The course support notes are a good pointer to course coverage. A couple of points I have (and clarifications).
For the “Structures and links” section of Information Systems Design and Development at National 5: Sequence and Frames refers to animation objects and the frames on an animation. Provides some progression from N4.
In Software Design and Development if refers to “contemporary design notations”. I would suggest that structure diagrams and flow charts are NOT contemporary design notations and would not be currently valid. To this end I would suggest UML Activity Diagrams and UML Use Case diagrams as the most relevant visual design techniques to use that could be understood at this level.
What do you think?
Have spoken to a few people about the “structures and links” section of Information Systems Design and Development at National 5, everyone’s in agreement that Sequence and Frames referes to animation.
As for the “contemporary design notations”, what you’ve suggested is to be honest new to me. Having had a quick look online, the UML Activity Diagrams look a little complex for Nat 5 whilst the UML Use Case diagrams look reasonable enough to do. I’d really need to see a dummies guide to UML Activity Diagrams to get a better understanding of them. Whilst maybe not being contemporary, structure diagrams are simple enough to explain and for pupils to create.
I think some aspects of UML might be useful however UML is a design notation for object-orientated programming which is a poor fit for the level of abstraction that pupils are being asked to exhibit at National 5 level. Flowcharts and structure diagrams might not be used widely by professional programmers but they’re useful notations for making the basics of imperative programming such as loops and selection visible to learners.
From the SQA event held in May/June, flowcharts were acceptable.
From my understanding Sequence and Frames refers to website design. As the outcomes appear under Information Systems the outcome can only really relate to database or websites. Can we really justify animations as an Information System? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_%28World_Wide_Web%29 has a definition of a website frame – which is my understanding of what to do for this particular outcome. As for sequence I assume we are talking about linear / hierarchical structures of webpages.
I agree that UML is a contemporary design however this focuses on programming. The outcome specifies “both software development and information system development”. Perhaps contemporary design is referring to the ways which website and databases are planned? Storyboarding etc.
Have I got the wrong end of the stick? Thoughts would be appreciated.
We have been using OOP Java (BlueJ) with Int2, H AH for 5 years. As part of the design process pupils develop a simplified UML type class diagram to identify properties and methods, also related classes.
Such an approach would also help pupils move toward simple ERD.
I would have read frames and sequences as animation related but would agree that calling this an information system is not helpful to pupil understanding. However there is no description that I can find for functionality for an information system, aggregated values, sort, search, etc? Structures and navigation is all that is mentioned.
We’re using simplified versions of storyboarding, wireframing/page layouts, sitemapping and pseudocode with our junior pupils when they are developing their own skills and they also use them when planning out their own projects. The hope is that if they are exposed to simpler versions of design notation and they use it to help them to create a solution then it’ll be easier for them to create their own designs at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.
My understanding is that the functionality of a database would reflect those outlined by brendanm. However when researching this in more depth I came across the following PowerPoint http://www.fatmax.org/a24/403/functions.ppt. Perhaps the 5 functions outlined in the slides match those in which we are expected to teach? It would certainly make the writing of an exam question much easier and would link to the outcome “users: expert, novice, age-range”.
I too assumed that Frames was in relation to web design, we use Dreamweaver.
Frames are obsolete in HTML 5.
Google “Web Design Frames” and you will find any number of practitioners recommending avoidance, such as http://aerin.co.uk/frames-and-tables/
If our new courses are to be forward looking then HTML frames are out.
I asked about the SQA definition of frames for Nat4/5 purposes at the Stirling SQA event in June. Specifically, web design or animation?
Answer was clear: ANIMATION
Sorry to shout!
As professionals we really need to challenge this remark from the SQA. What would we say to our pupils if we asked them for an example of an Information System and they replied ‘animations’? Animations are not Information Systems. Although I am not disputing anyone’s comments on HTML frames we are restricted by the course arrangement documents.
As a group we should be taking our concerns about frames in HTML to the SQA and asking for amendments. It is our course after all!
I assumed it was talking about web design also, and have written materials for the new course to include this. I guess it is back to the drawing board on that particular one. I don’t understand why It is in structures and links for ISDD unit.
I am REALLY concerned that we’re all interpreting course content “on the hoof” here… and that the documentation is SO vague and unclear that we are all doing so in different ways.
Like Chris, I was at the SQA event in Stirling in June and I heard the message that said “animation” in answer to the question about frames and sequence, but clearly a lot of people weren’t there and it is not acceptable for the SQA to rely on the message getting out by word of mouth. They need to issue clear guidance to every Centre. The same is true of what is meant by “contemporary” (in terms of design notations or anywhere else where the term is used in the documentation). I understand that this is an attempt to “future proof” the course and that in a subject like Computing Science it is probably a necessary evil; but issuing a little clarification on what is “currently” meant by the term “contemporary” wouldn’t require the whole course to be rewritten regularly, it could simply go out as an update to Centres annually – or even every two years.
At the end of the day, whether or not we are teaching the right thing should not rely on whether or not we have interpreted an unclear statement in the way that the SQA (or the exam setters) have, or in some different way. That is simply not fair on the candidates; they are supposed to start with a level playing field not “get lucky” that their teacher happened to be released to go to a meeting at which someone coincidentally asked the right question. We need proper clarity and we need it issued nationally from the top.
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