical, legal and policy   issues;

–   Demonstrate an understanding of best   practices and standards and their application;

–   Demonstrate independent critical   thinking and problem solving skills;

–   Collaborate in teams to accomplish a   common goal by integrating personal initiative and group cooperation;

–   Communicate effectively and   efficiently with clients, users and peers both verbally and in writing, using   appropriate terminology;

–   Recognize the need for continued   learning throughout their career.

–   Show   mastery of the software engineering knowledge and skills, and professional   issues necessary to begin practice as a software engineer.-   Work as an individual and as part of a   team to develop and deliver quality software artifacts.-   Reconcile conflicting project   objectives, finding acceptable compromises within limitations of cost, time,   knowledge, existing systems, and organizations.

–   Design appropriate solutions in one or   more application domains using software engineering approaches that integrate   ethical, social, legal, and economic concerns.

–   Demonstrate an understanding of and   apply current theories, models, and techniques that provide a basis for problem   identification and analysis, software design, development, implementation,   verification, and documentation.

–   Demonstrate an understanding and   appreciation for the importance of negotiation, effective work habits,   leadership, and good communication with stakeholders in a typical software   development environment.

–   Learn new   models, techniques, and technologies as they emerge and appreciate the   necessity of such continuing professional development.

–   Demonstrate knowledge   and understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles, and theories   relating to computer science and software applications.-   Use such knowledge and understanding   in the modeling and design of computer-based systems in a way that   demonstrates comprehension of the tradeoff involved in design choices.-   Identify and analyze criteria and   specifications appropriate to specific problems, and plan strategies for   their solution.

–   Understand the elements of   computational thinking. This includes recognizing its broad relevance in   everyday life as well as its applicability within other domains, and being   able to apply it in appropriate circumstances.

–   Analyze the extent to which a   computer-based system meets the criteria defined for its current use and   future development.

–   Deploy appropriate theory, practices,   and tools for the specification, design, implementation, and maintenance as   well as the evaluation of computer-based systems.

–   Recognize and be guided by the social,   professional, legal and ethical as well as cultural issues involved in the   use of computer technology. Increasingly cultural issues are also relevant.

2. COMPUTING DISCIPLINE IN PAKISTAN

In Pakistan, at university level computer education can be traced back to late 70’s when a department of computer science was established at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. Presently, 74 public and 62 private universities including their affiliated colleges are offering degree programs in various computing disciplines.  To ensure the quality of education students receive in universities and institutions, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has setup an accreditation authority: National Computing Education Accreditation Council (NCEAC). The accreditation council periodically evaluates, scrutinizes and monitors the standards followed in different Universities, Degree Awarding Institutions and their affiliated colleges offering computing degree programs.

In addition, realizing the need of standardization, HEC as a part of its constitutional responsibility, has constituted four committees, as stated in [4], involving the respective expert faculty members both from public and private sectors throughout the country. All these committees worked independently in their respective domains through extensive interaction and consensus of national and international experts in the field and revise the existing curriculum after every three year. Recently, in 2009, the curriculum revision committee has published the revised curricula for BS, MS and PhD programs. The revised curricula [4] have been circulated nationwide for implementation.

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Teacher Training Workshop

Information Regarding the Teacher Training Workshop at Department of Computer Science & Information Technology

For some time now, the global education and economic landscapes have been in a state of rapid transformation, spurred in significant part by two key changes.
1. The continued ascent of the knowledge economy, which has created powerful new incentives for people to build their skills through education – and for countries to help them do so.
2. The explosive growth of higher education worldwide, which has increased opportunities for millions and is expanding the global talent pool of highly educated individuals.
Global community has acknowledged that higher education is the only way to lead the world. It is a necessary and laudable goal that is critical to economic competitiveness, equal opportunity, and a healthy democracy. It is equally important to success in the 21st-century knowledge economy. Latest employer surveys indicate increased emphasis on hiring individuals with postsecondary degrees and higher levels of skills and knowledge. Latest surveys have shown that in 2008, a man with higher education could expect to earn 58% more than his counterpart with no more than an upper secondary education, on average across OECD countries. By 2010, this premium had increased to 67%.
Time has come to realize that educational attainment is a key driver of economic performance, especially related to innovative growth. It is the actual skills and knowledge acquired that matter for productivity. It follows that improving the quality of education is at least as important as increasing the overall rate of participation in higher education. The achievement of this goal requires sustained attention to the quality of student learning. Quality learning can only be achieved through quality teaching which can be achieved through developing faculty’s quality teaching skill.
At Department of Computer Science & Information Technology, I have delived a two days Teacher Training Workshop encompassing following areas:
1. Key Skills of an Effective Teacher
2. Course Development, Effective Pedagogy & Content Delivery
3. Assessment & Evaluation
4. Guidance & Counseling

I have uploaded the slides of this workshop for knowledge sharing. Please visit http://www.innovators.edu.pk/node/288 to download my presentations slides.

Understanding Differences Among Content Knowledge, Competency, Expertise, and Dispositions

It is not a research paper. I have compiled this information for my students. Puting here just for knowledge sharing. Some of you may find it useful

Understanding Difference among Competency, Expertise, Content Knowledge, and Disposition

Expertise, competency, content knowledge and dispositions are commonly used terms. These terms are often used interchangeably but have distinct meanings depending on the context. Each term has its own theoretical construct and related knowledge which makes them distinct. Here I have tried to define each of these terms as they are important for our students who have recently joined university education.

Let’s start with Content Knowledge.

Content Knowledge

The traditional form of knowledge is often referred to as content knowledge. Knowledge is the systematic collection of information, such that it intends to be useful. Knowledge represents a state or potential for actions and decisions in a person, an organization or a group. It could be changed in the process of learning which causes changes in understanding, decision or action. Although knowledge is usually considered abstract concept, Content knowledge can be defined as the information and explicit knowledge that can be identified, stored, accessed, possessed, measured and translated/abstracted outside of the situation/environment in which it was created. Content knowledge is static and is minimally impacted through social interaction unless has social valuation. In other words, if content knowledge is not identified as being valuable it may be lost, and if it has perceived exceptional value, it may be controlled.

Ackoff (1999) considers knowledge as a deterministic process. When students “memorizes” information (as they often do), then they amass knowledge. This knowledge has useful meaning to them, but it provides little help in inferring new knowledge. For example, elementary school children memorize, or amass knowledge of “tables”. They can tell that “2 x 2 = 4” because they have amassed that knowledge; but if asked what “1267 x 300” is, they cannot respond correctly because that entry is not in their learnt tables. To correctly answer such questions, students need a true cognitive and analytical ability – known as understanding.

Students usually amass content knowledge reading text books, attending lectures, surfing the Internet or through dialog with their peers. As grades are the key objectives of our education system, most of our teachers focus on transferring content knowledge. Students memorize content knowledge and reproduce in examination for teachers to measure and award grades. Whereas, for succeeding in today’s world, possessing content knowledge alone is not as important for students as to be able to know how to use content knowledge in the real world. In other words, they need to have understanding and experience to use content knowledge efficiently and effectively. This is what in literature known as competence (Herling, 2000; Yaklief, 2010). As the majority of our students possess content knowledge without competency, they usually face difficulty in performing their assignments as the situation requires (Herling, 2000; Laufer & Glick, 1998). It not only shakes their confidence, but also distorts their image among peers. Hence, along with content knowledge, students need to develop competency as well.

Competency

Herling (2000) defines competence as “an ability to do something satisfactory-not necessarily outstandingly or even well, but rather to a minimum level of acceptable performance (p.9).” The “minimum level of acceptable performance” makes competency a relative term. Different organizations may have defined their own competency model based on the skill sets required to efficiently perform required work. The level of competency of required skill set also help organizations to quantify overall capacity among workers. Although students may discover the required skill set of a domain through surfing the Internet, it is the responsibility of academia to identify and list down the minimum level of competency of the required skill set of the domain in which students would be seeking employment. For this purpose, teachers can follow professional bodies’ guidelines and select appropriate course contents, classroom activities and associated pedagogy to help students to develop required level of competency.

Expertise

Expertise is usually defined as individuals’ ability of translating content knowledge into practice. Some authors have associated it with the application of content knowledge to the in-hand problem/situation. Others have extended it further by including the capacity of individuals to modify or create content knowledge through research or discursive processes (Laufer & Glick, 1998; Yahlief, 2010). In general, expertise is correlated with the depth of understanding based on experience. For example, an expert not only knows what (content knowledge) and how (competency), but also why and when to use content knowledge (analogy and reasoning) (Allee, 1997). This requires a certain level of domain knowledge and know-how of the contexts in which the content knowledge can be applied (Sternberg & Horvath, 1999). Herling defines expertise as “displayed behavior within a specialized domain and/or related domain in the form of consistently demonstrated actions of an individual that are both optimally efficient in their execution and effective in their results (p.20).”
Sometimes expertise is categorized as generalized expertise and specialized expertise. Specialized expertise comes from experience and learning within a specific domain, such as heart surgery or brain surgery within the medical professions. Specialized expertise is gained through interaction with the environment, professional artifacts, and other professionals within a community of practice (Herling, 2000; Sternberg & Horvath, 1999; Yaklief, 2002). However, specialized expertise needs social recognition and the community considers it important. Without social recognition there is no expertise. Social recognition allows experts to convert their specialized understanding into content knowledge that can be disseminated among those who may be interested in joining the specialized community. Generalized expertise can either be developed through application of the specialized expertise across domains (Herling, 2000) or through a deep understanding of the domain as a whole, within multiple specializations within that domain linked together to create general expertise (Allee, 1997; Herling, 2000). Expertise is dynamic and constantly changing as deeper meaning is developed through interaction and understanding. Hence, the level of expertise may vary among experts of the same domain.

Dispositions

In 1992, the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) coined the term Dispositions. The Council defined it as “the values, commitments and professional ethics that influence behaviors toward students, families, colleagues, and communities and affect student learning, motivation, and development as well as the educator’s own professional growth (INTASC, 2009). Dispositions are differentiated from skills or items of knowledge and are usually considered as habits of mind or tendencies to respond to certain situations in certain ways (Katz, 1995). Pink (2006) brought in the idea of “Right Brain Dispositions” i.e., to shift programmatic thinking of education from left brain (analytical) alone to include the right brain (global).

The concept of disposition is getting popularity among various disciplines, like teacher education, computing, engineering, medicine, etc. This is due to the reason that the integration of technologies has made graduates role more complex in today’s work places. They are expected to be involved in more real-time scenarios than ten years before. Such challenges demand from graduates a very high level of creativity, responsiveness, proactive thinking, agile decision making, analytical mindset, etc. Once these skills were considered as competitive edge, but today these have become as perennial capabilities of successful graduates. Such challenges demand from teachers to adopt a full brain approach and shift students’ learning objects from skill development to disposition development. For example, “having the disposition to be a programmer” is more effective than “having programming skills”; same is the case with “having the disposition to be a software developer” than “having software development skills”.

Dispositions are not learned through formal instruction or exhortation (Kohn, 1993). To acquire or strengthen a particular disposition, a student must have the opportunity to express the disposition in behavior. Teachers can strengthen the required dispositions by setting learning goals rather than performance goals. A teacher who says, “See how much you can find out about something,” rather than, “I want to see how well you can do,” encourages students to focus on what they are learning rather than on an external evaluation of their performance (Dweck, 1991). For strengthening students’ dispositions we need to learn from John Dewey statement, “The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action” (Dewey, 1893, p.652).

There is another aspect related to job satisfaction. Fresh graduates need to develop dispositions regarding their professional career. In the last decade a stream of research has appeared which suggests that judgments of job satisfaction are significantly influenced by the individual’s affective disposition (Arvey, Bouchard, Segal, & Abraham, 1989; Judge &Hillin, Levin & Stokes, 1989; Pulakos & Schmitt, 1983; Staw & Ross, 1985; Staw, Bell, & Clausen, 1986). Affective disposition has also been linked to behaviors such as absence (George, 1989), turn over, and pro-social behaviors (George, 1991). Therefore, teachers need to promote affective disposition of the students through teaching-learning-assessment experiences, so that the practical attributes of affective disposition could be available to every student in their classrooms, institutional environment, and teachers’ routines practices.

Making a right kind of dispositional decisions is not only important but also a challenging task. Teachers and curriculum experts need to consider this aspect seriously so that the students should be prepared to be successful in today’s competitive age.

Consulted Resources

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